Center for Academic Success lives up to its name
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 17:09
Nestled in the corridors of Parkland’s D-Wing is a one-stop learning assistance center, known as the Center for Academic Success.
Located in room D-120, the Center for Academic Success is focused around four main areas of service. These are tutoring and learning assistance, modules and tutorials, advising and student development and administrative support.
Every one of their services is free to Parkland students, except the modules and tutorials. These cost the same per-credit hour as normal classes.
Currently in its seventh academic year, the CAS program is widely hailed as an outstandingly successful program. Last academic year alone, CAS recorded over 46,000 individual visits from students.
According to Becky Osborne, Director of the Center for Academic Success, “We have grown so much CAS has had to convert the conference room to accommodate more space. Over the six years we have given up nearly all of our storage areas, even turning one into a waiting room. Currently we have one storage area/break room/mail room left.”
Osborne credits CAS’s success to the fact that the program is faculty driven. “Faculty from each department has a say in the program,” Osborne stated. “CAS does not make decisions without them.”
While peer tutors are certainly present within the center, they are not the only form of help available as is the case at other universities and colleges.
Since its creation, the center has become such a runaway success that administrators from other universities and colleges have toured the Center, in the hopes of initiating similar programs in their own schools.
The program was originally created out of a Title-3 Federal Grant that Parkland College received. However, the grant money did not last forever and eventually tough decisions had to be made.
Parkland College’s Board of Directors and Trustee’s felt so strongly about the program and how successful it had proven to be, that around a quarter of a million dollars a year was allotted for the program in the budget.
“It is a huge financial commitment from the college,” Osborne explained. “But it clearly pays off each year as records show that students who attend the program consistently improve.”
The money goes towards providing new equipment and creating new programs, as well as paying the faculty members who give up their time outside of the classroom in order to further help students along their academic journey.
Attendance is the key for students who truly wish to improve their academic situation. The Center is quite literally overflowing with staff, faculty, and peer-tutors whose sole purpose for being there is to help any student who comes through the door.
“All of the employees are very student focused and geared towards helping,” Osborne explained. “The only thing we can’t do is get you here.”
Aside from actual tutoring, the Center is a great place to study. It may not be as quiet and serene as the library, but any time you have a question about anything, all you have to do is ask and someone there will be able to help you.
Open from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., the Center is convenient for just about every schedule. Students wishing to receive help need only stop by and the on-site faculty and peer-tutors will gladly assist in every way they can.
“The program is an incredibly good deal. If you have ever tried to get a personal tutor, you will know it is a very expensive affair,” Osborne explained. “However, it is not like a magic pill or wand. Students who come repeatedly are much more likely to be successful.”
Anyone wishing to obtain more information on the Center for Academic Success should visit their website, www.parklandcollege.edu/resources/cas, or stop by the center, located in room D-120.