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Center for Academic Success Louisiana State University

2009-2010 Annual Report

Transform Learning. Maximize Performance.

Welcome 2009-2010 was an extremely busy year for the Center with over 62,700 contacts with students through our programs and services. The Center also gained new leadership, and embarked on many new initiatives and collaborations. The former director of the CAS, Dr. Saundra McGuire, was promoted to Assistant Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at LSU, won several prestigious national awards, and was the keynote speaker at several national and international conferences. Sarah Baird, former Assistant Director, who had a tremendous impact on the Center, students and the LSU campus moved Melissa Brocato with her family to Las Vegas and began work at the learning center at UNLV. The CAS greatly appreciates their work to tirelessly forward the mission of the Center over the past decade. The CAS continues its efforts to transform the learning culture at LSU and beyond by disseminating sound, cognitive science-based learning principles and practices through: learning strategies education which includes workshops, presentations, and consultations with students, faculty, and campus media, and via academic support such as tutoring and Supplemental Instruction. The CAS proudly launched many new initiatives to help serve LSU students and maintained strong collaborations within the Division of Student Life and Enrollment Services, with the academic colleges, and with other departments and organizations on campus. For example, partnering with Student Government resulted in construction of a new CAS tutorial center in Middleton Library where students can receive tutoring in multiple subjects in a convenient location; working with First Year Experience (FYE) developed specialized programming for first year and transfer students via the IMPACT program; working with the academic colleges provided learning strategies education to entering freshman through summer bridge programs such as BIOS, ENG, Summer Provisional Program, etc.; and partnering with Information Technology Services and faculty developed the idea for the Early Academic Intervention System. Other new programs were created to help educate students about improving their academic performance such as OMEGA, Project COPE, IMPULSE, Strategies to Geaux, and SOS. The new website, launched in fall of 2009, provides a new look and convenient quick links for students in order to help them get the information they need immediately as well as an area where students can share their successes. Additionally, the CAS has placed an increased emphasis on the assessment of its programs and has also created a streamlined communications plan in order to better serve our users. The Center continues to receive wonderful responses from those who utilize the services and they express the impact these services have made on them. I hope that you will enjoy reading about the CAS activities presented in this report and will drop by to see us at B31 Coates Hall or visit our website at Melissa Brocato, Director Center for Academic Success

About Mission As Louisiana State University’s central learning center, we enhance the learning and teaching experience by empowering individuals with effective, transferable strategies and resources.

Vision To inspire individuals with innovative strategies for learning and teaching

Staff Organizational Chart

Melissa Brocato Director

Diane Mohler

Lahna Roche

Assistant Director

Assistant Director

Pam Ball

Lisa Gullett

Jeff Lee

Susan Saale

Learning Strategies Coordinator

Administrative Coordinator

Technology Coordinator

Academic Support Coordinator

Transform Learning. Maximize Performance.

Learning Strategies The Center for Academic Success believes that each student can be a successful, self-directed learner. The Learning Strategies unit motivates and empowers students to succeed academically, personally, and professionally through practical and efficient learning and study strategies. Students are able to develop metacognitive, higher-order, critical thinking skills and utilize them with personalized learning strategies and time management skills for optimal academic performance. The Learning Strategies Consultants offer individual consultations, workshops to classes and campus organizations, and programs targeting specified populations. Topics addressed include effective learning strategies, stress and test anxiety reduction, time management, metacognition, critical thinking, concept mapping and course specific strategies.

Diane Mohler and a student during a consultation

Learning Strategies Unit 2009-2010 SERVICE METHOD


Individual Student Consultations




Outreach & Campus Activities


Online Workshops

3,500 (16,630 guests)





