Under One Roof

Newly renovated space enhances academic support services for students

During their fall season, members of the women’s soccer team had all the usual training requirements—running, weight training, and a rigorous schedule of practices and games.

But Kevin Porterfield, the head coach and associate athletic director, added a new requirement this year: meet with a writing tutor at least five times at the College’s new Academic Services Center. “I was looking for a way to introduce my first-year players to the academic resources we offer here,” said Porterfield.

The plan paid off, and many of the players began using the center regularly. “It is an impressive space, and many of them use the center for studying now,” Porterfield said. “It offered up a place they knew would be quiet and comfortable for them.”

The facility is possible thanks to the completion of the second phase of renovation of Lipscomb Library’s main floor. The newly designed space allowed the institution to move four of its academic support programs into one place. Students can now access the Writing Lab, tutoring, disability services, and the Learning Strategies Program all in one facility. The 1,800-square-foot area is filled with windows and natural light, and students have access to computers and rooms for tutoring.

Emma Bartholomew ’14, a writing tutor, said the changes have improved interaction between the academic services. “It gives us the sense of more unity,” she said.

All of the programs in the center are offered free to students and are designed to provide them with the resources they need to succeed academically. Services provided include help with any stage of the writing process and peer tutoring. The center’s staff also arranges accommodations for students with disabilities.

Randolph administrators wanted to make it easier for students to identify where to get academic support, according to Paula Wallace, associate dean of the College.

“We wanted one-stop shopping for students,” she said. “There is so much interaction among those programs in responding to individual needs of students. It made sense that we could reinforce the availability of the many resources we offer.”

Bunny Goodjohn, an English professor and director of the writing program and tutoring services, had initial reservations about moving the Writing Lab out of Main Hall. She wondered whether the new location would discourage students from seeking writing help.

All her concerns faded, however, when she saw how students packed the center and the Writing Lab last semester. “Within a few weeks of moving into this space, it was evident that the library was a pretty vibrant place to be,” she said.