The Clark Academic Center is expanding its services to help both faculty and students in achieving excellence.
A cheerful blue room full of books and desks is nestled down a hallway of the Hilda Kroeker Library. The sign reads: “Clark Academic Center,” and the room houses one of Calvary’s greatest tools for academic success.
President Emeritus James Clark instituted the Clark Academic Center (CAC) in 2002 to aid students in achieving excellence. Since then, the CAC has provided paper reviews, academic support, and tutoring in many fields, including writing, study, and time management skills.
This year, the CAC is coming under the umbrella of Institutional Effectiveness (IE), and Rose Henness, Director of IE, now heads the center. Collaborating with IE, the CAC plans to broaden its scope of services to become “a hub for academic excellence.”
In their focus on expanding academic excellence, the CAC utilizes a two-pronged approach: academic excellence for students and a new focus on academic excellence for faculty.
Academic Excellence for Students
On the student side, the interfacing brings an expansion in the services the CAC’s Academic Coaches provide. Beyond reviewing papers and traditional tutoring, “We want to expand to where [our Academic Coaches] are helping all students to begin to learn good study skills, time management, and how to conduct research,” said Henness. With these aids in place, she said, students develop and prepare better papers.
Henness also wants the CAC to start offering help on resume development, interviewing skills, and conducting a successful job search. “To me, that’s part of academic excellence,” said Henness, “That’s my vision.” The CAC still offers traditional tutoring for students who desire assistance, but it also focuses on reaching the campus in the multiplicity of other areas where coaching or assistance can benefit the students.
Academic Excellence for Faculty
Henness plans to integrate the CAC into faculty development by implementing a series of workshops. These workshops will cover topics such as how to maximize efficiency in the Canvas learning system, utilizing effective assessment processes, and how to capitalize on class organization using syllabus and outcome structure.
These developments provide a support and resource system for faculty. By providing continual investment into equipping our faculty for excellence, the CAC provides a basis for improvements campus wide. Henness pointed out, “Any time that you work to impact academic excellence, it will improve overall… the whole classroom is going to be more enjoyable.”
Long Range Effects
Henness is optimistic about the long-term effects of the CAC’s new involvement. Equipping students for success vitalizes morale, strengthens retention rates, and even boosts enrollment. The CAC plays a critical role in Calvary’s academics, creating an atmosphere conducive to studying and learning.
Looking to the future, Henness is excited to work towards building a stronger school academically. As the CAC gears up for the new school year, this hub for academic excellence is ready to put Calvary’s students one step closer to success.
Academic Coaches offer a broad array of services to students, including paper reviews, academic coaching, and study assistance.
Coaches are versed in several academic styles, including Turabian, MLA, and APA.
As I write this article, snippets of dialogue between one of my tutors and his client trickle down the hall. They are passionately discussing an essay, figuring out the best way to word a particularly troublesome sentence. This conversation reminds me of countless other conversations that testify to the ministry of the Clark Academic Center (CAC).
In a recent email, for example, one student wrote, “Thank you so much for the guidance on my paper! I was able to fix all the needed areas and have the paper turned in within an hour. […] I will definitely use the CAC for help in the future.” Another student told me in person that she was absolutely humbled by the amount of help the CAC tutors were providing her. I assured her it was a free service and we her happy to help.
What exactly is the ministry of the CAC? Maybe you’re new here—a new student or a new faculty member. Or, perhaps you’ve been here for a while but have never visited the CAC. Let me briefly detail some of what we do here. Then, come and see for yourself.
Our mission is simple, but we take it seriously:
The Clark Academic Center is a ministry-minded student service whose main focus is helping students succeed academically.
Did you catch that? Our job is to make you successful. How do we do that?
We meet the mission by . . .
Providing tutorial assistance for college coursework and related academic skills
Helping clients at Calvary University and other Calvary sites with documents in any stage of the writing process, in any discipline, in any medium, and in any genre
Accommodating students with learning disabilities as recommended by the DSS Coordinator
Serving the Calvary University community with academic support services
Modeling the Christian walk in academic service and mentoring clients spiritually to affect spiritual growth alongside academic growth
Our tutors are highly-trained students, who actively build their skills in a variety of subject areas. The tutors have to take the equivalent of a three-credit hour training course during their first semester of work, in addition to weekly professional development meetings.
