Academic Support Centers to be Recognized at 2012 ACPA Conference

by News Bureau on

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 8, 2011 – Southeast Missouri State University’s Academic Support Centers (ASC) will be presented with an award for an Innovative Academic Support Initiative by the American College Personnel Association’s (ACPA) Commission for Academic Support in Higher Education (CASHE) at the 2012 ACPA Conference in March in Louisville, Ky.

“We (the ASC staff) are excited about the award and the recognition it brings to the work we do in Academic Support Centers at Southeast,” said Trent Ball, associate dean of students at Southeast.

In 2006, Southeast merged its Learning Enrichment Center with its Educational Access Programs, which placed all Academic Support Services, Disability Services, Minority Programs and the TRIO programs under one umbrella, which is now the Academic Support Centers. After staff changes and challenges were identified, this new unit was designed based on the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) protocol and noted as including the key components of academic support services necessary for student success in higher education.

The Academic Support Centers house two federal grant TRIO programs, Student Support Services and the McNair Scholars program, both of which have been successfully refunded during the reorganization period.

University officials say the initiative changed the culture of academic support for students across campus. Learning Assistance and academic support services are key to every unit in the Centers and the programs use the internationally certified tutorial program to train learning assistants, and the supplemental instruction program is supported by key science and math faculty members. The 15 full-time employees of ASC created a system of academic support and assistance, structured referrals, financial assistance, and faculty and staff support and buy-in to become one of the campuses widely recognized areas for student assistance and development.

Ball, Valdis Zalite, director of Southeast’s TRIO/Student Support Services, and Steven Taylor, academic specialist with Southeast’s Student Support Services, wrote an article on collaboration for the CASHE newsletter last summer and led to the submission of the nomination. A committee of 10 CASHE professionals from around the country working in academic support services reviewed all of the nominations and chose Southeast’s program to be recognized as the recipient of the award.

The U.S. Naval Academy won the award last year.