2020-21 Annual Report

Mission Statement

Through partnership with the Purdue community, the Helen Bass Williams Academic Success Center (ASC) provides undergraduate students with both credit and noncredit opportunities to develop students’ transferable academic skills, enhance learning, increase retention, and improve overall student success at multiple stages of their academic journey.

Vision Statement

The ASC aspires to provide all undergraduate students with services and opportunities to define and develop strategies to reach their full potential. Driven by a focus on students, the ASC partners with the campus community to facilitate a culture of academic confidence, tenacity, and, ultimately, success.

Program Elements

The Helen Bass Williams Academic Success Center provides free services that support students’ learning with a focus on the process strategies and skills that support the content expertise provided in the classroom.

  • Academic Consultations are individual meetings that provide students with tailored support on study strategies, time management, test-taking strategies, and other academic success topics. These 1-on-1 meetings are with a staff member and require an appointment. Participating students may voluntarily seek support or may be required by an academic program or campus office to meet with an academic consultant.
  • Peer Success Coaching program (PSC) offers students additional support, campus resources and connections, and accountability as they work toward academic, social, and/or personal goals. Trained peer leaders work 1-on-1 with students to develop strategies, skills, and solutions as they aim for their definition of success.
  • Supplemental Instruction program (SI) provides students with interactive, peer-led study sessions for traditionally challenging courses. The trained SI leader facilitates group activities that engage students in critically thinking about the course material, applying the concepts, and learning transferable study skills. In fall and spring semesters, SI is offered in 30+ courses with 45+ SI leaders. In summer semesters, SI is offered online for a limited number of courses.
  • Workshops provide an interactive environment for small to large groups of students to identify and practice strategies for effective studying and learning, including time management, overcoming procrastination, and effective studying. In addition to our open series of workshops, student organizations or classes can request a workshop for their group.
  • Online Resources are available for students and the campus community through the ASC website, which include success strategy handouts, a GPA calculator, and a searchable database of course-specific help rooms and tutoring programs offered across campus.

Due to COVID-19 and offering adjustments, the following two ASC services, the Study Skills course and Test Drive event, were not held during the 2020-2021 academic year.

  • Study Skills Course: (GS 29001) is a one-credit hour, first 8 weeks course that focuses on discussing and applying effective academic strategies including goal setting, time management, and study skills.
  • Test Drive is a large-scale workshop that offers students in select high-enrollment, first-year chemistry, math, and biology courses the opportunity to take a mock exam in the Elliott Hall of Music environment. The program was started in 2017 to help address a common concern brought up by first-year students –they felt unprepared for their first round of exams due to how intimidating Elliott Hall of Music is asan exam setting.


The ASC has several categories of outcomes. While this report will focus on our program outcomes, the ASC student employment outcomes and competencies and the ASC student-facing learning outcomes are available in Appendices A and B.

As a result of participating in programs and services offered by the ASC, students will:

  • Achieve better course outcome (grade) than comparable peers who did not participate
  • Be retained at a higher rate than peers who did not participate
  • Complete more credit hours per semester than peers who did not participate
  • Earn a higher GPA (term and cumulative) than peers who did not participate
  • Maintain or return to good academic standing status (term and cumulative GPA at or above 2.0) at a higher rate compared to the overall university rate

Assessment Plans

The Academic Success Center assesses the outcomes of our programs and services on an ongoing basis. In addition to the current assessment plans, the ASC staff aspire to deepen the understanding of the influence our programs and services have on students, student leaders, and campus and to make scholarly contributions to the field of learning and academic support. Aspirational assessment and study ideas are available in Appendix C.

Semester Assessment

  • Feedback survey to SI participants about session experience
  • Feedback survey to PSC participants about coaching experience
  • Feedback survey to participants post-workshop (after each session)
  • GS 29001 course assignments (individual student assessment)
  • Course evaluation to GS 29001 students
  • BoilerConnect Case Referral metrics
  • (New) ASC Space utilization
  • (New) Pre- and Post- survey for Accountability Group participants
  • (Need) Academic Consultation evaluation/feedback
  • Standard GPA, standing, course grade (where relevant), retention, etc. reporting for SI, PSC, consultations, and accountability groups

Annual Assessment

  • Student leader performance evaluations on competencies
  • (New) Student leader feedback on supervising staff performance
  • (New) Course sequencing ANCOVA for specific SI courses
  • (Aspirational) Intersectional reporting of current data and metrics: Are we reducing, maintaining, or exacerbating a gap in equity?

