Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Center for Academic Success opens creating a "one-stop" shop for student support

Leaders at the University of Illinois Springfield cut the ribbon on the new Center for Academic Success during a ceremony on March 11, 2014. The center is designed to be a “one-stop academic support shop” for students.

The center will bring together several academic support units on the fourth floor of Brookens Library. The Intensive English Program, International Programs, Internships and Prior Learning (formerly Experiential and Service-Learning), The Learning Hub (formerly the Center for Teaching and Learning), the Office of Advising Services (OASIS), and Testing Services will all be part of the new center. Testing Services will be located in the Human Resources Building.

“Our goals in creating the center were to capitalize on program synergies for enhanced quality, promote greater awareness of and access to important academic support services by undergraduate and graduate students from all four UIS colleges, and ensure cost-effective delivery of services,” said Lynn Pardie, UIS provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

About the support units: 

Intensive English Program
The Intensive English Program (English Language Support Services) is an academic, intensive English program that aims at assisting international students to develop their English language proficiency to the level needed to pursue their education at UIS. The curriculum follows the guidelines and standards set forth by the CEA (Commission on English Language Program Accreditation). The curriculum also promotes students’ acquisition of communicative competence by providing cultural learning opportunities outside the classroom. The program also offers university bridge courses which offer university credit and act as a transition from the IEP to the university.

International Programs 
International Programs encompasses three distinct areas: study abroad; support for international faculty and staff including visa and permanent resident applications; and working with faculty, departments and colleges on international initiatives. The Office offers many student abroad opportunities, including short-term study programs, full semester and year-long exchange programs, and the means to take advantage of programs offered by other universities and program providers. The Office supports visiting and permanent international faculty and staff in applying for visas and permanent residency. International Programs is also involved in international online education, collaborative efforts with universities outside the USA, and in the creation of affiliation agreements between universities.

Internships and Prior Learning
The Internships and Prior Learning Program stress practical experience, professional development, and the value of self-directed learning. The Internship Program is an individualized field experience that provides students with a unique opportunity to apply theory, expand knowledge, determine additional learning needs, explore careers, and develop a public awareness. Internships let undergraduates earn credit while test driving their majors. The Prior Learning Program offers courses that assist students in developing a portfolio of college-level learning that can come from work, volunteering, traveling, military service or other non-classroom life experiences. The office also houses service-learning course work that increases student awareness of community issues and require students to complete volunteer service hours.

Learning Hub 
The Learning Hub (Office of Student Learning Services) offers free help to students in improving skills in writing, math and statistics, accounting/economics, science, academic/study skills, and, through a peer tutoring program, virtually any subject taught on the campus. The Hub offers help to students at UIS in a variety of ways, including one-on-one appointments, both in person and online; supplemental instruction; online, in-class, or on-ground workshops; walk-in writing events; handouts and tutorials on the Hub website; and many more.

OASIS, the Office of Advising Services, Information, and Support serves entering first year students, some sophomores, and undeclared transfer students. Academic advisors help students determine courses each semester, monitor student progress, and connect students with other services on campus. OASIS serves as a resource to other academic and student service units on campus, as well as to college and faculty advisors. OASIS administers the Starfish early alert system, providing a campus-wide early identification and intervention program. OASIS also hosts a living-learning community, STARS, and a peer advising program that provides support to help new students transition into college life through individual and small group interactions with a peer leader.

Testing Services 
The Office of Testing Services, to be housed in the Human Resources Building, will assist faculty and staff with assessment services to admit and retain students and to assist the general public with proctoring services in a secure environment. We anticipate the office will open in early summer 2014.

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