The Kissinger Learning Center has changed its name to the Kissinger Academic Center for Excellence (KACE). The staff have worked hard to prepare for the name change, as well as made changes within the center.
Today, Sept. 12, there will be an open house from 1-3 p.m. in the academic center. There will be free refreshments and a student prize drawing.
Dianna Stankiewicz, director of learning assistance programs, said that she has been trying to change the name for a few years now.
“We’ve wanted to make the Kissinger Learning Center more attractive to more students,” Stankiewicz said. “Students kind of had the idea that the learning center was only for students who either struggled or had learning disabilities, and that’s not what it is.”
After researching other colleges, Stankiewicz found that very few of them call their facilities a “learning center.”
“We wanted to be more of a place where all students would feel comfortable coming if they just wanted to be an excellent student,” she said. “I honestly don’t know of any student who that’s not their goal.”
Along with the name change, there have also been some changes to the staff.
The engineering program has tutors within their department who are there during class to help the students.
“That has helped tremendously,” she said. “Actually, the professors have stated that that has helped with retention in the engineering program.”
There is also a new addition with the MATH 1000 program.
“Tutors are in the class while the professors are teaching so that they can help certain students who are struggling to keep up,” she said. “The professor can keep teaching while the tutors help students. It’s kind of like a TA position in the classroom, so that’s something that we are trying. We’ve only started it with one professor as a pilot because his class has become very large.”
Another program that was started last year that the KACE hopes to continue is conversational tutoring for English as a Second Language (ESL) students.
“We have tutoring to help them with conversation and with writing,” Stankiewicz said. “Only one student took advantage of it last year, but he said that it was extremely helpful for him.”
“We are trying to put things like that into progress so that it can help students,” she said. “These things spread through word of mouth, so we hope that our students will tell other students about it so that it can grow.”
Stankiewicz said that starting study tables for athletes at the academic center has been very beneficial.
“We started out with the basketball team doing study tables, and we actually kept data on it,” Stankiewicz said. “The GPAs of the student athletes who took advantage of it increased across the board.”
After seeing the results from the basketball team, Stankiewicz said that other teams started to take advantage of the study tables.
“Instead of having the athletes do their study groups in the evenings, they did it according to a time management plan,” Stankiewicz said. “Each athlete studied according to their schedule, so more of them took advantage of the opportunity.”
Katie Kisker, the head writing tutor for the KACE, said the way that the name change applies to her and her staff is how students perceive the center.
“Honestly, when you say that you’re going to tutoring, students assume that you’re not a good student or that you don’t know what you’re doing in the class,” Kisker said. “Part of the name change was to get it away from being called the learning center, which can maybe have a negative connotation.”
Kisker also encourages everyone to take advantage of the KACE and all of the resources the center offers.
“We’re just students who are here to help other students and share what we’ve learned in the class,” Kisker said. “I don’t think a lot of people realize that.”
“What I am specifically doing after the name change is having the writing tutors really push that anyone can go to tutoring, and it’s not just for people who really struggle in school,” Kisker said. “It’s something that’s there for everybody.”