Empty Dantes Space Will Become Home to Center for Student Success

At the bottom of the stairs exiting Lockes, the entrance to a formerly rarely used space is now boarded off due to major construction in progress. In just a few months, this will be a bustling new Center for Student Success.

The new Center for Student Success will bring together all the student resource offices into one space, allowing for easy access to all the assistance students need on a daily basis. These will include, the writing center, athletics academic support, specialized resource center, center for career development, center for graduate school and fellowship advisement, study abroad, student financial aid and graduate admissions.

“You can see from the groups that are going in there that the primary focus of doing this was to take a number of functions or activities that are directly related to students, bring them together into one space and put them in a space that they are much more readily accessible to the students on the campus” said Andy Ryan, vice president of facilities.

Photo by Ally Hutzler, The Quadrangle

Not only will the new space house ample resources, but it also puts the financial aid office steps away from the admissions offices. Students go between these two offices several times in a month, week or even a day.

Allowing related aspects of the school to be close to each other gives students the opportunity to efficiently take care of the most stressful aspects of school. “With student financial aid, students are in and out all the time, so this puts them right next to admissions instead of having to walk through campus to the front of the school,” said Ryan.

Many aspects of student life will be improved because of the move to a central space with many resources. The writing center and the learning center are currently housed in two different buildings, Miguel and De La Salle. Now, the two resources will be in the same larger and more accommodating space.

“Currently the writing center and the learning center are located in fairly small spaces. We’ve seen growing demand every year for tutoring services for academic support and our centers are overly saturated. We have students literally working in the hallways sometimes,” said Sujey Batista, Assistant Director for the Center for Academic Success.

Although having too many students is a good problem for the learning center, over crowding is not always conducive to learning and tutoring. Having one student working on writing while another directly to the right of them is trying to do complicated physics problems, can be distracting and make it harder for the student to focus.

“It will be interesting to see those groups of people together in a bigger space. Were a little on top of each other here now, so it will be nice to have a space where you can really pay attention to what you’re doing and you wont have to hear the people next to you talking,” said Melissa Worthington, Graduate Assistant for the writing and learning center.

Worthington started as a freshman office assistant in the Center for Academic success, then moved through several positions throughout her four years at Manhattan College and is currently getting her MBA. The growth she has seen within the learning and writing center makes her excited for a new space where students can do their work.

“It’s been really exciting to see the growth of the learning center and writing center. We started off really small and then it became that days were booked, 9 am all the way until 8 pm, appointment after appointment… It will be great to have new technology, new everything, for the students,” said Worthington.

Above all, the goal of the Center for Academic Success is to satisfy the academic needs of the students and be sure that they walk out of the tutoring sessions feeling accomplished. While it is not always easy to ask for help, the centers want students to feel comfortable with receiving academic assistance in any subject matter.

“I think that sometimes asking for help is intimidating and students might not feel comfortable admitting that they have problems with their writing or that they have problems with math and walking into a space thats cramped with students makes that experience so much more difficult,” said Batista.

Construction is projected to be completed by the start of the Fall 2016 semester, so that students are able to take full advantage of the new Center for Academic Success at the start of the new school year.

“We are hoping that with the new space, students who may not have been comfortable before will be comfortable asking for services and asking for help and as for the students who are coming now, I think they will enjoy the space and it will be conducive to their learning,” said Batista.