Student commons opens Sept. 19

September 08, 2006, volume 37, no. 1
By Diane Luckow

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A grand opening on sept. 19 will introduce students to a one-stop, one-step academic support centre on the main floor of SFU Burnaby's Bennett library. The new student learning commons offers writing, learning and library research support to undergraduate and graduate students. Services include workshops, tutorials, peer counselling, one-on-one consultations and drop-ins as well as online resources.

While some of these services were previously available from SFU's health and counselling centre, the student learning commons offers an extensive workshop schedule, increased opportunities for individual appointments and expanded online resources. The office will be open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with appointments and drop-in consultations also available on evenings and weekends.

"New students shouldn't be expected to have all the skills they need to excel at university," says Elaine Fairey, director of the student learning commons. "They haven't been university students before," she notes. "There's lots to learn."

The commons is already up and running online. Judging from the response to the Way to an A university preparation workshops in late August, with more than 130 students signing up in less than a week, Fairey expects high demand for commons' services.

Learning services coordinator Donna McGee Thompson will offer study and learning skills that include note taking, effective study strategies and exam preparation.

Amanda Goldrick-Jones, writing services coordinator, will offer workshops and tutorials focused on all aspects of academic writing, such as planning a paper, correctly citing sources, improving organization and polishing grammar skills.

There will also be help in reading and writing academic English.

Fairey notes that the new centre is one of the support services for the new undergraduate curriculum, which places more emphasis on breadth of knowledge, quantitative reasoning and logic, and writing ability.

There is also a recently opened student learning commons at SFU Surrey, as well as programs and services planned for SFU Vancouver.

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