Posted by Thaddeus Niles
Skidmore students are an impressive group by any measure. Take a walk through campus and you can hear singers and musicians, delight in the graceful products of artists and dancers, and feel the weight of a spirited academic argument as it spills out of a classroom door. The diversity of our student body is an incredible asset that shapes the Skidmore experience. But it's also safe to say that Skidmore students share something less desirable: a packed schedule where time is stretched paper-thin.
With commitments pulling students in every direction this spring, it might be a good time to get reacquainted with a special group of people who work tirelessly to assist students in becoming as productive and efficient as possible. Every day on the bottom floor of the Starbuck Center, Student Academic Services (SAS) is faithfully supporting students as they reach for their full potential.
I recently visited the office to discuss their mission, range of services, and the philosophy that informs their work. I learned that, in order to help students achieve the goals they set for themselves, SAS offers everything from writing support to helpful hints for communicating with busy professors. Together with the Writing Center in the Scribner Library, Skidmore can boast a powerful duo of academic services for students.
Importantly, SAS does not put a band-aid on academic concerns and send a student out the door. Instead, they employ a "coaching" model that focuses on students building a set of skills that enables them to reflect on what is going well and what is problematic, respond, and monitor that facet of their academic life in the future. Students don't need to conquer a problem alone, but they do remain central to the resolution of their own concerns. Think of it this way: Would you rather someone replace your flat bicycle tire or show you how to find the leak, patch it, and diagnose future problems before they leave you stranded outside of Putnam Market? Freshman and sophomore students should be especially attentive to the advantages of this coaching model, because a few visits early in their Skidmore career could pay huge dividends when they are better able to manage their academic lives as seniors.
As part of a call to strengthen the campus community, SAS sponsors or publicizes numerous study groups, workshops and speakers throughout the academic year. My favorite way to stay informed is to "Like" them on Facebook and check their page regularly for updates. And don't forget to check out their official Skidmore homepage to learn more about their full range of services.
Any student who is serious about their academic performance should pop in and say hello to the friendly folks at SAS. Think of it as an investment of time-like the famous saying goes, "Give me six hours to cut down a tree, and I'll spend four of them sharpening my ax."