Academic Enrichment Center gets major enhancements
More than 50% of Dordt students receive services through the Academic Enrichment Center (AEC).
“Last year, we had about 6,800 unique visits for services like study skills assistance, peer tutoring, competency courses, and more,” says Rose Postma (’02), AEC director.
The AEC “seeks to enable students to maximize their learning in their courses and to equip them with the skills needed to function both within an academic community and as lifelong learners.” But over the years, staff found it increasingly difficult to live out their mission. Tucked away in the lower level of the Hulst Library, the Academic Enrichment Center was difficult for students to find.
“And the space has been virtually unchanged for more than 20 years,” says Postma. “It was a big square room with a couple offices, some wood-paneled carrels, and counters full of computers. It wasn’t appealing.”
So how does Postma feel about the AEC’s remodel, which was completed in September?
“It’s a much bigger deal than a refresh or update,” she says. “It will completely change the way we are able to offer services and work with students,” she says.
The entire floor plan was reconfigured to maximize efficiency, allowing for several floor-to-ceiling glass rooms that can be used for test proctoring and small group tutoring sessions. A chic conference room offers a space for large group tutoring sessions to meet and for classes to gather. Modern-looking tables and chairs dot the room, providing students with comfortable study spots.
And the most eye-catching design element of all: a brand-new entryway through the Campus Center, so large and easy to access that any passersby won’t miss it.
“I’m very excited about the entryway. It’s huge and conveys a sense of professionalism. It’s as prominent an entry as the main area in the library or the Grille,” says Postma.
Sharon Rosenboom, coordinator for service for students with disabilities, hopes the remodel “translates into having more students use the space for a variety of purposes, including signing up for proofreading and tutoring as well as having it be part of their natural academic behavior.”
“The remodel communicates to all students that academic support can be part of their academic program, and that there doesn’t need to be a stigma about using the space,” she says. “When the university poured resources into making this space more accessible, Dordt sent a message that this is a space we want students to feel comfortable in. I think that speaks to students.”
Caleb Kroeze, a senior engineering major who provides proofreading services and tutors for several English courses, has found that the AEC remodel has changed the way he does tutoring.
“The glass-doored study rooms allow for one-on-one sessions where students can openly discuss things without worrying about being in such a public space,” he says. “I also appreciate the modern feel; it's a pleasant area to work and tutor in.”
The remodel has been in the works for years, so it is exciting to see it come to fruition, adds Postma.
“We anticipate we will have over 7,000 unique visits this year, if not more,” she says. “With increased availability and visibility, we think more and more people will stop by the Academic Enrichment Center, which is exactly what we want. It’s great.”
Sarah Moss ('10)