Academic Resource Commons FAQ for students

In Fall 2016, the Academic Resource Commons opened in Ladd Library. See below for answers to a few of the questions that we’ve received about the new space. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us at AcademicResourceCommons@bates.edu.


What happened in Ladd Library?

Part of the first floor of Ladd Library (the area to the left of the main entrance, by the red brick wall) has become the dedicated space for the Academic Resource Commons. This space remains open to all Bates students, but it’s now prioritized for learning, studying, and tutoring. The furniture, look, and feel of the space has been reworked to make it function as effectively as possible as a learning environment.


What is the Academic Resource Commons?

The Academic Resource Commons—or ARC, for short— offers academic support (peer tutoring, workshops, Supplemental Instruction) for Bates students.


Why did Bates change the way students get tutored?

In the past, there were many different places that Bates students might go to get help for a course. Depending on what they were working on, it might have been the Writing & Speaking Center, the Mathematics & Statistics Workshop, PALS, Student Affairs, or tutoring in a department. That set-up made it, in some cases, hard for students seeking help to know where to go. ARC has put everything in one place, where it’s easily accessed by students. There are other advantages to combining services within a single center, as well. As a unified program for hiring and training peer tutors, ARC can ensure that peer tutoring is being delivered at a high level of excellence, and in a way that lines up with best practices that have emerged at other colleges and universities.


How do I use ARC?

You can use ARC to study, do your homework, review your notes, or do any other work for your classes. You can ARC when you want to do this around other students who are currently in the same class, and you can use ARC when you want to be able to speak to others students who have been through the same course and have insight to share with you on how to do well in it. You can use ARC to spend more, and more focused, time on a specific concept than you would get to in class. And, you can use ARC when you want to enjoy a more active, social, collaborative learning experience than you’ll get anywhere else on campus.


What happened to the tutoring resources I used to use?

The tutoring that used to be offered by Student Affairs, in which students requested and were matched to a tutor, has gone away. ARC developed new services that provide the same function to students, but in new ways. 

The Writing & Speaking Center and PALS have continued, but in new ways as services offered within ARC.

The Mathematics & Statistics Workshop and many departmental tutoring programs continue as they have been, and ARC works closely with these services to guarantee coordination of services.


Is ARC a quiet study area?

ARC is not a quiet study area. ARC is a lively, social, vibrant place for talking to other students about the work of being a student. The look and feel of the space is designed to be more like a coffee shop, or an open-floor-plan office, than a traditional library study space.


This area of Ladd used to be where I studied. Where do I go now?

Keep using the area! This space hasn’t been taken away; it’s been enriched with additional resources and better furniture. The only difference is that now you’ll be asked to log in when you enter the space, and that if you raise your hand, a tutor will come around to ask how they can help. If the ARC space simply does not work for you as a study space, the library staff can help you to find an area that better suits your study habits.


What if what I really want is a quiet meeting with an expert one-on-one?

We believe deeply in a highly social model of tutoring, where no one is the role either of expert nor of non-expert. We hope you’ll give it a shot. On the other hand, there will always be times, circumstances, and learners that make a one-on-one meeting the best option. Let us know. If your needs aren’t being met in the drop-in lab, it may be that a one-on-one appointment with a tutor, a session with a Writing Specialist, or another resource may be appropriate. We’ll do our best to figure out an alternate arrangement.


Why do I need to log in to use the space?

There are three reasons. First, we want to know patterns of usage, so that we can respond accordingly (for example, if we know that lots of students are logging in for Economics tutoring at a time when we only have one tutor working, that information will allow us to move things around to work better for the students who need help). Second, we want to know if our services work, so that we know how to make improvements. Third, components of ARC programming are funded by grants, and we collect information on utilization of our services so that we can let funders know how we’re spending their money.


Who are the peer tutors?

Peer tutoring means students helping students. Our tutors aren’t PhDs, they’re not experts, and they’re not professional tutors. They’re students who were in the same class as you a year or two ago, and who figured out some useful strategies for getting through it. ARC tutors are Bates students who have taken the class that they’re offering support for, and earned a high grade within it. They’re individuals with a high degree of empathy, and they’re great communicators. And, they’ve received training from ARC on peer tutoring pedagogy. ARC tutors are great role models for navigating the Bates curriculum.


What if the help I need isn’t offered by ARC? How will I know where to go for help?

Whatever you need, if it’s academic support, the front desk at ARC is a good place to start. The students at the front desk are knowledgeable not only about our services, but also services offered by our partners around campus. ARC is a one-stop for academic support, and we’re committed to getting you to the support that you need.


Do I need to make an appointment?

You don’t! For most classes, you can just stop by. There are a few courses and topics that we do offer appointments for; stopping by ARC is also where to start to make an appointment.


How do I know when help is available for my course?

Hours of availability for each of the topics and subjects that ARC supports will are listed on the ARC Hours website.


What if the class I need help in isn’t listed?

Let us know. We don’t have the resources to offer support for every class at Bates, but if we know there’s demand for a course, we’ll do everything we can to meet it.


How can I become a tutor?

Visit the employment page. We look forward to seeing your application!