CAS open house welcomes students

College can be a difficult time — so much is so new and students are often thrown into complete independence with no prior experience, and it is easy to fall prey to overstress.

The Center for Academic Success (CAS), located on the bottom floor of Briggs, exists in order to help students deal with those changes but is also an invaluable resource for all four years.

Unfortunately, the CAS is an undervalued and underappreciated entity on campus, which is why they hosted an open house on Thursday, Oct. 12. The open house welcomed students old and new to explore the variety of services the CAS offers.

In order to promote academic success at Lawrence, the CAS provides academic counseling, accessibility services, English-as-a-second-language (ESL) support, quantitative reasoning skills and tutoring.

These resources are not exclusive to freshmen. The CAS encourages everyone to take advantage of the opportunities they provide.

The CAS is in year two of its new iteration, having before been two separate entities, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Student Academic Services (SAS), explained Dean of Academic Success Monita Mohammadian Gray. The CTL included tutoring, academic accommodations, and the Honor Council, while SAS oversaw academic advising and helped students with academic petitions.

In combining the two, the already-present collaboration became much easier and more effective in helping students.

“It’s about all aspects of a student’s life and not just about what’s going on in the classroom,” Gray said, so when students come for help, they can have one-on-one academic counseling appointments and receive referrals to people on campus with a special knowledge on how to help.

One of the major services the CAS provides is tutoring in a swath of different subjects. Kelsey Uherka, the quantitative skills specialist and a new employee at Lawrence this year, started drop-in math tutoring this year, which has had a significant turnout. Students in 100-level math courses can come to Briggs Hall, room 421, anytime between 7 and 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays to receive free tutoring.

“It’s been well-attended and lowered the barrier for students,” Uherka said. “[It] makes it a lot less intimidating to go get help than requesting a one-on-one tutor and meeting with a stranger.”

Associate Dean of Academic Success Julie Haurykiewicz explained that tutoring is the most popular and highly utilized of the CAS’s services.

“We do have tutoring in a lot of 100-level classes and many upper-level classes as well. People can request a tutor in Voyager, by coming down here, [or] by talking to a tutor directly,” Haurykiewicz said. “Tutoring is free, and every year more than half of the student body works with a tutor at least once.”

In addition to tutoring, a huge help the CAS provides is academic counseling. Kate Zaromski, associate dean of academic success and an academic counselor, explained that as part of her job she will “meet with students one-on-one in academic counseling [and] help them unpack what issues [and] barriers are getting in the way of their ability to meet their academic goals.”

Through these counseling sessions, she helps students figure out where the root of the problems lies.

Zaromski explained, “When students are not doing well inside the classroom, a lot of times it has to do with what is going on outside of the classroom as well.”

In addition to helping students work through these walls preventing them from achieving academic success, Zaromski makes referrals when needed to campus counselors.

Mental health can often be a large barrier between a student and his academic goals, which is where one of the CAS’s most fun services comes in: Ruby Blu.

Ruby is a beautiful dog who adores affection and is available on Fridays to be pet for as long as one might need. She promotes positivity and happiness and is an honorary staff member of Lawrence University.

All of these services exist, explained the CAS staff, in order to aid Lawrence students in reaching their academic goals and overcoming a number of difficulties. Their normal business hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and additional information can be found at lawrence.edu/academics/academic-success.

 

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