Center for Academic Success

New Projects and Initiatives Through the Learning Strategies unit, the CAS empowers students with innovative strategies for learning and provides practical techniques to transform the learning experience. During the 2009-2010 academic year, the following projects and initiatives were launched:  Create My Plan for Success—featured on the CAS homepage, this resource focuses on four key areas

of learning strategies (How I Learn, Get Organized, Ace My Tests, and Reduce My Stress) in order to provide assistance for students to assess their current situation, learn about each topic, and plan to implement change to improve their academic performance.  IMPULSE—IMplementing Positive Useful Learning Strategies Effectively—these weekly walk-in

sessions evolved from topic focused to student-need focused. Originally held in a classroom and then moved to the CAS multidisciplinary tutorial center, these sessions allow students the opportunity to get immediate assistance in the learning strategies area.  OMEGA—Our Members Encourage Great Academics—designed to assist large numbers, this program

encourages member participation in existing CAS activities to enhance academic performance of Greeks, groups, and organizations across campus.  Project COPE—Cognitive Outlook and Performance Evaluation—designed to assist students

experiencing stress, these psycho-educational group facilitated workshops allow students the opportunity to identify stressors and learn helpful techniques to reduce and manage stress for optimal academic performance.  SOS—Strategies to Optimize Success—created to meet the needs of students appealing their financial

aid status, this program provides targeted workshops for this specific population designed to help students learn tools to regain confidence in their academic abilities and improve their performance.  Social Work Intern—supervised by a Social Work colleague in another department, the CAS provided

an internship experience to it’s first Social Work Intern, who conducts individual consultations, delivers group presentations, and functions as part of the CAS team.  IMPACT Program Redesign—restructured in its second year, the program provided a conference-style

workshop where first-year students attended an opening session and selected two of four breakout sessions to attend. In addition, a Moodle (online) component was added to the program to reinforce information learned in the workshops and to encourage students to continue to implement strategies to improve their academic performance.

Transform Learning. Maximize Performance.

Learning Strategies Qualitative Results Students share their thoughts about the CAS Learning Strategies unit.  The methods and information that I gained at the CAS completely changed the way I learn and how I

study.  I felt encouraged, motivated, and willing to go beyond my routine.  I’ve been using some of the tools we discussed and it seems to be helping a ton! I got a 95 on my last

biology test, and I had a chemistry test today. It was tricky, but I didn’t freak out in the middle like usual. Thanks so much for your help!!  While talking to the [CAS Consultant], I didn’t feel like ‘just another number at LSU’, but an individual.

She helped me feel confident about being a freshman and that I could be successful. Her advice, visual descriptions, and services will completely change how I view my experience here. I know that I can do it now!  I never had problems make good grades in high school but I really struggled with adapting to college

my first semester and started off with a 1.5 GPA...It turns out that [the consultant] really wanted to help me do better and gave me little tips that made a big difference...I definitely think going to the CAS and having a consultation had a major impact on my getting a 3.8 this semester!

Quantitative Results

Right: Over 97% of students stated that attending IMPACT improved their performance on graded academic work, including, tests, quizzes, and assignments.

Center for Academic Success

Academic Support The Academic Support Unit provides assistance to students through individualized peer tutoring, online tutoring and supplemental instruction.

Tutoring To meet the demand for tutoring in historically difficult courses, the CAS maintained two (2) tutorial centers, offering academic support in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Economics, Accounting, Spanish, French and Latin. Tutoring was provided by 65 CAS Tutors, 29 physics graduate students, and 2 math graduate students in the tutorial centers. Tutors employed by the Center for Academic Success complete a training program certified by the College Reading and Learning Association in order to carry out the goals of the unit.

Online Tutoring In response to student demand for tutoring services outside center hours of operation and in courses not supported in the centers, CAS contracted with SMARTHINKING to provide online tutoring support. Students connect via the internet with qualified, trained e-structors who provide support in Mathematics, Economics, Statistics, Accounting, Chemistry, Spanish, Physics, and Writing.

Supplemental Instruction Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a series of regularly scheduled study sessions offered for students in historically difficult courses. It is open to all students who want to improve both their grade and understanding of course material. Each session is guided by an SI leader who has previously taken the course and is prepared to share with attendees what they have learned about how to study. The leader either attends the class or works in close association with the instructor of the class so that sessions are relevant to the material covered. SI was offered in 52 course sections during 2009-2010.

