Notre Dame's Academic Support Center provides support for students with learning differences and is a model for higher education around the country.

The Academic Support Center at Notre Dame College is amazing. I’m not saying that because my friend and co-author Katie Wetherbee works there. I’m saying it because of what’s being done to support students with learning differences who want to earn a college degree.

Academic Support Center Facts

Notre Dame College is located in South Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Their Academic Support Center (ASC) served 100 students during the 2017-18 academic year and has the capacity for 150 students. An additional fee is required for ASC services, which include the following and much more:

  • A six week, 1 credit course for freshman that emphasizes study skills and time management.
  • 4 hours of tutoring per week with degreed professionals in the student’s field of study. (I met a lawyer, a CPA, and a biologist while touring the facility.)
  • Weekly, individual academic status report meetings with a learning specialist. During these meetings, the learning specialist and the student create weekly plans that become more self-directed as the student becomes more independent.
  • Quiet study areas for students.
  • Quiet test-taking areas and extended time for tests.
  •  Access to adaptive learning tools such as class materials provided in print, audio versions of textbooks, note-taking assistance, and recording of class lectures.

During the 2018-19 academic year, the ACS hopes to launch an initiative in which some college professors and ACS learning specialists will co-teach some classes.

Academic Support Center Focus

The focus of the ASC is employability. To that end, the center has created a strong career program. Staff members assist students as they create resumes and prepare for job opportunities. They practice interviewing on the phone and and in person. They conduct some mock interviews in front of a mirror so students can observe their own facial expressions. Students also learn simple techniques to manage the anxiety that arises before and during job interviews.

Notre Dame's Academic Support Center provides support for students with learning differences and is a model for higher education around the country.

A basket of fidget items on a window sill in the ASC.

Academic Support Center Staff

Every person I met at the ASC had the same goal. They all expressed a desire to provide support, to build student skills, and to offer encouragement. They want all their students, with a wide range of interests, talents, and learning differences to graduate from college and become valued employees.

Notre Dame College has students from all over the United States and from several countries. If you have a child with learning differences who wants to earn a college degree, check out Notre Dame’s ASC. If sending your child away from home isn’t feasible, contact colleges in your area to see what they offer by way of academic support. Notre Dame College is a leader in providing support for learning differences, and many colleges and universities are falling into line behind them.

Notre Dame's Academic Support Center provides support for students with learning differences and is a model for higher education around the country.

Katie and I doing the selfie thing at the end of our visit.

 

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