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Center for Academic Achievement


Graduation about Clarion

The Mission of the Center for Academic Achievement is to support the retention and graduation of students enrolled at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and its pre-college programs, through a variety of support services that promote academic success, enhance personal development, and provide an equitable educational experience leading to graduation.

Departments within the Center for Academic Achievement include Academic Enrichment, Minority Student Services, Transitions Services, University Advising, and The Writing Center.


Department for Academic Enrichment

The university is committed to the academic growth and development of all students. In order to ensure these goals are met, the university established the Department for Academic Enrichment which incorporates student and faculty development, academic advisement, and academic support for students. There are six program units within the Department for Academic Enrichment:



Center for Academic Enrichment

118 Ralston Hall

The Center for Academic Enrichment provides services to students who may encounter some form of difficulty with their courses and/or need instruction in basic skills development. The Center for Academic Enrichment has two components, the Tutoring Center and the Learning Skills Lab. The two components offer students a comprehensive approach to the development of skills necessary at the collegiate level to ensure academic success. All services are free of charge. Services are available by either appointment and/or by walk-in.

Content tutoring is offered for most lower-level subject areas providing students with the understanding of basic concepts, ideas, and mechanical processes. Tutoring sessions give students the opportunity to secure in-depth clarification and to identify and apply specific reading and study skills required in their academic programs. Most tutoring sessions are one-to-one or small group instruction.

Learning skills instruction provides students with instruction in basic skill development to become independent learners. The Learning Skills Lab staff instructs students in practical study techniques. Students' reading and study skills are diagnosed to identify individual strengths and weaknesses. Once skill areas are diagnosed, a planned program of instruction is implemented using a variety of instructional aids as well as one-to-one instruction. Students can receive academic assistance in the following areas: time management, note taking, reading comprehension, test taking, vocabulary development, critical thinking skills, and library research. 


Disability Support Services

Jennifer May, M.S., director
102 Ralston Hall

The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) functions as the university's primary vehicle for assisting students with documented disabilities. Students must initiate the process of receiving accommodations by contacting the coordinator of Disability Support Services, located in 102 Ralston Hall to discuss their need for disability related services. Also, as part of the university's registration process, students are provided with a confidential questionnaire that enables them to notify the university of possible accommodations and services that are related to a disabling condition. In addition, students must contact the Office of DSS to submit proper documentation and discuss requested accommodations. Students should contact the DSS office far enough in advance to allow sufficient time to coordinate accommodations.

Information on services for students with disabilities may be obtained by contacting the coordinator of Disability Support Services, 102 Ralston Hall, 814-393-2095. Additional information can also be found in the section, "Nondiscrimination on Basis of Disability" on page 30 of this catalog.

Inquiries regarding services and facilities accessibility may also be obtained by contacting the Assistant to the President for Social Equity, 207 Carrier Hall, 814-393-2109. 


Educational Talent Search Program

Rhonda J. McMillen-Toth, M.S., director
219 Ralston Hall

As part of Clarion University's mission to serve community residents, Educational Talent Search (ETS) serves 900 participants annually in Clarion, Jefferson, and Venango counties. Talent Search assists people age 11-27 to complete secondary education programs and enroll or re-enroll in post-secondary education.

ETS provides such services as study skill instruction, campus visits, entrance exam preparation, post-secondary and career planning, financial aid information, cultural enrichment programs, and leadership training. Participants are selected based upon eligibility criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education, the program's funding agent.


Student Support Services

The TRIO Student Support Services Program is available to students with disabilities who desire additional help in the form of academic advising, freshman seminars, informational workshops, and assistance with study skills. Students accepted into the program must meet eligibility requirements established by the institution and the U.S. Department of Education. Students interested in obtaining information about the program should contact the director, Student Support Services Program, 104 Ralston Hall, 814-393-2347.


Golden Eagle Pre-College Program

Regina Jack, coordinator
132 Ralston Hall

The Golden Eagle Pre-College Program serves students who have potential for college success, but who would benefit from a learning experience before enrollment in the Fall Semester. The primary objective of the program is to provide students the opportunity to use learning, living, and social skills developed through interactive and cooperative experiences, which ease the transition from high school to college.

The program is three weeks in length and is held in late summer. Students earn three credits of college-level coursework which counts toward the university's general education requirements. Students live together in a college residence hall, unless they live within commuting distance.

Enrollment in the program is a requirement for students who are referred to the program.

Specific objectives include:

  1. Students will develop learning skills and experience positive interpersonal relationships with faculty, staff, and other students through a welcoming academic and social environment.

