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New center will transform student learning

The Charles E. Shain Library will be the home of Connecticut College's new Academic Resource Center.
The Charles E. Shain Library will be the home of Connecticut College's new Academic Resource Center.

In 2012, Connecticut College will create a new Academic Resource Center that will bring together a broad array of staff, programs and services with a single goal: Making sure all students reach their highest academic potential.

"Connecticut College is already known for personalized attention to each student's learning," said President Leo I. Higdon Jr. "The center will support our students at a whole new level. Our program will be state-of-the-art among liberal arts colleges."

Professional staff in the new center will help incorporate best practices for student learning into existing programs such as freshman orientation, pre-major advising, the application process for post-graduate fellowships, and the funded internship program. Professional staff in the Academic Resource Center also will work closely with staff and faculty in the Joy Shechtman Mankoff Center for Teaching & Learning.

Over the past five years, the College has increased academic rigor by expanding residential education, building a more diverse campus community, incorporating diverse perspectives into the curriculum, and defining specific learning outcomes for each major.

"We are challenging students to set, meet and then exceed higher learning goals," Higdon said. "The Academic Resource Center will give every student the resources and support to excel in this environment."

The center's programs will include:

• Workshops to help students maximize their engagement with faculty and the curriculum

• Workshops on time management, reading strategies, note taking, test preparation and organization

• High-level skill development in math and computational sciences

• Peer-to-peer learning with a focus on development of subject-specific skills and strategies

• Coaching to help students at all levels expand the range and fluency of their writing

• Programs and services to address special learning challenges, including learning disabilities

• Ongoing program assessment and incorporation of emerging best practices for effective student learning

Eventually, the center will occupy a 2,500-square-foot space on the third floor of Charles E. Shain Library reconfigured into seminar rooms, staff offices, and large and small meeting rooms for tutoring and workshops. It will house four new staff: the center's director, a learning professional, an office manager and the director of a new quantitative skills program. The staff and programming of the Roth Writing Center and the Office of Accessibility Services will be relocated here as well. The College will hire the center's director and begin programming in temporary quarters this year.

The new center will be funded and endowed by an anonymous $11 million gift to the College.

"This center will change the landscape of learning at Connecticut College and be a model for other liberal arts colleges," said Higdon. "We are grateful for the vision and financial support that makes it possible."

July 9, 2012