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Students succeed with added academic support, advising


February 20, 2009

Students gave a thumbs up to all the changes implemented in the last year at ASU’s Polytechnic campus.

Some improvements to services include the hiring of a disabilities resource director, as well as increasing the number of academic advisers and offerings in the library and Student Success Center.

Since Garret Westlake’s arrival as the disability resource director, the number of students with disabilities being served on the Polytechnic campus has doubled. Upgrades to building access and other assistance have some students grateful for his support.

“Garret has been very helpful to me with all my classes,” says Daniel Liguori, a sophomore in University College. “His guidance and assistance helped me earn a 3.17 grade point average. With his help, I reached my goal of being accepted to the Cronkite School for fall 2009.”

Other areas that students have noticed are in the library and Student Success Center on campus. The library increased staff training for both student and permanent staff members, which enables the help desk associates to answer more complex questions and get people started with their research.

Additionally, more seats and study carrels have been added to provide a better learning environment. The library also installed messaging monitors throughout the Academic Center building to provide information on services and other activities in the library and throughout campus.

“Open 95 hours each week and until midnight Sunday through Thursday, the library is often filled with people and has become a very popular place on campus,” says Brian Doherty, director of the Polytechnic Library.

And the Student Success Center has implemented new initiatives, including a Supplemental Instruction (SI) program for a chemistry course, as well as added a Morrison Writing Fellow who works through the writing center to tutor Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness students in business and technical writing. Additionally, a new collaboration with the aeronautical management technology program provides tutoring help to students.

Students such as Dominick Hernandez says that the biggest improvement for him has been the Student Success Center.

“The only reason I have a 3.94 GPA today – originally, I was a 2.4 GPA student – is because of the tutors, writing center and staff in the center,” says Hernandez, a junior in the business administration program.

Students can also take a break from all the studying and tutoring in the lower level of the Academic Center building to attend new events the Program & Activities Board-Polytechnic (PABp) is able to offer, thanks to the new $25 Student Activity Fee, according to Lauren Kriegel, PABp director and sophomore in exercise and wellness.

“We were able to host many new and free events for students this semester that otherwise would not have been able to happen without the monies raised by the fee,” she says.

“I’m grateful the former air base look is starting to fade away,” adds Kriegel of the impact the new space is having on the campus.
Hernandez agrees that the campus’ new look is the biggest improvement, but he recognizes none of what he has accomplished over the past year can be done without the help of others.

“It is the dedication and personal involvement of the professors and staff at all levels. That is why I chose to pursue a degree at the Polytechnic campus,” says Hernandez.