Supporting and Promoting Self-Directed Learners – Academic Success Center


HI! I am Susan Rhoades and I am the Director
of the Academic Success Center here at Iowa State University. We are part of the Dean
of Students Office and our goal is to support students in their classes and help them become
self-directed learners. I want to share Jill’s story with you. Jill is typical of many students
on campus who figured out about the second week of the semester that she was probably going to
need extra help in a couple of her classes. She spoke to her professor who recommended
she try and get a tutor. The professor directed Jill to our website where she quickly found
the link for the application to request a tutor. The process was very easy and simple.
By completing her on-line application, Jill learned tutoring sessions meet twice a week,
are led by a fellow student who successfully completed that course, and that the fee is
only $4 per session! Once she submitted her application, her course request and schedule
were compared to our tutors’ and she was assigned to a tutoring group. Jill was one of approximately
3,000 students that semester who requested a tutor that semester and was assigned to one of our 400
tutors. Her tutoring sessions helped her be successful in the class and earn a higher
grade than she thought possible during week two. Unfortunately, the second course Jill requested
for tutoring her schedule did not align with any of our tutors’ schedules but the ASC
staff recommended she attend Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions for that course. SI sessions
are also led by peers who have successfully completed the course, and like tutoring uses,
active learning strategies during the 3 weekly sessions, which are free and voluntary. She
connected with the SI Leader during class, found out the sessions schedule, and started
attending as she needed. Again, connecting with SI sessions for her other course made
the difference for Jill. At the end of the semester, Jill shared with us that her grades
overall were higher than she expected, and attributed part of that (along with attending
class, keeping up with assignments, etc.) to tutoring and SI. When Jill returned for
the spring semester her classes went well but she found herself having trouble focusing
and staying motivated. She remembered a friend talking about academic coaching appointments that she
had during the fall. Again, Jill checked out the ASC website and learned she could make
an appointment to meet with an academic coach. She did so and met throughout the semester
with her coach who helped her strengthen her time management skills and worked with her
on motivation and goal setting. Jill’s story is just one example how the ASC can help students.
Another option for Jill would have be PSYCH 131. This course focuses on academic skills
and strategies such as time management, basic study skills, and testing strategies. Students
usually take it during their freshman year. This one credit course is collaboration with
the Department of Psychology. You may be asking yourself “How did Jill’s professor know
about the Academic Success Center?” Her professor heard about us from various sources
and decided to have us come to the class and give a presentation on our services. Her professor
also checked out the ASC website where she found resources for both faculty and students
as well as detailed information on all of our programs. Help us reach more “Jills”
in your class by sharing our services! We offer this support through tutoring, Supplemental
Instruction, Academic Coaching, PSYCH 131 the academic skills course, and by giving
presentations and workshops. In addition, our Academic Success Center website provides
24/7 access to many academic resources; as well as connections to other campus resources.
Most of our services are provided by peer educators – allowing them to develop their
leadership skills. Explore our website or better yet, come visit us or invite us to
your classroom! We are located in the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center on the east side of
campus however, most of our services are available through our website and take place all over
campus. We are dedicated to helping students become effective learners. Thank you.

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