$10 million gift by anonymous donors heralds an exciting next phase for the ARC.
Connecticut College’s state-of-the-art Academic Resource Center (ARC) enters a new era with a gift of $10 million from anonymous donors. The support will enable the ARC to expand on its original promise and achieve a new level of excellence as a national leader in both academic development and skill-building for life.
The support combines an outright gift of $5 million with a $5 million challenge grant that, when matched, will result in a total investment of $15 million toward a new and expanded menu of services for students and faculty.
Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron remarked on the immeasurable contribution the ARC has already made to the College since it opened in 2013, and the even larger role it will play in the future.
“Thanks to the wonderful generosity of these donors, Connecticut College will have the best endowed resource center in the country supporting the academic and professional development of our students,” Bergeron said. “With this gift, the ARC will provide an even broader range of programming designed for students who want to excel in their lives on campus and in the wider world.”
The funding will endow a new Program for Communication Excellence that incorporates the Roth Writing Center, a new Program in Critical and Collaborative Thinking, as well as an enhanced Program in Quantitative Reasoning. The total gift also provides new resources to support the assessment of student learning and to expand the center’s physical presence in the Charles E. Shain Library in order to accommodate staff, quiet study, collaboration, tutoring and other group work.
Noel Garrett, dean of academic support and director of the ARC, said the new programs reflect the changing needs of students in the new global economy.
“We are acutely aware of how essential quantitative skills are for success in today’s workforce, especially as interest in STEM has grown,” Garrett said. “This gift will allow us to significantly expand our popular quantitative literacy program, integrating these skills across the curriculum so that all students benefit.”
Since its opening in 2013 following an $11 million gift from anonymous donors, the ARC has had an ever-growing impact on student achievement, providing tutoring, workshops and learning resources for the whole campus. One-hundred percent of the student body has worked with the center in some capacity, with three out of four students using it on a regular basis throughout their time at the College.
Three elements differentiate the ARC from resource centers on other campuses: its deep connection to the academic program; its commitment to full participation and to ensuring that all people thrive and reach their full academic potential; and its emphasis on transferable professional skills and integration with career education.
The program in Career Informed Learning, piloted in 2015 in partnership with the Hale Center for Career Development, is an example of a program that introduces career-transferable skills into the classroom. Industry experts are invited to partner with faculty to stimulate work on real-world problems in courses across the curriculum. The project-based approach offers students new perspectives on course material and meaningful experiences in practical problem solving.
Fast Forward is another example of the ARC’s commitment to the professional development of students. Now in its sixth year, this week-long career intensive involves alumni experts from a variety of industries and includes workshops and mock interviews that enable students to practice their professional communication, presentation and critical thinking.
“The ARC has transformed the culture of teaching and learning at Connecticut College,” said Dean of the College Jefferson Singer.
“It is a national model for integrative student success that fosters a rare environment of collaboration, independent thinking, self-confidence and creativity,” he said. “As students become more effective learners, they acquire the higher-order skills necessary for meaningful intellectual inquiry and transformative impact on the world.”
The College hosted a celebration to announce the gift to the campus community on Oct. 10 in Shain Library.