The New Center for Student Achievement
“When people say they want to go to a small school, this is what they want.”
That’s Elun Gabriel, St. Lawrence associate professor of history and the associate dean of Academic Advising. He is passionate as he describes the impact of advising on campus.
“It’s the human connection that St. Lawrence promises each student—and parents and teachers who trust this institution. We promise to help students realize their visions of the future. To reach that end, our work here is vital.”
This work begins when advisors talk with students, face to face.
“Of course we talk about academics,” Gabriel says. “We also talk about other aspects of their experiences on campus, like residence life, athletics and activities. We try to get a sense of how these things might help or hinder our students.”
Many of those seeking advice reveal important links between their coursework and issues far from the classroom.
“Academic challenges are often connected to challenges in other parts of students’ lives. And the same is true of academic success. We see this as we help students improve their time-management, writing, test-taking or other skills. These connections are a key reason we also talk with faculty and other staff members that our students work with. We do all this to make sure students have the support they need throughout their time at St. Lawrence.”
To make this in-depth academic advising more visible and accessible to students, faculty, parents and staff, the advising and support offices are moving into the newly created Center for Student Achievement.
The new Center aims to be an inviting, technologically advanced space in what is currently Madill Hall, between the Sullivan Student Center and Johnson Hall of Science, and will house the following programs:
First Year Program (FYP)
One of the oldest living-learning programs in the country, St. Lawrence’s FYP helps students transition to college and adapt to the new intellectual and social environments they find at St. Lawrence. FYP courses develop professional writing, speaking and research skills that students need during and after college.
By connecting students to campus resources and helping them plan their undergraduate and post-graduate careers, Academic Advising develops a holistic understanding of students’ lives on campus. It also helps individuals craft independent, multi-field majors, get fellowships, prepare for doctoral work, and problem solve when facing difficulties.
Student Accessibility Services currently provides support services to nearly 400 students. Staff members provide academic advising and help with technology to improve learning for students with disabilities. This office also administers more than 1,500 exams each academic year for students needing a reduced-distraction environment and for traveling student athletes who are not able to take exams at scheduled times.
Academic Development and Academic Support
These offices guide students in exploring their interests through St. Lawrence curricula. They also assist the planning needed to complete degrees. The vast majority of students on academic probation work with these offices to get back on track and graduate successfully.
Working with a wide range of people, on and off campus, this office provides current students with opportunities and resources aiding their exploration of careers and the decisions they’ll make in pursuit of their professional interests. Career Connections also develops experiential learning components (internships, co-ops and research) for new programs.
Higher Education Opportunity Program
This partnership with the New York State Education Department seeks to identify, enroll and support students from low income families who are also unprepared by their high schools for the rigor of the St. Lawrence curricula. HEOP students are selected for their demonstrated higher-order thinking skills, often developed by living a challenging life, rather than a college preparatory curriculum in high school. Most are the first in their family to earn a college degree. These students graduate and go on to post-baccalaureate education at the same rate as the overall student body at St. Lawrence.
CSTEP and McNair
New York’s Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at St. Lawrence have helped increase the number of graduates from historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students. CSTEP offers complete programs of study that lead to careers in law, mathematics, science, technology, mathematics and science teaching.
Through this program, St. Lawrence students can access free peer tutoring services for dozens of courses across all the University’s departments. Peer tutors are selected from an accomplished corps of students who excelled in a particular course and have been trained in effective communication and support techniques.