Academic Resource Center

Whether you are a new or returning student, the Academic Resource Center (ARC) extends a warm welcome and encourages you to use its programs and services. The ARC offers a variety of opportunities and support services for students to reach their potential and achieve their goals. Programs and services are available to enhance learning, improve skills, and promote success in courses. In the center, students will find computers, study aids, study tables, comfortable spots for reading, and friendly people to offer personalized help. Support for USF distance education students is happily provided by telephone and e-mail, and some tutoring is provided on a number of electronic platforms. All services are provided free of charge.

Location

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) is located in L214,
2nd floor of the University Library.

Hours

Personal Assistance:

  • Monday-Friday 8 a.m to 5 p.m
  • Evening hours by appointment

Self Help Resources:

  • Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday 3 p.m to 10 p.m.

Mission Statement

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) provides students with academic support and promotes their scholastic growth. The center offers information, guidance, support, and services to assist students to successfully attain their educational goals. Aware of the inherent worth of all individuals, the center encourages students to recognize, develop, and strengthen their diverse talents, skills, and strengths.

ARC serves students who…

  • Desire tutoring
  • Seek new techniques for learning
  • Have questions about studying
  • Are preparing for exams
  • Seek study aids
  • Want good grades
  • Need new approaches to material and fresh study habits
  • Have academic and/or housing accommodation needs due to a disability

What Students Are Saying

  • “She did a really great job explaining the edits for my paper.”
  • “She was very good—kind and friendly.”
  • “Tim was very helpful and made recommendations to properly present my statistics report. He also explained the material in a way that was easy for me to understand.”
  • “Keep up the good work; the tutor really cares and helps.”
  • “I like how he showed me enough examples. I am a visual learner and needed that. Great, awesome tutor.”
  • “Excellent experience, as always!”
  • “Johnathan was exceptionally patient! Thank you!”
  • “Great help. Really knows math.”

Services

If you are in need of academic or housing accommodations due to a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) by calling 815-740-3204. You can also request an appointment by emailing Sarah Alag, the Assistant Director of ARC-Disability Student Services, at salag@stfrancis.edu. By making an appointment, you will be taking the first step in self-advocacy.

Common Accommodations and Services

  • Alternative texts
  • Extended time on tests
  • Use of recorder to record lectures
  • Testing in a reduced distraction environment
  • Preferential seating

Some Assistive Technology Available

  • Dragon Naturally Speaking
  • Joystick mouse
  • Trackball mouse
  • Wireless headphones
  • Zoomtext
  • Smartpen

Food Allergy Accommodations
The University of St. Francis and the Office of Disability Services recognize that some students may require assistance in regards to their dining options due to medical needs. Please contact the Office of Disability Services to make an appointment to discuss all reasonable and available options. Most medically necessary dietary needs can be addressed through USF dining services and we are prepared to work with students, one-on-one, when the need arises.

Online-only Students
For the most part, the policies and procedures described on this website apply to all students with disabilities enrolled at USF. We recognize that students taking online-only classes may have questions about how to access some of the services described, or as to what their responsibilities are in requesting accommodations and support. If you have such questions after reviewing the information already provided, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 815-740-3204.

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a program that offers regularly scheduled reviews, discussions, study strategies, and exam preparation for historically difficult courses. Each session is guided by an SI leader, a student who has been successful in the course, knows what the professor expects, and can help you succeed!

Typical Benefits of SI

  • Informal small group
  • Increased understanding of course material
  • Stronger and more effective study strategies
  • Higher grades, on average, than students who do not participate in SI
  • Higher graduation rates than non-participants

SI is provided for any student in an SI-designated class who wants to improve his or her understanding of course material and improve their grade! Details are announced in class during the first week and are always available outside the ARC (L214) and on the Portal.

The Academic Resource Center provides tutoring to all its students free of charge. There is no limit to the number of visits a student is allowed per semester, but tutoring sessions are generally limited to an hour to maximize the efforts of both tutor and student.  Some tutoring is staffed with regular hours in Centers while other subjects are by appointment.  See the Portal for a complete and up to date schedule for all tutors, as well as the specific locations of the different tutors. 

Distance students can access our tutors for limited subjects online.  Directions for accessing the tutors can generally be found on your course syllabi or Canvas page.  If you have any questions about tutoring, please contact Joanna Kourtidis at jkourtidis@stfrancis.edu

Remember, all students are encouraged to utilize the resources at all points of their academic career to maximize their success in their courses. Tutoring can be utilized when an entire course is difficult, just a concept is fuzzy, or when students want feedback on their progress and work before moving forward with a project or assignment. Students seeking help with writing can come at all stages of the writing process—a complete draft is not necessary!

