Students of the SCC strive for success

Keri GLeason and Dan Dierking review notes during a tutoring session at the Student Success Center. Photo by Brittany Krenzelak.
Keri GLeason and Dan Dierking review notes during a tutoring session at the Student Success Center. Photo by Brittany Krenzelak.
Ambrose Hall is packed with rooms full of students in class. But one room is different. It’s a room where the students are the teachers. It’s St. Ambrose’s Student Success Center (SSC). The SSC offers academic services from study groups to supplemental instruction and tutorial support for all St. Ambrose students. Tutoring is offered for 100 and 200-level courses only, but writing tutorials are available for any course.
Although the SSC has been an important part of SAU for years, there has been an increase in the number of students using the center in recent years. From the fall of 2011 semester to this past fall, the number of students who came to the center for a drop-in tutorial session increased 44 percent with more than 300 students stopping in for a day-of session. For those students who have had weekly tutorial sessions, they increased by 17 percent with 202 students using the center. The faculty members of the SSC are proud of these numbers.
“This is a service we provide and we just want to provide the highest level we possibly can,” Ann Austin, director of reading and study skills at SAU, said.
Along with the increase in the number of students using the center, there are 73 student tutors for the SSC. These students come recommended by faculty for excelling in their areas of study. Then, tutors are certified through an international tutoring program.
“It’s so interesting and exciting to talk to the tutors,” Assistant Director of the SSC Dianne Gilchrist said. “They are willing to be resourceful and make it work for those students—their peers—who come in and ask for help.”
The number of students and tutors at the center is not the only change. The SSC welcomed Sarah Coomber, the center’s ESL support specialist, this past fall. She will work with students who have English as their second language.
Gilchrist knows the importance of students being exposed to the SSC. From tours for students in New Student Seminar to admissions tours, students at SAU are exposed to the Center from the beginning of their time at Ambrose.
Faculty members are also aware of the Center and support it. The Dean of Student Academic Services and Community College Relations, Maureen Baldwin, asks faculty at the beginning of a semester to consider adding information about the SSC in their syllabi.
Faculty who work in the SSC want students to be aware that the Center is there for all students.
“There is a stereotype that it’s for students who really struggle and want to pass, and of course we can help those students,” Austin said. “But for the student who wants to move from the B to an A, we’re good with that too.”
The SSC is open Sunday through Friday and students with questions can contact Gilchrist at or Deb Lasher at
“It’s a wonderful place to be,” Gilchrist said. “It is a success center.”


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