Spotlight on Center for Academic Resources Department

November 7, 2020

 

Photo Courtesy: UNH CFAR

An Interview with CFAR

Over the past few weeks, I have been conducting virtual “interviews” with different departments on campus. This in efforts to answer some common questions that students, faculty, or staff may have about the different services that will be offered by various departments on campus this semester. To learn more about services from CFAR, read below!  

Are your services accessible to all students free of charge? Or do you offer services at a charge?

CFAR services are free of charge and available to all undergraduate students. We do not offer services at a charge. 

Do you offer services for UNH faculty and staff? 

We collaborate with faculty, staff, and deans to better serve our students. Faculty often request we do classroom presentations that range from just talking about our services to spending the whole class time teaching students study skills they could use in the class. 

How does your department work to improve mental, physical, or social wellness of all students? 

We are holistic in our approach to working with students. Although students seek CFAR services to improve aspects of their academic experience, our educational counselors and peer academic mentors want to understand all factors that may be impacting a student’s experience at UNH. Students meet individually with our professional and/or peer staff members to assess how they approach learning in each of their classes. We explore the course resources with them and teach study strategies within their course content. Students come to CFAR to improve: time management and organizational skills; note taking and reading skills; problem-solving skills and language learning skills; and how to prepare for and take tests. Within the dimensions of wellness, we really focus on intellectual and emotional wellness.  

How does your department work to improve mental, physical, or social wellness of faculty and staff? 

We partner with faculty and staff to help retain students who are in academic jeopardy. Students who receive an early alert warning from a faculty mentor are referred to CFAR for services. We also partner with the Associate Deans of each college to provide services to students back from academic actions like exclusions, suspensions, and dismissals. 

We also teach students to actively engage with course content and use all of the resources faculty have built into the course. Students move from passive ways of studying to critically thinking about the concepts to apply the information that they are learning. When students show performance improvement in their academics by utilizing resources that faculty provide, faculty can feel a sense of purpose which can improve various aspects of their wellness.  

What is one, if any, service the department offers that students, faculty, or staff might not know about? 

Almost all of our services are done one-on-one. We want to help each student to develop a toolbox of skills that work for that particular student and the design of the courses they are currently taking. One size does not fit all. There are many ways for students to learn course material and to budget their time. We want to ensure that each student finds the right approach. 

CFAR is not just for students who need to improve their grades. We have many students with strong GPA’s who seek our services to ensure they are utilizing best learning practices in their courses. 

We are also not a tutoring center, but we can refer students to all of the pockets of free tutoring available on campus. 

Are you offering any services to students, faculty, or staff who are not on campus this semester due to remote learning/teaching? 

Yes! Students can schedule meetings with academic mentors by setting up an account here. These meetings are virtual and students can schedule up to two meetings per week. If students go here, they can access many of our study tools and ideas for remote learning. As stated above, if they go to our CFAR homepage, they can chat in real time with a CFAR Educational Counselor. We are also running a weekly Survive and Thrive in BMS 507 for students taking Anatomy and Physiology. 

Do you plan to offer remote services during the online period between thanksgiving and the end of the fall semester?  

Absolutely! 

Does your department offer any training for students to get more involved within your department?

Not training, but we will be posting videos on how to make appointments and access them. Also, all new first year students and transfer students were enrolled in a CANVAS course this summer that they still have access to. There is a section of the course on Wildcat Wisdom: How to succeed at UNH. This section has numerous videos produced by CFAR academic mentors on the differences between high school and college and the important website, services, and study skills to employ. 

Sophomores, juniors and seniors who are successful students and want to help others find the most efficient ways to study are able to apply to become Peer Academic Mentors. Peer AMs are fully trained and supervised, and work only as much as their schedule allows. It is a wonderful leadership opportunity for students who want to gain teaching skills, or just give back to help other students do well. 

How does your department foster a sense of well-being and promote healthy lifestyle choices for your staff members? 

We are a small staff and meet weekly to check in on how we are doing and what we are experiencing this semester. Those who have the lowest risk factors for COVID-19 are keeping CFAR open for students who physically come for help. 

Where are you located on campus? 

Smith Hall, second floor (not to be confused with Hamel Smith Hall!) 

Where can students, faculty and staff access more information about your department?  

Our CFAR website has information about all of our services and our study strategies and time management calendars. Additionally, there are tutorial videos posted for every topic for the following courses: Biology 411/412; Chemistry 403/404; Physics 410/402 and 407/408. We are currently adding videos for BMS 507/508. You can also live chat with an Educational Counselor, send us an email, call us, and utilize all of the course resources posted. All of our specific contact information can be found on the CFAR website.  

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