Because our center is focused on promoting independent learners, the tutors in the Academic Resource Center assist students in both the content of their courses and in their study habits.  All the tutors on staff are CRLA trained peer tutors.  The center itself is CRLA certified to grant tutors Level 1 (Tutor), Level 2 (Advanced Tutor), and Level 3 (Master Tutor) certifications.  Tutors who have achieved Level 3 have gone through 30 hours of training and completed 150 clock hours of tutoring. You can review the credentials of our tutors on the “Our Staff” page of our website.

Our Staff

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Sarah Alag
Assistant Director of ARC—Disability Student Services

Sarah has worked in higher education for over 14 years and is licensed in the state of Illinois as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.  Sarah oversees the Office of Disaiblity Services and works with the campus community to ensure access needs are met in a variety of environments.

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Jeff Chiapello
Director
Jeff serves as the Director of Academic Advising and Academic Resource Center.  He’s been with USF since 2005 in a variety of roles.  In addition, he serves as an Assistant Coach for the Cross Country and Track programs and teaches the Foundations I course for Freshman students.

USF logotype

Joanna Kourtidis
Assistant Director of ARC
Joanna has been at USF since 2007 and has worked in the ARC since 2011.  Joanna oversees and coordinates the tutors and SI Leaders, and meets with students to maximize their study habits and strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tutoring is completely free. You can come as many times as you’d like during the semester for as many different subjects as you’d like.

Some subjects are by appointment, and some are walk-in. To get tutoring for a walk-in subject, like writing, math, and science, you look at the schedules (here) and just “walk in” when you are free.  Keep in mind that for walk-ins, it is a first-come, first served approach so manage your time effectively.  Science and math can tutor multiple students at once often, so don’t assume that they are busy if you see someone.  Always ask.  To make an appointment with any of our other tutors, just send them a text or email asking for an appointment.  Their contact information is located here. When you text or email, make sure to include:

      • Your name
      • The class you want tutoring for
      • What kind of topic you want tutoring for
      • How long you’d like to meet (30 minutes or an hour?)
      • All of the times you have that they could pick from

The first thing you’ll do during a tutoring session is to log in—this is for our center records. The tutor will then ask you what you want to work on for the session and together you’ll set some goals, create a short agenda and get to work. Tutoring is a collaborative service, so you should expect to really participate.  You might even talk more than the tutor—that’s a good thing! You might look at books, search things online, or go over your notes.  What you do in a session will be determined by you and the tutor.  If you want something explained differently or with different material, just ask. At the end of the tutoring session, you’ll be asked to fill out an evaluation and to take a short quiz.  This helps us assess how we’re doing.

The ARC uses login information in order to evaluate how well we are meeting student support needs on campus. If you are new to the ARC, you’ll need to create a login by entering your 800 number and inputting your name. After this first visit, you’ll just type in your 800 number to login, select the center you’re coming to and the course you are working on.  Then, on your way out, you’ll enter your 800 number again and select the tutor you worked with. 

Most of the tutoring is held in the ARC (L-214), but Science tutoring is located in B111, Nursing tutoring in GAH310, and Computer Science tutoring in A117.

Bring your notes, your textbook, your login information for any online reading/notes, and some questions you have for the tutor. The more organized you are before you come to the session, the more productive it can be.  Because every student is different, the tutor cannot know what you might need help with if you say something as broad as “Chapter 2”.  Instead, mark things that you want to make sure you understand correctly, or things you don’t understand at all.

Tutoring is for all students. We have students visit the center who want to make sure they get the A, students who want to move up a grade, students who need to move up  a few grades, students who don’t understand a small portion, and students who are rusty on some things since it has been a while since they understood.  No matter who you are, you can benefit from tutoring.  In fact, many of our tutors use each other for their other courses!

A list of our current tutors and their information can be found here, but there are some truths about our tutors, regardless of who they are. All of our tutors are current students here at USF, and they’ve all been recommended by faculty for that subject area. Each tutor goes through training as outlined by the College Reading and Learning Association and have to participate in 10 hours of training each year.

Because they are peer tutors, it’s possible that your question is complicated enough that a professor should be the one to answer it. Don’t get discouraged!  The tutor will always try to help you understand the material, but they also don’t want to give misinformation.

The tutors cannot be expected to carry around all the books and notes for all the classes they’ve taken and can tutor—that would be one big backpack! Sometimes, too, information changes, and it’s important that you and the tutor have what is being currently covered by your professor as a resource. While tutors know the content well enough to help with material, they are not experts like your professors and sometimes need to verify that they are remembering things correctly.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Jeff Chiapello at jchiapello@stfrancis.edu or 815-740-3402

Your Privacy & Information

We take your privacy very seriously and so should you. By using this website, you are agreeing to our university privacy policies.  So have a look to see what we’re doing with your personal information and how we’re keeping it secure. Read our privacy policy here.