Two campus programs at Northern Illinois University have come together for a holistic approach to support undergraduate and graduate students in their learning.
The Huskie Academic Support Center (HASC) began a yearlong buildup and rollout last fall to harmonize the work of the University Writing Center with Supplemental Instruction’s Tutoring and Peer Academic Coaching functions.
A new website launched out of the collaboration provides students with a one-stop-shop for writing and research support, tutoring for classes, and coaching on academic skills — all from Huskies just like them. Students who staff the HASC are a representative cross-section of NIU’s colleges, cultural centers and other units across campus.
“They are people who understand the population they support,” said Gail Jacky, director of the HASC. “They’re absolutely amazing students, and they’re perfectly open about the fact that they had to figure out college, too.”
Jacky says the HASC will partner with Founders Memorial Library for more shared physical spaces, but a big win so far has been consolidating digital offerings for students across campus. By the Fall 2021 semester, students will have a singular portal through Tutor Matching Services to request appointments for writing help, content tutoring or academic skill development.
This common platform will continue to facilitate virtual study sessions, workshops and more through a GoBoard feature, as well as face-to-face components moving forward again in the fall. In addition to serving current students, Jacky says the HASC will ramp up outreach to new Huskies through bridge programs during Orientation.
“This resource is there to help students learn to advocate for themselves, take ownership of their education, and connect with people who may have had some of the same experiences they’ve had,” said Jacky.
The Writing Center continues to additionally support faculty research and course material development, and employees will also have access to help students navigate the HASC’s overall scheduling system.