Academic learning center launches on-the-spot help for students

by Frank Roberts correspondent

Within the undulating life of a college student exists waves of unclear paper formats, ambiguous assignments and persistent writer’s block. Through the efforts of two staff members, Moody has recently introduced a center specifically to help with those constant problems.

While a peer-to-peer tutoring program is already provided by the Institute’s student resource center, giving free academic aid for up to two hours a week to any student who signs up in advance, there hasn’t been a program that specifically addresses students’ writing needs. Although many students made use of this free peer-to-peer tutoring, sometimes, the help one needs cannot be predicted in advance or only requires brief attention.

It is for this reason that Gayle Gates of the counseling center and Jamie Janosz, assistant dean of communications, among others, began working on providing a drop-in writing center for students. For years, Gates and Janosz have made budgets, put together proposals and searched for the right tutors to run such a project.

One of the key individuals in forming this writing center is Esther Wangler. Wangler graduated from Benedictine University with a degree in English language and literature. After a few years teaching English as a second language in Japan, Wangler felt it right to return to the States to learn more so that she could teach more. So, she entered Moody’s graduate program to study more of God’s word.

Gates and Janosz believed that Wangler was the right candidate to carry the torch for this project. At the first spark, Wangler’s expertise has helped all who stop in to generate ideas and seek proper documentation style for their writing projects. From English as second language students to the most proficient of essay writers, any student in need of any degree of guidance can take advantage of her skills.

Moody’s academic learning center (ALC) is unique in that it is designed to meet any and all academic needs. “We’ve phrased it ‘academic learning center’ to leave room for it to grow,” Janosz said. “Primarily, at this point, it is focused on writing help. But, what I would like to see it become is a place where students can go for all kinds of academic help. So I would love to see study groups there meeting to help each other with Greek and theology and to have resources there from those departments.”

The academic learning center, currently, provides two aid options: a 15-minute session for one specific issue, such as outlining or proofreading, and a 30-minute session for major needs, such as help with understanding a concept and further editing.

The academic learning center is free of charge and is open on
Monday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Students are free to drop in any time during these hours for individual assistance; they may also reserve appointment slots at the ALC desk on the first floor behind the library circulation desk.

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