We prepare our graduates to live thoughtful lives of service and inquiry, to participate in an advanced democracy, to be effective nurses, educators, scholars, scientists, and business people. We want them to find balance and purpose in their lives, and we want them to share these values with the world around them. A substantial portion of this capacity to learn and lead for a lifetime is acquired from academic support services that build self-awareness, critical thinking skills, and the ability to communicate effectively through a variety of media.
Academic support services at Pacific Lutheran University are currently provided by group of student academic support professionals who reside in a single floor of Ramstad Hall and go by the name “Ramstad Commons.” Another cluster of services is provided in the Mortvedt Library by the Information Resources unit. The plan is to greatly enhance both by co-locating them within the Library. As the vocation and student success clusters of Ramstad Commons join their colleagues already in Mortvedt, and as the main computer lab joins with existing reference and IT help services in the library to form an information services and technology cluster, the “Mortvedt Commons” will emerge as a bold new academic support center.
The notion of a commons conjures both pastoral and urban images of a space that brings people and things together — the village green for common grazing, celebrations, and sharing of news; the urban plaza that draws together buildings, people of various trades and social status, and a variety of shared civic events and public rituals. In similar fashion Mortvedt Commons will bring students, faculty, and academic support services and resources together in exciting new ways. The chief benefits of these proximities will be
- Convenient referral among services
- Unplanned interactions of students, faculty, services, information, and technology
- Creation of a culture of innovation among the service providers, even across administrative lines, that encourages new thinking about service points and allocation of resources
To the extent we are successful in elaborating this concept, we will be successful in improving recruitment, retention, and delivering still more efficient and effective academic support services.