Equipped with a new space, Concordia’s Academic Resource Center is stepping up to help pandemic-era high schoolers make up for lost academic progress.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the spring 2023 edition of Hearts Together, a magazine publication of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor.
Countless studies have found that academic achievement across all grade levels slowed amid COVID-19. The latest national ACT scores seem to corroborate the findings, with last year’s test scores falling to a three-decade low. The delay in academic achievement has now carried over to colleges. At Concordia, the ARC has never been busier as a result.
Before the pandemic, center staff recorded roughly 1,600 student visits in an average academic year. That number more than tripled last school year, and this year the resource center is on track to surpass its
total yet again.
Of course, the increased demand requires the ARC team to be on their A game. The center has hired more student tutors, increased the number of classes in which support is offered, and expanded hours. It also refined the peer academic coaching model and introduced a summer bridge program to assist with students’ transition from high school to college.
A new space
And now the ARC has a new home, with more space to better accommodate its heavily utilized services. Thanks to funds from a Title III grant and private donations, structural upgrades were made to offices and classrooms at the back of Rincker Memorial Library, allowing the ARC to expand its physical footprint to about 2,000 square feet. ARC staff moved into their new digs at the beginning of the year.
All their efforts are paying off. At the start of the spring 2022 semester, about 130 students were on academic probation, which means they had a GPA of 2.0 or lower. By the start of this year’s spring term, that number had shrunk by 23 percent.
“Students have invested a lot to come to Concordia, so it’s only fitting that we invest our best in them,” said ARC Director Jan Chapman. “We want to see students succeed, and all of them have it in them to be successful. We’re all working hard to bounce back from the pandemic.”
Ever since the pandemic, the Academic Resource Center has experienced a boom in demand for services. The ARC staff has managed to keep pace thanks in large part to an increase in physical space and resources.
ARC visits recorded in fall 2022
Individual students (or 16% of undergraduates) served in fall 2022
More ARC visits in 2021-22 than 2018-19
Peer mentors and student tutors on staff
Decrease in students on academic probation from spring 2022 to spring 2023
The Academic Resource Center provides free services, programs, and support for all CUW students so they can grow into independent learners and adjust to life as a college student.
The spring 2023 Hearts Together magazine hit mailboxes in April. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, email Jennifer.Hackmann@cuaa.edu.