  2. Students will receive academic and personal support to enhance development of academic and social independence.

  3. Students will experience college credit coursework that provides an accurate and effective transition from high school to collegiate academics.

  4. Students will gain exposure to academic services, such as free tutoring, study skills assistance, and more, that are available during the academic year.

  5. Students will earn priority course registration for their first Fall Semester classes.


TRIO Student Support Services Program

Shelly Silvis, M.Ed., director
104 Ralston Hall

Students admitted to the TRIO Student Support Services Program are provided with developmental services which may include learning skills assistance, academic advising, and career and financial aid counseling. During the academic year, workshops and on-going services which focus on academic survival and learning-to-learn activities are offered. A reserved section of AE 100: Reading/Study Skills, is also offered to program students. Students accepted into the program must meet eligibility requirements established by the institution and the U.S. Department of Education.


TRIO Upward Bound Program

Michele M. Lagnese, M.A., project director
107 Ralston Hall

As part of the university's commitment to serving the community, the TRIO Upward Bound Program is designed to enhance the overall potential for college success in  selected high school students from Clarion, Jefferson, Mercer and Venango counties.

The program operates in two segments-the academic year component and the residential summer academy. Services such as tutoring, career exploration, and academic counseling are provided year-round. The six-week summer academy offers participants the opportunity to experience  life on campus at Clarion University while receiving academic instruction, experiencing a variety of cultural and social activities, and participating in educational travel. Participants are chosen based on eligibility criteria established by the program in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education.


Minority Student Services

Rogers Laugand, Director
277 James Gemmell Student Complex

The Office of Minority Student Services provides programs and opportunities for members of underrepresented groups, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans, to share their cultures and experiences with each other and with members of other groups. The office supports a number of initiatives and groups, including: Black Student Union, Leadership Institute, Academic Excellence Program, UMOJA publication, Eyes on the Prize, Mentoring Program, Annual Minority Student Recognition Dinner, Minority Student Services Leadership Council, Community Outreach Programs, Men of Color Think Tank, Asian Students International Association, Women United and Project SOAR (a retention program for state system partnership programs).


Transitions Services

Erin Schuetz, Coordinator
273 Gemmell

The Transitions program is a collaborative effort of the divisions of Academic Affairs and Student and University Affairs. It builds a foundation for first-year students through activities supporting retention initiatives. First-year programs include orientation and Discovery Weekend. The Transitions staff is also involved in planning Activities Day, Around Clarion in 80 Days and Family Day events.


University Advising Services

Academic Advising
144B Ralston

University Advising Services Center serves as the primary source for all undecided and liberal studies academic advising. The office provides drop-in academic advising to all university students. Advising Services also serves as a resource for all faculty for professional development and answers to advising questions.

To assist students in their academic growth and development; promote advisor-advisee relationships characterized by trust, mutual respect, and openness; and establish a climate of purposeful learning which maximizes student growth and minimizes student withdrawal.


Advisor/Advisee Roles and Responsibilities

As an advisee you should:

  1. keep in touch with advisor

  2. make and keep appointments; email or call if changing an appointment

  3. come with specific questions in mind

  4. ask about other sources of information

  5. be open concerning academic work, study habits, academic progress, etc.

  6. build a class schedule which meets necessary academic requirements and is free of time conflicts

  7. make decisions concerning careers, choice of majors, and selection of courses


Your advisor should:

  1. post office hours

  2. keep appointments or call if it is necessary to change or cancel an appointment

  3. provide accurate and specific information

  4. suggest other sources of information

  5. listen and help solve problems

  6. check schedule for appropriate selection of courses

  7. suggest options concerning careers, choice of majors, and selection of courses


The Writing Center

Christopher McCarrick, D.A., Director
210C Davis Hall or

The Writing Center supports all students in their efforts to become better writers and provides assistance with writing assignments in all subject areas.

The Writing Center is not a proofreading or editing service. It is a support service for any writer who values feedback as part of the learning/writing process.

Consultants at The Writing Center assist students at whatever stage of writing they need assistance. Writing consultants aim to motivate rather than control a writer by asking questions, offering feedback, and encouraging writers to talk through the thinking and planning process.

Writing consultants assist writers at the level of the writer's ability; therefore, written work reflects each writer's ability as well as personal style. In this way, the center assures faculty that writing turned in for evaluation is the student's work, and not that of a writing consultant.

Writing consultants are graduate and undergraduate students who undergo a careful screening process and participate in weekly training sessions. Writing consultants who meet training and tutoring hour requirements receive College Reading and Learning Tutor Certification.