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Ithaca’s Hidden Gem: Academic Enrichment Services

Many students on-campus are relatively unaware of the endlessly awesome things Ithaca College’s Academic Enrichment Services has to offer. Luckily, this collegiate is here to tell you all about it! Academic Enrichment Services, or AES, is a student resource center that includes tutoring programs for both individuals and groups, learning and study skills ideas, a developmental writing program for writing basics, and much more. The best part about everything AES has to offer is that it’s all free!
AES offers tutoring for most entry level courses in business, communication, computer science, humanities and social sciences, mathematics, speech pathology and language, natural sciences, and modern language classes. Students may be matched with a tutor on an individual basis, or join AES’s new group tutoring program, Peer Learning undergraduate Groups (PLuGs). PLuGs is the latest addition to AES as of Fall 2011, and is an exciting new tutoring program based in “collaborative peer-to-peer learning” says Mel Jensen, the Coordinator of Tutoring Services. “The idea is that each student has strengths and weaknesses and that IC students can benefit from helping each other. Students who understand one concept in class might not understand a second concept.” For a more traditional one-to-one tutoring experience, students can be matched with one of the more than 125 tutors working at AES this fall in all subject areas. Thanks to the new PLuG program as well as traditional tutoring services, AES has something for everyone seeking academic assistance.
The developmental writing program is designed to help students build a foundation of sold writing skills. This program varies from the IC Writing Center in that rather than offering proofreading and editing assistance, the developmental writing program seeks to help students understand the basic skills of college level writing. Possible topics of interest include everything from grammar and mechanics to techniques for planning writing projects. A professional developmental writing consultant is on-staff and available by appointment for this program.
Another unique AES program is the Emerging Scholars Program (ESP). Though this program is open to all students, it focuses on students within the ALANA community by partnering with the IC African-Latino Society. Student leaders from this society serve as Academic and Developmental Coaches to students in ESP, encouraging them to excel academically and professionally via tutoring services, study abroad and international experiences, undergraduate research, and internship experiences.
So now that you know all this, what’s the best part of AES? Jensen has no problem answering that question. “My best days are when the AES office is humming with six or seven tutoring sessions at once. You can feel the energy and the give and take of learning.” AES gives students the tools to become academically empowered and independent learners. Through a strong infrastructure of student support, both from AES staff and peer tutors or coaches, AES provides an environment where students can come to refine their learning skills, or at least figure out how to solve those tricky calculus problems. As Jensen says, each moment of student comprehension is magical: “When that understanding happens, it is a joyous thing to behold.” And that’s what AES is all about—making academic magic for the students of IC.
AES is located in Towers Concourse 110, near Sub Connection. Go check it out, they have candy!
Students interested in seeking tutoring or developmental writing services can follow this link: http://www.ithaca.edu/aes/request/.



Tessa Crisman is a sophomore (class of 2014) at Ithaca College, where she is studying as a sociology major with Spanish, environmental studies, and Latin American studies minors. Tessa is a Spanish and Arabic tutor for Ithaca College's Academic Enrichment Services, as well as a resident assistant for Residential Life. She is also an active member of IC Intercambios, which allows her to visit local farms to teach English to migrant workers, and of the Committee for Inclusive Education, a group promoting ethnic studies programs at Ithaca College and beyond. When she's not writing papers or handing out noise violations, Tessa enjoys knitting socks, going to the farmer's market, and dancing like there's no tomorrow. She plans to pursue a career in sustainable agriculture and food justice advocacy.
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