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Academic Literacies Center a Fresh Approach to Creating a Culture of Student Success

Ferris State UniversityOne size does not necessarily fit all in academia. Embracing a holistic approach to student learning, including recognition of the visible and not-so-visible barriers to success, Ferris State University’ Academic Literacies Center stands ready to go the extra mile for students.

Anxiety, different ways of learning, medication issues, vision problems and trauma are among the issues that can sometimes challenge a student’s ability to be successful. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Blake has noted that ALC is an inclusive center designed to assist students with short-term and long-term barriers in specific academic contexts, as well as students with diagnosed barriers and those that require accommodations.

“The mission of the Academic Literacies Center is to adopt a holistic approach to addressing academic literacy and positively affecting student learning, retention and learning environment,” said Blake of the ALC, located on the first floor of FLITE, the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education. “We understand not all students learn the same way. The Academic Literacies Center provides students with greater opportunities to be successful in specific courses and specific content areas as well as find ways to overcome past barriers and unknown existing barriers.”

The Academic Literacies Center offers previously established tutoring services and academic support that can be scheduled online. Walk-in tutoring is available, but subjects are limited, so students are urged to call for more information.

In addition to tutoring and writing assistance, the ALC includes an adaptive technology lab, writing assistance, a communication lab, Structured Learning Assistance (SLA) and study skills assistance, including memory training, note-taking, textbook reading, time management and test taking. The Center will soon be adding services that focus on accessibility, auditory assessment, autism, cultural and linguistic barriers, reading assessment, visual assessment, medical consultation, light and migraine obstacles, and oral presentation anxiety.

“Ferris is committed to excellence in producing the highest-quality outcomes for our students,” Blake said. “Often, assistance in one area can reap benefits in many other areas of a student’s life. With this model, the whole campus becomes the Academic Literacies Center. By having trained people, who know what to look for, we’re better equipped to assist our students by getting them to the appropriate resources that will help them be successful. In some cases, that success may be outside the classroom as well as inside the classroom.”

The ALC will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. Students may seek assistance at the ALC, on their own. Referrals may also come from faculty members and Educational Counseling and Disabilities Office staff.

“We have an ethical obligation to help our students be successful at Ferris State University,” Blake said. “This Center can play a role in that success for many of our students.”

To contact the Academic Literacies Center, call (231) 591-3543, email [email protected] or stop by its first-floor FLITE location.

PHOTO CAPTION: The Academic Literacies Center has found a new home on the first floor of FLITE, the Ferris Library or Information, Technology and Education. The expanded services of the ALC is expected to meet better the needs of students who face particular barriers to their academic success.