Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Academic Support Center (ASC) celebrated the grand opening of its newly renovated 3,500-square-foot space on the New Bern campus with a virtual ribbon cutting on Jan. 21. The new center officially opened its doors earlier this month in time for the start of the spring 2021 semester.
As its name suggests, the ASC provides academic support to Craven CC students enrolled in all levels of curriculum courses. The goal is to help students reach their academic, personal, social and economic potential by supporting intellectual growth, directing and connecting them to resources and motivating them to become lifelong learners.
“Academic support is an extension of the classroom,” said Jennifer Bumgarner, executive director of academic support. “That learning starts in the classroom, but then students don’t come already knowing it. They need support; they need help, learning and supporting them on their educational journey. I see academic support as part of that learning experience. We’ve worked hard to tie academic support with instruction so that we are complementing what’s happening in the classroom.”
The new center started from the mission to provide students with a suitable, comprehensive learning environment as the ASC had outgrown its previous location. It began as a concept nearly five years ago, entered the construction phase last March and blossomed into reality at the start of this year.
The new center has collaborative spaces for group study sessions and workshops, as well as individual spaces for one-on-one tutoring. Students are assisted with writing and research assistance for various classes, placement test preparation, computer use and printing, professional communication, academic resourcefulness and soft skills development including organization, time management, study skills and test taking. It houses the Student Help Desk, which provides virtual and in-person technical support and guidance for students.
The New Bern ASC currently employs 14 tutors that are made up of a mixture of professional tutors, including adjunct instructors, as well as peer tutors available for students requesting assistance with specific classes, which is especially beneficial since they are already familiar with the instructor and class content. The tutors work with students in person, online or embedded into classrooms and serve around 100 to 150 students each semester.
“Students need a place to learn outside the classroom,” said Bumgarner. “They need a place to have study groups and they need a safe place to come meet with tutors. It was extremely important that they had a good space to come to that’s welcoming and inviting. Academic support, tutoring and things like that seem to be a stigma, and it’s not. Good students ask for help and they need a good place to go.”
This article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal on January 27, 2021.