Most of our clients come in for help with writing, but we can serve in any academic area. Here’s a short list of things we’ve helped students with just this semester:
Brainstorming, planning, writing, and reviewing essays
Learning time management skills
Understanding and applying Turabian and answering difficult Turabian questions
Reading textbooks out loud to students who are auditory processors or who have special needs
What else can the CAC do for you? The possibilities are virtually endless. It never hurts to ask. Need help with something? Give us a call at extension 1402.
Hi there! I’m Thomas Crank, the Director of the Clark Academic Center (CAC) at Calvary University.
We’ve got a lot of new here at Calvary University, and the CAC is no exception.
Here’s a snapshot of all the changes—just in the last year:
New Academic Center Director
New building for the CAC and Library
6 new tutors
New Training Program
New Webpage (in development)
Rest assured, however, that despite all the changes, the CAC stays firm to its commitment to serving you in any way we can. In fact, that’s our mission: “The Clark Academic Center is a ministry-minded student service whose main focus is helping students succeed academically.” For a full list of our goals and services, check out our new homepage here.
Let me show you around a little, introduce you to the new, exciting things God is doing in the CAC.
After adjuncting for the English department for a couple of years, I was hired in August 2017 as the new CAC Director, so Dr. Terri Stricker could move into the role of English Department Chair and begin building a new English Major.
Directing the CAC is a dream job for me. I worked in a writing center for three years (2006–2009) to pay for my undergraduate education. That experience was so life changing that I pursued a MA in Composition and Rhetoric: Writing so I could continue teaching and mentoring writers.
Upon graduating with my MA (2011), I earned a certificate in teaching English as a foreign language from Wheaton and moved to China to teach English for a year at a university. I settled back in the States in 2012 and opened my own tutoring company while teaching at Blue Ridge Christian School part time. I taught Bible, English, creative writing, and cartooning at Blue Ridge before moving to Calvary full time in August 2017.
I write and publish books on writing, and I am currently pursuing an MA in Bible and Theology at Calvary before pursuing a PhD in English. My research interests include teaching writing, creative writing, metaphor, and Biblical creation studies.
The CAC is nestled in the back corner of the new Library & CAC building. We have gorgeous glass windows that provide natural lighting perfect for a relaxing study environment. The CAC is equipped with two computers for our clients. One of these computers is outfitted with dictation software.
We have a small library of writing, grammar, and reading books, along with various study resources. We are about three yards from the nearest library bookshelf.
The CAC also features a Disability Support Services (DSS) office, which houses the DSS assistant along with a quite study room for students who need testing accommodations or a private study room.
One enormous benefit to being located inside the library is the close proximity to the library’s study room and computer lab. Students are a few steps away from access to a tutor from anywhere in the library.
We have six new tutors at the CAC and one returning head tutor. A DSS Assistant will be added to the team in Fall 2018. I’ll introduce you to our new staff in the coming months. For now, know that these guys and gals are dedicated to serving the Calvary community, dedicated to professional development and training, and dedicated to serving their Lord. We have an outstanding team.
New Training Program
This year the CAC implemented a new training program, which launched in the summer with an all-day training event, followed by a semester of reading and writing assignments—the equivalent of a 3-credit hour training course.
The training is supplemented by weekly staff meetings and individual mentoring by the head tutor and CAC director. When the program ends, the CAC staff does not stop their professional development. Instead, they will set personal professional development goals, staying up to date on academic center theory and practice.
A comprehensive digital professional development library is being created to provide tutors with cutting-edge journal articles, training and tutoring resources, training videos, and more.
The staff manual was expanded and updated with 20+ pages of policies, procedures, training, resources, and troubleshooting information.
We are in the process of building a new webpage off the main library page. This new page will provide easier access to CAC-specific resources for the Calvary community. Check out the new page here.
Same Commitment to Serving You
The CAC is standing by to serve you, the students, faculty, and staff of Calvary University. Please let us know how we can help. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email us or call extension 1402.