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Students gain academic advantage with EDGE

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You may have noticed the many EDGE posters and EDGE-related activities across campus this fall, and wondered what it all means. EDGE is a newly structured study program to help students “gain an academic edge” in their studies. Created and coordinated by Jenny Pippen, North Central’s assistant director of academic support services, and Sarah Conrad, NCAA intern assistant to the athletic director for student-athlete support services, EDGE provides areas that are conducive to studying, structured study groups, as well as trained student monitors, tutors and study group leaders to assist students with their academics. One of the study-specific areas is Kaufman Dining Hall. After dinner has been served Sundays through Thursdays, the lower level of the dining hall is set up as a quiet study area, similar to the library, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. The location is especially convenient for first-year students, says Pippen. “We’ve found they need a quiet place, close to where they live, and free of distractions. We provide 15 to 20 trained monitors each evening who ensure the space is quiet and handle any problems. Their efforts are really making the program successful this year.” Pippen has also trained upper-class students to tutor students in more difficult subjects. Nine to 10 tutors are available each evening to meet with students in the upstairs level in Kaufman and assist them in more challenging courses, like math, the sciences and Latin. There are also structured study groups that meet across campus. They’re organized by course, such as Biology 100 and Math 151. Students can just show up and the tutors are trained to guide the students so they learn from each other instead of solely from the tutors. Pippen applied for and received a National College Learning Center Association Brenda Pfaehler Professional Development Grant to develop EDGE. In addition, Pippen is working to receive certification for the program with the College Reading & Learning Association. When the College receives its certification, student tutors will be trained and certified as professional tutors, increasing their marketability when they graduate.