MAGNOLIA – Helping develop good study habits is just one goal of Team Study, a program that uses academically successful students each week to facilitate and help establish quality study for students at Southern Arkansas University.
Team Study held its fall semester kickoff event Tuesday night with the Peer Academic Coaches (PACs) stationed in all of SAU’s residence halls as well as in Magale Library. Lavana Kindle, Team Study organizer, recently met with her team of coaches to plan for the upcoming year. Helping make sure students know that Team Study is held at 7 p.m. each Tuesday was their top priority, though so was making sure there would be enough free pizza on hand to feed all the students who attended.
Kindle told her coaches that according to an online survey, 96 percent of students who attended Team Study meetings last year said “it helped them with their classes.” She said students participating in the survey also rated the coaches themselves as the best thing about the program – which, she noted, is all about fun and interactivity.
“Most of the comments we had last year were positive,” Kindle said. “Dr. (Trey) Berry has endorsed this program, and we’re going to keep it going.”
Bussey station was the most-visited location and computer science and biology the degree fields most represented, according to survey results, she said.
PACs are required to be sophomore, junior, senior or graduate-level students, and to apply, a 3.0 GPA is required. PACs must be committed to personal academic success; personable and relatable; responsible, and willing to help other students succeed academically.
Michael Agada, a senior from Nigeria majoring in International Studies, and Gabrielle Davis, a junior political science major, fit those criteria, as they are both excited about working with freshmen and other students this fall.
“It gets them out of their rooms and interacting with other students,” Davis said of Team Study. “(PACs) aren’t required to tutor them, but we can and do help them with their homework. We’re there to provide motivation and support.”
Agada said PACs help freshmen to “feel more at home. We welcome and encourage them.”
Davis said PACs help freshmen build time-management and other study skills that can increase retention. “Many of them come here without those skills,” she said.
“It’s a fun experience,” Agada said of working as a PAC. “I’ve met a lot of students, many of them international students. I’ve been able to learn about many other cultures. Making new friends is probably the best thing about being a PAC, for me.”
Team Study meets weekly until Dec. 6 at stations in Bussey Hall, Columbia Hall, Talley Hall, Talbot Hall, the library, Fincher Hall, Greene Hall, Harrod Hall, Honors Hall, University Hall and University Village Apartments clubhouse. There are presently 10 PACs, and Kindle said applications are being taken for Magnolia Hall.
Other student support services available at SAU include the Academic Enrichment Center on the first floor of Wilson Hall, which offers tutoring, study skills assistance, academic counseling, and the Supplemental Instruction program. The Writing Center at the first floor of Magale Library, is a full-time student-centered facility designed to encourage peer interaction, to establish writing as a multi-disciplinary goal, and to support the idea that writing enhances learning. It offers students from all backgrounds and disciplines the opportunity to confer at any stage of the writing process with trained writing consultants.