By Wendi Wheeler ’06
I have to write a paper.
I’m here to use the computer lab.
I am a Weekend College student, and I’m planning to graduate next year.
I’m here to plan out my degree progress with an academic adviser.
I have ADHD and struggle with reading.
I’m here to use the software program that helps me read my textbooks.
I am visually impaired.
I’m here to talk to an adviser about the services that can help me at Augsburg.
I am having a tough time with one of my classes.
I’m here to see a tutor.
I’m the first person in my family to go to college.
I am here because I heard you have a program to help people like me learn how to be successful in school.
I’m a pretty good student, but I really have trouble with time management.
I’m here to learn how to be better at that.
Integrated Academic Support
At one time, academic support services at Augsburg were scattered across campus. One program was tucked around a few corners in a basement. A few others were in Science Hall. While seeking out and asking for help is already difficult for some students, having support staff in different locations made getting help even more complicated.
To address this situation, Augsburg moved all of these academic support services to the new Gage Center for Student Success, which opened on the second floor of the Lindell Library in January. The center provides a one-stop shop for students to access academic advising, tutoring, academic accommodations, assistance with learning and physical disabilities, academic skills coaching, and other support services.
“The Gage Center helps us see how students can benefit by having people and programs together,” said Amy Gort, dean of Arts and Sciences. Co-locating the offices in Lindell has made student support services more visible on campus and provides greater access for students. And with all support staff in proximity with one another, the center is the first step in creating a seamless experience of academic support for students.
The Gage Center follows an Augsburg tradition of bringing programs and services together to improve the student service experience. As in the case of the Enrollment Center—which first opened in 2000 and combined the offices of academic advising, the registrar, financial aid, and financial services—co-location benefits students because all services are in one convenient location. In addition, when staff work closely together, they often discover new ways of working that lead to new initiatives and better student service.
The Gage Center staff is evaluating a caseload management software tool that will allow them to build connections for students and refer them to additional resources. Gort said the software will help to create a network of student support that extends beyond the Gage Center. “We’re at the start of a really cool project, and we have high hopes for what this is going to be,” she said.
While staff and students are still learning how the Gage Center will function to best meet students’ needs, Gort said she has been pleased with the outcomes so far. “What is great about this group of staff is that each program has a history of being innovative, constantly evaluating, and looking
for opportunities for students to have an even better experience.”
Departments in the Gage Center for Student Success
Academic Advising supports students in achieving their educational and vocational goals.
The Academic Skills Office provides coaching to help students develop skills and strategies for academic success, and also works with students in the Conditional Admit Program (CAP) and Augsburg Advantage St. Kate’s (AASK) program.
The Center for Learning and Adaptive Student Services (CLASS) provides services and accommodations for students with attentional, learning, and physical disabilities.
The Groves Technology Center provides computer workstations for all students and adaptive software programs, such as speech recognition software and screen readers, for learners with special needs.
TRiO/Student Support Services, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, helps students overcome class, social, and cultural barriers to complete their college education.
Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction is available for most courses; the type of support offered depends on the course and student demand.
Ensuring Accessibility for Students
Augsburg College is committed to ensuring all students have access to the campus resources and tools they need to succeed. To support this commitment, the College recently formed an accessibility committee of more than 50 staff and faculty from 16 departments.
One of the committee’s primary responsibilities is ensuring the College meets the obligations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Recent revisions to the ADA as well as legal settlements at other colleges and universities make the committee’s work especially timely. One of the more high-profile lawsuits was a case brought against Penn State University by the National Federation of the Blind, which settled in 2010 for $150,000. The settlement cited inaccessible technology for blind and print-disabled students and is now serving as a guideline for institutions nationwide to review accessibility of technology and facilities.
As part of its charge to ensure the College meets its obligations, the Augsburg accessibility committee is conducting an audit of campus facilities and technology, delivering training to faculty and staff, and working to identify a compliance officer. The work of the committee to identify and address accessibility issues helps mitigate risk for the College as it strives to live up to its commitment to student success.
Gifts Make Center Possible
Gifts from the Gage and Groves family foundations allowed Augsburg to create an integrated and highly visible academic support services center. The Gage Center for Student Success, which officially opened in January, includes the Groves Technology Center, the Groves Accommodations Lab, meeting rooms, testing rooms, and staff offices.