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Student services make big move

By Kelly Mayo

September 13, 2012

Photo by Hillary Akers
Alex Foster, left, a junior Philosophy and Religion major, gets help on his paper for Intro to Middle Eastern Religions from Writing Center tutor Elizabeth Moore, a senior English Education major.

Dr. Melissa Schaub, interim assistant vice chancellor for Student Academic Support and Retention (SASR), welcomed about two dozen students and faculty members to the grand opening of the renovated D.F. Lowry building on Sept. 6, where a host of student services has been relocated for better efficiency and convenience.

The project combined eight offices that were previously found around campus into one building.

Dr. Schaub said that SASR "is in the process of hiring advisers and administrative assistants" for the building's Advising Center, where undecided students and students changing their majors can seek support.

Also in the 300 wing, the Center for Academic Excellence office houses the HAWK Alert, Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction programs.

Dr. Schaub led guests to tutoring rooms, the relocated Writing Center and the Resource Learning Lab. In the latter, Dr. Schaub explained, students can use computers with software to help them improve language, grammar and reading comprehension skills at their own pace.

CAE Academic Adviser Mark Hunt further explained how the software, which includes Essay Punch, Paragraph Punch and Write it Right, helps students improve their skills through word problems, sentence dissections and other methods.

"If you feel like your skills are not quite at college level, we can help you with that," Hunt said.

Guests also viewed the Lady Bug, a computer with "new and improved software to allow tutoring from home with Blackboard," according to UNCP senior Ethan Byrd. The program allows up to five people to participate in a "chat session" at one time for help.

"We haven't had online tutoring before. It's something new," Byrd said. College Opportunity Program Director Deana Johnson also told guests what her office offers.

"It's a freshman-year experience program. We want to give freshmen a foundation as they enter college," Johnson said.

The program offers advising and encourages freshmen to build rapport with faculty. It also chooses 40 students to take English, math and P.E. courses over the summer, with their continuation in the fall if they are successful.

Photo by Hillary Akers
UNCP senior Ethan Byrd shows off the Ladybug during a tour of the D.F. Lowry building on Sept. 6. The Ladybug allows non-traditional students to participate in tutoring from home.
Guests also toured Disability Support Services' Accommodation Lab for students who need extra time or a separate area to take tests and do assignments. Featured computer software included Inspiration, which creates maps and outlines for essays; Magnifier, which blows up text for the visually impaired; and Jaws, which blind students use to read books and assignments.

Academic Adviser for Probation and Suspension Jennifer Bruner introduced guests to the Academic Resource Mentor Program, which provides peer-to-peer mentoring sessions for students who need them.

The program hires peer mentors with a 3.4 GPA or higher. Bruner said that 70 percent of participants raised their GPA after taking the mentoring sessions. She also said that students on suspension or probation are not the only ones who can use the program.

"Absolutely anyone can come in and be a part of it," she said.

In addition to the offices in Lowry, the Transfer Transition Office, North Carolina Health Careers Access Program and the Student Support Services offices are housed in Jacobs Hall.

After the tour, Chancellor Kyle Carter praised the renovated building and its consolidated services.

"We were able to bring together a lot of resources to help students. I really think this is going to help students in a lot of different ways," Dr. Carter said.

Provost Ken Kitts also praised the building.

"The mantra's going to be 'go to Lowry'," Dr. Kitts said.

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Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
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