“It inspired me to achieve academic greatness.”
What do these words credit as the source of inspiration? A stirring lecture in class? A successful collaborative experience with peers? A vigorous nursing clinical? While some students may point to those experiences as inspiring academic greatness, freshman Brett Johnson (Canada) credits the one-on-one interaction he received in the Academic Advising Office.
Offering tutoring and writing support meetings with qualified faculty and graduate students, the Academic Advising Office is one of several free resources at Pensacola Christian College designed to help students succeed academically. “I received great help with English, as well as help with studying for history, and also practical advice to help me succeed in my academics,” Brett explained. “The staff and advisors were very cheerful and helpful. I always looked forward to visiting the Academic [Advising] Office because it inspired me to achieve academic greatness.”
Since its start in 2015, Dr. Rob Achuff has been overseeing the Academic Advising Office, where each resource is meant to enable students to have their best semester yet. “We help incoming freshmen with foundational academic skills such as time management, note-taking, and memorization; and we provide tutoring for general education courses such as Bible, English, and mathematics,” he said.
Andy Whiting, an advisor in the Academic Advising Office, has enjoyed seeing students cultivate their academic skills through their visits to the office. He said, “I have personally seen the growth that our students experience from the beginning of the semester to the end of the semester. The encouragement and guidance that the students receive from the Academic Advising Office helps to develop the greatest potential in each student.”
Last semester alone, the office had over nine hundred tutoring appointments. Though students receive tutoring in subjects like grammar and mathematics, many students use the office for help with their writing projects. Writing tutors help students improve their writing by providing guidance on thesis construction, organization, and documentation. Students who need help with their writing or their general education classes can sign up for appointments by calling, filling out a form on Eagle’s Nest (student intranet), or stopping by the office.
Last semester, Deborah Piola da Silva (Brazil), a first-year graduate student, determined she would use this resource specifically to get more help with grammar and her wording of sentences. Instead of setting up an appointment just once or twice, Deborah came weekly. “It was a blessing!” she said. “This experience helped me to better understand how to express myself in English.”
In addition to setting up appointments for tutoring at the Academic Advising Office, students have the opportunity to connect with faculty advisors and use qualified student-to-student tutors. This option is especially helpful for those students who have limited times available when the Academic Advising Office is open or who need tutoring in a specialized subject. “Tutoring someone helped me to organize what I know and to truly master what I’ve learned so far,” said Junya Minami (Sr., Japan), a music theory tutor. “Thinking [that] you know what you don’t actually fully know is the greatest obstacle for learning to take place.”
Another service PCC provides students is access to a faculty advisor. At the beginning of each semester, faculty advisors help students register for courses; throughout the semester, they are available to provide career advice and answer academic questions; and near the end of the semester, these same advisors help their students preregister for the next semester’s courses.
Shannon Connolly (Sr., Australia) is grateful for the help she has received and encourages other students, especially freshman, to meet with faculty advisors. “We have discussed classes, internships, graduation, registration, fears and hopes about getting through classes—even about the future,” she said. “See them; they are here to help. They encourage you and help you see where you’re at. They help you, in a sense, relax and help bring you to your goal of graduating.”
As with many of the academic resources on campus, it is up to students to make the most of the services. “There is a quote in one of the textbooks we used when I was taking Advanced Music Theory: ‘To learn, read. To know, write. To master, teach,’” Junya explained. “I strongly agree with it, and I am thankful that I have had opportunities to serve others through what I truly love and master what I consider my calling.”