The Center for Academic Success aims to to improve academic performance of students who need assistance with their education, said Ken Whiting, a CAS mentor and senior missionary. “The center is here to increase the academic performance of students no matter who and what you are,” Whiting said.
Created four years ago, Whiting said the services offered include proofreading class papers, a time management program, and early alerts where the instructor will send out a notice to CAS on how the student is doing.
“We’re just assisting them,” he added. “We focus on their academic performance and set up a program for them to reach their academic goals. All the senior missionaries in the center have degrees, and most of them even have a masters degree. We put all our effort together to help the students.”
Whiting shared that in the past, students would just come in to have their paper reviewed or as required by BYUH to sign an academic contract. The CAS then decided to teach a class, Student Development 101 (STDEV 101), which would increase student interaction. He explained, “We didn’t really know why, we just thought we should. We met with the academic curriculum counselors, and we came up with a solution that we should teach a class.”
The class was piloted last semester and prioritizes students who are under probation, academically challenged, or those who got accepted in the university but have special needs, said Whiting.
Austin Jaeger, a junior majoring in business finance from California, said CAS helps him in time management, which was his big struggle. He said, “Talking to the missionaries in the center and taking the Student Development 101 class helped me reevaluate my study skills a lot.”
When asked about the highlight of the center, Jaeger shared, “It is more personal. I found my motivation through Elder Whiting. The emphasis is more of the relationships I made there rather than the actual things they cover. That motivation is my driving factor that helped me academically.”
Beverly Heap, a senior missionary and mentor in CAS, said, “We try to bless the lives of students by being positive and sharing Christ’s love. We also love to give treats when they come.”
In addition to mentoring students, Heap said they also act as grandmas and grandpas to students. “It is great to get to know students and enjoy our association. Students are so appreciative when we help them, and we feel like we’re not just a source of help academically - we’re also able to connect with them personally.”
With tears in her eyes, she said, “Students from all over the world are here. We’re blessed to learn about the students who come in and develop lasting relationships with them. Students inspire me through their faith and testimonies and their examples.”
Kai Kubera, a business management freshman from Hawaii, said the center offers things students won’t learn outside of college. “The center is a tool for me to gain an edge academically. Missionaries in the center teach about time management, put the student’s priority in line with goals, and emphasize the importance of school and GPA. Not all students get the opportunity to learn what I’m learning in the center.”
Kubera said he didn’t sign up for the class at the beginning of the semester because he had no idea about it. He explained, “I just walked past the center, I went in, and Elder Whiting told me about it. Now, I’m even part of the student development class. The center is not just about the academically challenged students; it is open to all students who are interested.”
Whiting said everybody is welcome to come in the center. “You don’t need to have an appointment and students can just come in whenever they want.”
The CAS is located at the JFS Library and open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.