What Is “TAC”?
“The most important thing is just being there to help if needed. Sometimes it is not about the subject matter, it is about organization, note taking, or time management. This program helps students in all aspects.” – Shannon Simpson ’15
Have you ever been to the third floor of Alfond Hall and wondered what the room is to the right at the top of the stairs? What is that closet-sized little room with the pencil decal on that glass that says “The Writing Center (TAC)”? You continue to walk and notice another room to your right that says “ADA,” which has three more additional rooms inside. What are these places?
Like many other students, I had no idea what these places were until someone asked me to look into becoming a writing tutor as a sophomore. I came to learn that these rooms were all part of a larger entity known as The Academic Center. In order to gain some insight into what The Academic Center (TAC) truly is, I spoke with the assistant academic dean and TAC’s director, Mr. Vincent Kloskowski, and found out some of the following things.
A Brief History
The Academic Center started almost 10 years ago. The MELMAC Foundation gave Saint Joseph’s College a generous grant that would assist the college in putting together a formal center for student academic services. Prior to 2005, many of the available academic services were scattered across the campus. If a student needed help with writing, they had to see the English department. If a student needed help with science, they had to see the science department. With the grant from the MELMAC Foundation, which also coincided with the building of Alfond Hall, TAC was created.
What Is The Goal of TAC?
The primary goal is to see each student with their goals and aspirations and help them to persevere. The goal is to get each student to the finish line (graduation) and assist the student to ensure success. Mr. Kloskowski says, “Our goal is academic success for all students, whether they have a 2.0 or 4.0, so we want students to be successful in their majors, their programs, their careers, their futures…. We don’t want any student falling between the cracks.”
What Services Does TAC Offer?
The Academic Center offers peer tutoring, The Writing Center, ADA (learning disability) accommodations, time management and study skills, and the First-Year Experience Program (FYE). FYE is actually a new credit-bearing course that helps first-year students make the transition from high school to college. Incoming students of fall 2014 will complete the first cycle of students who have taken FYE. (The first class of FYE students will graduate in 2015.)
Peer Tutoring and the Writing Center
As a writing tutor, I wanted to take a moment to examine the tutoring program more closely and see what it means to be a peer tutor. Andrew Bonneau ’16, a history tutor, tells of the importance of the program. “The most important thing about tutoring for me is the opportu
nity to help others succeed. Student tutors are great help to others who
either can’t or are intimidated by asking their professors for help. I believe that tutoring benefits SJC because it helps build another level in the academic community here.” Others here would agree with Mr. Bonneau. Shannon Simpson ’15, a sociology tutor, states, “The most important thing is just being there to help if needed. Sometimes it is not about the subject matter, it is about organization, note-taking, or time management. This program helps students in all aspects. We are a close community, and this program makes people feel more comfortable asking for help. The people who tutor are students who have gone through the same things, so sometimes people can relate to them more than they can relate to their professors.”
What’s Next? Who Can I Talk to for More Information?
Another thing that will be happening in the fall will be a peer mentoring program. Sophomore- through senior-level students will basically be working with the faculty and the FYE program to be a student assistant, helping our first-year students’ transition properly into Saint Joe’s for the academic year. Advertising has begun and interviewing will begin shortly.
If you would like more information you can see Holly Sanborn, who primarily oversees ADA accommodations and advises liberal studies students; Shanna Webster, who oversees the peer tutoring program and coordinates FYE programming and Study Away (formally Study Abroad); or Vincent Kloskowski, assistant dean of the college and the director of TAC.
TAC provides a variety of services for students to help with their success. However, it was stressed to me by Mr. Kloskowski that you do not necessarily need to have a reason to stop by TAC. Come in, use the space, say hello to Shanna, Holly, or Vince. The space is for all students and all are welcome!