Academic Learning Services
Welcome to Academic Learning Services. On this page you will find general descriptions of our academic support services, including information specific to students as well as faculty and staff members.
What is Academic Learning Services?
Academic Learning Services works to inspire confidence, increase student competence, and create self-reflective learners in a friendly, welcoming environment through comprehensive programs designed to help students grow academically, personally, and professionally. Through the development of independent learning skills, our services help students develop a deeper understanding of classroom concepts, reinforce integration of ideas between courses, and ultimately improve their chances of academic success.
What services do we provide?
Peer Tutoring Program : A peer-to-peer tutoring service supporting core science and math courses.
Science Assistance Center: A professional tutoring center dedicated to the math and science courses in the first two undergraduate years.
Peer Mentor Program: Upperclass students are matched with incoming students to ease their transition to ACPHS.
Academic and Study Skills Workshops and Consultations: For students seeking to better understand and strengthen their strategies for academic success.
A total of 557 students used Peer Tutoring Program and Science Assistance Center services during the 2011-2012 academic year.
Faculty and Staff Member Information
How can I find out which tutors are supporting my class?
Instructors who teach one of the core math or science courses in any of the bachelor’s programs or the pre-pharmacy and Pharm.D. programs will receive an email at the start of the semester outlining the tutoring options available for students in their courses (including the Peer Tutoring Program and the Science Assistance Center, if applicable). This communication includes the full schedule, list of tutors, and any weekly group learning sessions. Many faculty members post this message on their Blackboard course sites.
Is tutoring available on the Vermont campus?
Yes. Peer tutors are available on the Vermont campus for the same courses that are supported on the Albany campus. In some instances, and depending on student interest, group learning sessions may be simulcast between the campuses using distance learning technology. One-on-one tutoring between the campuses can be arranged, although most students prefer to work with a peer on their campus.
How can a faculty member recommend a student to become a tutor for their class?
Contact the Director of Academic Learning Services at any time with the names of students who would make excellent tutors. Students must meet certain criteria, including being in good academic standing and having achieved at least a B+ or better in the course (A grades are preferred). Recruitment for tutors begins early in the spring semester. The faculty member must provide a recommendation for the student(s) as part of their application to the program. Potential candidates are interviewed and screened; the director makes the final decision about their eligibility to become a tutor.
How can a faculty member refer a student or advisee who might be struggling in their courses?
Ask whether the student has used resources such as faculty review sessions (if available), tutoring, or study groups, and if he or she is agreeable to seeking assistance. Inform the student about the online tutoring sign-up service AskOnline (http://albany.askonline.net). Help them make an appointment if necessary. If the student would benefit from a consultation, provide contact information for the Director of Academic Learning Services (at the end of this page) and follow up with the director. Or, call the director while the student is in the office to ensure the student follows through with the referral. It may also be appropriate to walk the student to the director’s office if they are upset, nervous, or unaware of the resource.
How can a faculty member arrange for a workshop on an academic strategy topic?
Academic skills and study strategies can enhance any course’s curriculum. The faculty member in cooperation with the director will determine the appropriate topic, format, and length of a workshop to meet the needs of a course.
Potential topics include:
- Time management, procrastination, or motivation
- Critical thinking skills and Bloom’ s taxonomy
- Learning styles
- The "scientific method" of studying
- The study habits of highly effective learners
- Hints for taking multiple choice exams
- 10 things you should do with a returned exam
- Note-taking skills and other classroom organizational techniques
- Verbal and non-verbal communication
- Going away for a conference and don’t want to cancel class? Consider planning for a substitute lecture from Academic Learning Services.
How do I request a tutor?
First, log in to our scheduling website at http://albany.askonline.net with your Blackboard username and password. This will allow you to search for available drop-in hours, group sessions and one-on-one appointments with a tutor. Note that the Science Assistance Center is a drop-in-only center and appointments are not necessary.
How to log in and personalize your account preferences:
How to search and schedule an appointment with a tutor:
What should I expect during a tutoring session?
Your tutor will help you become an effective and successful student, which means you will need to take an active role in the session. Come prepared with specific questions, or if you’re not sure what to ask, explain to your tutor that you need help figuring out what you don’t know. In group sessions it may be intimidating to ask questions in front of your classmates but it is more valuable for you to be active in these sessions rather than passive. Tutors are not there to reteach the material. Come prepared with all the materials you will need to work with your tutor: a notebook, pen or pencil, computer, textbook, calculator, etc.
Help! I’ve tried everything I can think of to study better but it’s just not paying off!
Many of us take for granted our ability to learn until we’re put in new and challenging environments. If you’ve tried everything you can think of, or if learning has become a chore or struggle, it may be time to take a fresh, objective view of your study habits and strengths. An appointment with Academic Learning Services can provide you with just such an objective view, as well as give you helpful hints and suggestions for improving your habits. You can make an appointment for a consultation at http://albany.askonline.net.
For more information, please contact:
Julianne Messia, M.S.
Director of Academic Learning Services
Tel: (518) 694-7147