Originally designed to aid students who were on academic probation, the newly renamed Center for Academic Success now works to encourage any students with academic problems. Elder Randy Bott and his wife, Sister Vickie Bott, were called to an 18-month service mission to organize the center. The senior missionary couple said they want to help those who struggle with family problems and culture shock as well as academic issues.
Elder Bott said, “The school told us to figure out what needs to be done and establish the program and get her going.” They work with the faculty to make sure students are receiving the aid they need. They are working on providing tutors for all general classes.
Sister Blanch Linton is working alongside the Botts to establish the center and help students overcome personal struggles, noting they are often the causes of bad grades and not “a lack of intelligence.”
Linton said she has also seen a correlation between a student’s academic and spiritual life. “If a student is off track spiritually, they get really lax in saying their prayers and reading their scriptures. They may have other problems that pull them away from that total commitment that is expected of students here. Then they suffer academically as well,” Linton said. “It’s been so amazing to me to see how the two really go hand in hand. . . . Our life is out of balance if our spiritual life is off track.”
One of the unique features of the center is the early alert program. Sister Marsha Addams, one of the missionaries who works at the center, said, “We try to encourage the faculty to pick up right away if the student is not attending, not turning in assignments and appears not to understand concepts. The professors have a little place on PeopleSoft where they can send us the early alert. When it comes to us, it tells us the student, the class, and the problem so we’re able to pick that up and get in touch with the student.”
Elder Bott served as a mission president in the Fresno California Mission at age 43, taught religion at BYU in Provo for 20 years and was the top-ranked U.S. professor on Ratemyprofessors.com in 2008. Sister Linton and her husband are the creators of schoolimprovement.com, which creates professional learning resources to help teachers and administrators to be more effective.
Though targeting students who are struggling, the Center for Academic Success is open to aid all students who would like academic support. Students can find the center in Library Room 124.