Academic Support Unit 2009-2010 SERVICE METHOD




Online Tutoring: SMARTHINKING

3,500 (1,650 hours)

Supplemental Instruction




Transform Learning. Maximize Performance.

Academic Support New Projects and Initiatives Through the Academic Support unit, the CAS encourages students to be active learners who utilize appropriate resources for success. During the 2009-2010 academic year, the following projects and initiatives were launched:  New Tutorial Center—through collaboration with Student Government, a

new tutorial center in Middleton Library was opened in October 2009. This space is adjacent to group study areas in the library and serves as a multidisciplinary center, offering tutorial services for many subjects.  Tutoring in Business Courses—implemented to meet student need,

tutoring is now offered for Accounting and Economics.

Tutorial Center Grand Opening

Qualitative Results Students share their thoughts about the CAS Academic Support unit.  I was able to tackle my homework with confidence knowing that when I run into difficulty, there is a tutor

to help me and in most cases, I have a classmate to share what I have learned with. Programs like CAS in my opinion, really help with student retention and success, reason being that a student that is failing a class is more likely to drop the class or even drop out of the university. But with effective tutoring programs, many students will be retained and proceed to graduate from their field of study.  The [tutoring] services provided impacted me as a student because the Center was available to me and

free of charge. I always knew where to go when I didn’t understand and didn’t have to worry about financial crises. Thanks to the center, I have succeeded greatly in the course that I am taking.  I took chemistry last semester and didn’t go to any SI sessions and ended up dropping it because of my

grade and retook it this semester and have been to SI sessions and they have helped me tremendously.  My grade increased significantly after attending the SI sessions. It helped me understand the concepts

of the material and keep up with what was going on in class.  The SI instructor taught me new ways of looking at all the problems that I have to do in class. He really

summarized all the material well and increased our understanding of the material in general as well as the really difficult parts of the class. Center for Academic Success

Quantitative Results: Tutoring Total Student Visits 27,000 30,000 25,000

21,700 15,700

20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 2007‐2008



Above: Freshman and Sophomore students made up the majority who were assisted in the Tutorial Centers.

Above: Student visits increased 24% from 2008-2009 to 2009-2010 and 72% from 2007-2008 to 2009-2010.


Above: UCFY, Engineering, UCAC and Science students made up the majority who were assisted in the Tutorial Centers.

Fall 2009 CHEM 1201






Right: Students who utilize the Tutorial Center 5 or more times earn better grades.


More than 5




0 A





Transform Learning. Maximize Performance.

Academic Support Quantitative Results: Supplemental Instruction

Grade Point Average Comparison 2.63

Right: Students who participated in Supplemental Instruction had a higher grade point average than those who did not participate.

2.6 2.5 2.4 2.3 2.2 2.1 2 1.9


Did Not Attend SI

Below: The DFW and FW rate for those who attended Supplemental Instruction is lower than those who did not attend.

Center for Academic Success

Attended SI

Contributors & Collaborators Fiscal Contributors With fiscal contributions from supporters, the CAS has the ability to expand services and reach more students. Thanks to the following supporters:

Collaborative Partners Through collaborative effort, the CAS is able to deliver services to targeted LSU students. Thanks to the following partners:

 Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund

 Department of Biological Sciences

 College of Basic Sciences

 Department of Chemistry

 College of Engineering

 Department of Computer Science

 D.D. and Fran Smith

 Department of Physics & Astronomy

 Department of Biological Sciences

 Division of Student Life & Enrollment

Services  Department of Chemistry  First Year Experience (FYE)  Department of Physics & Astronomy  Greek Life & Greek Organizations  Division of Student Life  Information Technology Services (ITS)  First Year Experience (FYE)  Multicultural Student Leadership  Finance and Administrative


Services  Office of Strategic Initiatives  Office of Strategic Initiatives  Orientation & Bengal Bound Program  Student Government  Student Government  The Minority Business Program in the

E.J. Ourso College of Business  University College & Summer Bridge

Programs Contributions provide tutoring services

Transform Learning. Maximize Performance.

Center for Academic Success

B 31 Coates Hall ■ 225.578.2872 ■

2009-10 Center for Academic Success Annual Report