THE ACADEMIC CENTERS FOR EXCELLENCE
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO COLORADO SPRINGS
The Academic Centers for Excellence (ACE) at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, include the Languages and Social Sciences Center, the Mathematics Center, the Communication Center, the Science Center, and the Writing Center--five academic centers designed to provide critical academic and individual support to all students in the University in all major academic areas, both within and beyond the classroom. Originally funded in 1990 by a Title III Grant, these centers are now an integral part of the Student Success Initiative at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
Each Center offers students a unique program of academic support that is based on the principles of collaborative learning, individualized assistance, and the intelligent use of technology. The Centers have become known as places where students can find help solving problems and reaching their full potential. All five Centers are staffed with peer undergraduate and/or graduate assistants who are committed to the principle of students helping students, offering the best in peer collaboration and learning. These student assistants provide personal understanding, knowledge based upon classroom experience, academic insight, and patient commitment to others seeking help and advice. The resulting unique peer tutor-student connection--made possible by their common status--is one that strengthens student confidence, facilitates student understanding, and helps insure student success.
Other academic support programs in the Centers are designed to complement classroom activities in various disciplines as well as offer individualized assistance to students on a one-to-one basis. These programs are delivered through computer-assisted instruction, self-paced software, multi-media, web-based instructional support, and self-study programs, as well as individual tutorial support. In their respective disciplines, the Center Directors and staff collaborate with faculty to design and deliver specific supplemental instruction for individual classes, and they provide additional faculty support through in-class workshops and presentations. As a group, Center Directors continue to learn about and develop new ways to use technology and enhance instructional support, working closely both together and with the faculty within their disciplines to refine and improve Center programs. Center Directors also regularly attend and present at national and regional conferences in their areas of expertise.
The Center Directors further assist University efforts in student recruitment and retention, helping students during freshman orientation with advising and program explanation, contacting all new students as part of the Two Points of Contact Program for further problem-solving during their first semester, and assisting students with the resolution of a variety of questions on an ongoing basis. The Centers also work closely with the Student Success Initiative to improve the opportunities for, performance of, and retention of minority students and students with disabilities.
In the 2011-2012 academic year, the Centers recorded more than 75,000 student visits. Students who use the Centers earn higher grades in their classes, achieve a higher grade point average, and are retained to a greater extent.