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Academic Support Center receives grant for Saturday seminars

by Louisville Seminary | Aug 31, 2006
The Academic Support Center (ASC ) at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has received a grant in the amount of $6,750 from the John N. Bergstrom Foundation at First Presbyterian Church in Neenah, Wisc., to provide enhanced academic support services for “non-traditional” students, beginning with the Fall 2006 semester.

Kathy Mapes, director of ASC and author of the grant proposal, said she submitted her project in order to better respond to a growing number of students who for myriad reasons were requiring more flexibility with course schedules and support.

“More and more students today are earning their master-level degrees while trying to work full time jobs, juggle child care, pastor congregations, opting for the half-time or part-time degree programs, and so many other reasons that make daytime classes challenging,” said Mapes. “By expanding our services in the Academic Support Center we could reach students who otherwise would not get the assistance they need.”

The timing of Mapes’ proposal fit well with the Seminary’s commitment to making more of its courses accessible in the same way. This fall, Louisville Seminary began offering some of its core courses during late afternoon and evening hours to non-traditional students and the full-time students who were seeking more flexibility. As a result of the Bergstrom grant support, ASC is opening its doors during the evening hours two days a week so that the growing number of evening students will be able to access services from writing papers to alternative learning styles.

ASC was established in the fall of 2000 with support from a grant from the Luce Foundation. For the past six years, the Center has assisted students, faculty, and staff with various aspects of academic writing, critical analysis, study skills, and reading. The Center also assists with professional papers, resumes, and reports. Throughout the semester, workshops are offered that focus on topics such as organization, documentation styles, plagiarism, senior Statements of Faith, and the Ordination Exams. Over the past four years, ASC has logged, on average, 300 student visits each year. The LPTS student body is roughly 200.

In addition to staffing ASC during evening hours, Mapes and her staff have designed a series of two-hour seminars on writing for theological education, called Right for the Seminary. The seminars will be held on Saturdays for a five-week period in Sept and Oct. ASC anticipated no more than fifteen students for the Saturday seminars; however, thirty-two have enrolled, which necessitated expanding the program to two times each Saturday.

“We believe the overwhelming response signals that there is a great need and desire among seminary students for support programs such as ASC, which still remains the only comprehensive support services of its kind on a seminary campus. We are so grateful to the Bergstrom Foundation for taking an interest in a project like ours. We are dedicated to being good stewards of their support,” said Mapes.

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ASC offers an online writing lab which can be found on the Seminary's website: Academic Support Center.
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