Monday, January 10, 2011

Japanese delegation looks to Daytona State for best Academic Support Center practices

Dr. Judy Campbell, right, reviews ASC specifications with
Dr. Noyuri Mima of Future University-Hakodate’s Center for Meta-Learning.
A delegation of Japanese higher education officials visited Daytona State College this week for a first-hand look at its nationally acclaimed Academic Support Center.

The delegation, four members of Japan’s Ministry of Education, was here to learn about trends, issues and best practices related to American college learning centers that can help them with reformation efforts at Japanese colleges and universities.

"As Japan opens access to higher education, it is finding that many students require academic assistance to become more college-ready," said Dr. Judy Campbell, Daytona State’s ASC director. "They are now exploring how active and robust academic support centers can be effective in promoting student success."

Senior Learning Specialist Bob Balsamo, left, leads the delegation on
a tour of the ASC.
The delegation looked to the centers at Daytona State in the wake of a visit this fall to the National College Learning Center Association’s annual conference held in Charlotte, N.C. First established in 1976, Daytona State’s Academic Support Center is a 2007 recipient of the NCLCA’s prestigious Frank L. Christ Outstanding Learning Center Association Award. More recently, the Florida Association of Community Colleges cited Daytona State for Exemplary Practice in Learning Support Services.

A contingent of Daytona State ASC staff, administrators, faculty and tutors welcomed the Japanese delegation. During tours and individual conferences, they guided the visitors through the process of building a robust academic support center, pointing to facilities and technical planning, staffing, budgeting and case histories, with the key ingredient of the successful milieu being buy in from college faculty regarding the value academic support centers bring to student learning.

Delegation members explore on their own.
Daytona State’s centers provide individual and small-group instructional support to students in math, science, business, and many other courses and supplemental instructional services for historically difficult courses.

During the 2008-09 academic year, there were over 201,000 student visits to the ASC locations located on each of the six College campuses. That number increased from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, when more than 280,000 student visits were recorded. In order to accommodate the increased demand, the ASC reached out to a wider community of faculty for their involvement. The outreach effort was significant and established a new level of awareness among faculty regarding how the ASC can enhance teaching and learning. Center staff, in collaboration with the ASC Liaison Committee, made a concerted effort to engage faculty and develop strategies complementary to academic instruction. Faculty participation increased from 70 members providing service hours during the 2007-2008 academic year to 148 during 2009-2010.

"Without the active and consistent faculty participation in ASC activities, it would be impossible to provide academic support to the thousands of students who seek academic assistance every semester," Dr. Campbell noted. "Faculty hold the initiative together."