Rotational Assessment and Studies

  • Impact of Attending SI Accounting for Self-Selection Bias (study using propensity score matching to evaluate participant and non-participant course outcomes)
  • Qualitative study on experience of serving as PSC related to development/competencies (proposed, in progress)
  • Impact of Academic Consultations (explore outcomes of referral cases comparing students who meet with a consultant to students who do not meet with a consultant; understand student experience of meeting with an academic consultant; what are the values and influences of academic consultations from their perceptive, beyond university metrics?) (proposed)

Notable Changes

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our general offerings adapted in the following ways:
    • Academic consultations, PSC coaching meetings, and student leader supervision meetings were offered both in-person and virtually, at the student’s choice.
    • Student leader trainings and ASC Student Leader Summit were held virtually utilizing WebEx, Zoom, GoBoard.com, and remote connection options.
    • A course was created in the Learning Management System (LMS) that automatically enrolled all students in an SI-linked course to aid with communication about session and office hour logistics, including links to WebEx Training.
    • Workshops were offered virtually as a series and by request.
    • The ASC maintained the website page to help students navigate the on-going shifts to campus academic support offerings. The “Available Academic Support Resources” page was also connected to other university webpages including Learning Remotely and COVID-19 FAQs.
  • Supplemental Instruction: SI sessions evolved throughout the academic year.
    • In fall 2020, all SI sessions were held virtually through WebEx.
    • In October 2020, we piloted in-person SI sessions following the classroom and lab standard operating procedures. The pilot included two sessions for each of the following courses: BIOL 203, CHM 111, CHM 115, MA 16010, and PHYS 172. Students and leaders wore masks and face shields when six feet of social distance could not be maintained. Attendance was limited to the lowered room capacity, and students had to register ahead of the session. In addition to the facilitating leader, sessions were staffed with a professional staff member to help with session check-in, provide PPE and sanitized supplies, and monitor Protect Purdue guidelines. The in-person pilot received positive feedback from students and SI leaders as well as provided areas to improve for in-person sessions for the spring.
    • In spring 2021, all SI-linked courses had at least one leader offering virtual sessions. We switched to the Zoom platform based off of student and student leader feedback from the fall.
    • Eleven courses in spring 2021 offered in-person SI sessions (BIOL 111, BIOL 204, CHM 112, CHM 116, CS 159, CS 180, MA 16020, MA 162, MA 261, PHYS 172, and PHYS 220). In addition to the virtual ASC Student Leader Summit training sessions, in-person leaders had an additional training on facilitating in-person sessions within Protect Purdue guidelines. Session registration and check-in moved from Qualtrics to BoilerConnect. Face masks and face shields were still required of all participants. Assistant leaders were utilized to support the check-in process and sanitation of supplies.
  • Partnerships:
    • Learning Online 101: The Innovative Learning team was charged with creating self-paced, online modules to help students strengthen their approaches to learning in online and hybrid classroom contexts. The ASC served as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and developed module content related to time management, class engagement, note-taking, and study strategies. All Purdue undergraduate students were automatically enrolled in the modules through Brightspace; graduate students, faculty, and staff could request access as well. This effort will continue and broaden to a variety of learning environments.
    • Academic Probation Support: In fall 2020, the ASC in addition to other partners in Teaching and Learning and the Office of the Dean of Students began a new outreach effort to students who were on academic probation or who would have been placed on academic probation had the spring 2020 policies been temporarily modified due to the pandemic. Each week, students received a message about a success tip based on research and quotes from students who have previously been on academic probation and returned to good standing. This effort was continued into spring 2021 with two messaging groups – students on probation for the first time (never received messaging) and students repeating probation (have received first set of messages). Efforts to assess the outreach and increase quotes/messages are part of the 2021-2022 plan.
  • Staffing: The pandemic created new modes of work and hiring challenges.
    • After shifting to remote work in March 2020, the ASC team returned to working in-person, on campus in August 2020. Staff who shared offices worked a hybrid schedule, rotating who was in the office. Graduate assistants also shifted hours to a hybrid approach.
    • Due to a hiring freeze, we started the academic year with a vacancy. One of our assistant directors left in November, creating two vacancies. With permission to hire during the freeze, the ASC was able to search and hire two new program coordinators (similar position, new title) to begin in June 2021.
    • We were not able to employ staff or student leaders who were physically located and working from outside of the United States. This impacted many of our international student leaders, and our plan to support the online cohort through intentional hiring based on time zones.

Our Data

For a full picture of our data from the 2020-21 academic year, please view or download our Full Annual Report by clicking the button below.

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