ACCESS, PAL, Writing Center merge to provide accessible support


Patrick Murphy

NIU’s Special Collections and Archives is a new unit a part of the Rare Books and Special Collections. Current hour are 9-12 and 1-4 with plans to extend.

By Elisa Reamer, News Editor

DeKALB – ACCESS, PAL and the Writing Center will merge into the Huskie Academic Support Center located in the Founders Memorial Library Learning Commons.

 The process has begun and the full implication of the Huskie Academic Support Center will be completed in Fall 2021 to improve the success of NIU students, said Huskie Academic Support Center director Gail Jacky.

The goal behind the Huskie Academic Support Center is to provide comprehensive, accessible and dynamic academic support, according to the Huskie Academic Support Center NIU website. 

“[Huskie Academic Support Center will] provide academic skill development and success coaching that is incorporated as part of academic recovery and success planning, and is also available as on-demand or stand-alone programming designed to enhance student’s success as they transition to NIU and throughout their entire college journey,” according to a Huskie Academic Support Center informative PowerPoint presentation. 

There are three emphasis areas of Huskie Academic Support Center that include research and writing support, academic skill development and tutoring and course-based support. 

The research and writing support pillar will provide support for students in course-specific writing and writing-infused courses. Academic skill development will provide boot camps and coaching services. Course-based support provides tutoring for 100 and 200-level courses and added instruction for courses. 

This new service will make it easier for students to find out how to receive the tutoring they need and where to find it. 

“There are a lot of wonderful student support services on campus, and having a more focused way to identify them and schedule sessions will make it much easier for students to find support when they need it and for the services to work together and refine the services offered by each entity,” Jacky said.

NIU has already made significant progress on the Huskie Academic Support Center. The merge of the three tutoring services can already be found on the NIU website. Services were made available in the Founders Memorial Library in January. 

“We will pilot the Tutor Matching Services schedule for a few projects this spring, with a full launch during the summer and everything in place to start the fall 2021 semester,” Jacky said.

Jacky said she hopes there will be face-to-face sessions in the fall. Right now, sessions are through GoBoard where students can hold study groups, workshops, activities and more. 

Tutors will be trained with the same understanding of practices and responsibilities within their role of the skills they will work on. 

“Eventually, departments and colleges will be able to either recommend students to become tutors in the Huskie Academic Support Center or use the common scheduling system to help students access their independent services – sort of one-stop-shop for campus tutoring,” Jacky said.