Newly-formed CASA combines writing, reading, learning centers

As the semester rapidly progresses, students in need of some extra academic support may benefit from utilizing the newly combined Center for Academic Success and Achievement, CASA. After two years of planning, the writing, reading, and learning center on the second floor of Ritter Library has been merged into one. 

Megan Garriga, director of CASA, said the discussion of making resources easy and available while expanding their presence to more students began in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We started identifying our main pain points, identifying areas where we really felt like we were not being successful,” Garriga said. “We also noticed that if we collaborate more, we can serve the students a lot more.” 

Once they merged, Garriga said that it helped them identify when a student needs help in another area. For example, if a student is already getting help in writing and the faculty realizes they also need help in reading, the faculty can more quickly get the student in contact with a reading specialist.  

“We regularly … introduce students to other staff … in the office,” Garriga said.

Members of CASA have been attempting to make student awareness higher. They attend First-Year Experience classes to inform freshmen about their services and where to find them.  

Claudine Grunenwald Kirschner, the director of first-year experience and sophomore experience, said some classes have recently visited the center and students were able to identify specific resources for their struggles.  

They are not only targeting first-year students with their presentations but also student athletes. They meet with each team and present their resources to them.  

As CASA becomes familiar among current and new students Kaleb Pierce, a senior computer science and psychology double major, said students should have patience with the CASA staff. 

“Many, if not most, are students … who have their own lives and struggles. So come in ready to be active and engaged in your learning,” Pierce said. 

CASA offers individual services and group services throughout the semester and provides online resources on their website. For individual services, students need to make an appointment 24 hours in advance on their website. Group services have drop-in hours that students can find the schedule in CASA’s calendar.  

They also create different educational events and boot camps that can help students learn a new skill or get help with a big project, like a thesis. And if the student is unable to attend an event or a boot camp, they can make an appointment with the presenter of that session.  

To learn more about CASA or to schedule an appointment go to www.bw.edu/academics/academic-success/.