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Monmouth College ‘ACE’ a win for student success

Barry McNamara
08/15/2019
Pictured are some of the Monmouth College staff members who are now working in the Academic and Career Excellence space in Hewes Library. From left are Jill Munson, Jenny Sanberg, Marnie Dugan, Lisa Eckley, Kristi Hippen and Robert Crawley.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – ACE is the space – the new space – for several key student services at Monmouth College.

The acronym for Academic and Career Excellence, ACE is a space created over the summer in the College’s Hewes Library. ACE is the new home for: the Office of Student Success & Accessibility Services (formerly the Teaching and Learning Center); the Office of the Registrar; the Wackerle Center for Career, Leadership & Fellowships; and the Office of Global Engagement.

“ACE brings together offices key to our students’ success and situates them in the long-standing site of such successes – the library,” said Dean Mark Willhardt. “It’s a space where students can get their questions answered, get help with their classes, review their academic requirements and degree progress, talk about internships and career planning, and plan their off-campus study.”

To make room for ACE, the Office of Information Systems was moved to its new home on the lower level of the library.

The driving force behind the creation of ACE was aiding student success.

“I am excited by this initiative, which research shows will support student engagement and retention,” said Dean of Students Laura Hutchinson. “The collaboration of the offices in ACE will provide here-and-now assistance to students without them having to go to multiple offices for their needs. Any time we can reduce barriers to student services and learning, the students win. I appreciate the hard work of our Hewes Library colleagues, who helped make the space even more welcoming to students.”

Hewes Library Director Sarah Henderson said the new space will help students in a variety of ways, including simply bringing them more often into the library.

“Hewes Library is looking forward to collaborating with the ACE on programming for our students, as well as providing support and access to resources,” she said.

“The changes in student services embodied by ACE are echoed and amplified by the great, student-friendly changes to the Hewes Library itself,” said Willhardt. “Working with our partners in Hewes Library, we’re excited about all the ways we can continue to serve students’ needs, while discovering the new ways we can help them have their best Monmouth experience.”

Registrar Kristi Hippen likened ACE to the “interdisciplinary approach” embodied in Monmouth’s curriculum and said the transition to the new space is going well.

“The energy in ACE is already palpable,” she said. “Having the offices in one location will enhance the student experience and allow us to better serve students as they realize their academic and professional goals.”

Marnie Dugan, director of the Wackerle Center for Career, Leadership & Fellowships, cited a “holistic advising experience” as a major benefit of ACE.

“We believe that working in this collaborative space allows for a more holistic advising experience for our students and assists them in connecting their academic and career goals in order to apply their interests, talents and liberal arts education toward a rewarding future,” said Dugan.

As part of the new development, the College has welcomed its first director of student success and accessibility services. Robert Crawley of Monmouth is filling the position in an interim role.

Contributions to making the new space possible came from many sectors of the campus community, including those who were literally involved in the heavy lifting.

“Many faculty and staff came together to make these improvements possible, including the physical plant folks who built and moved and shifted all the things that needed to be built, moved and shifted,” said Willhardt. “All of us are excited about the new venture and the new opportunities that ACE will open to our students.”