The Academic Service Center (ASC) has been impacting the lives of NDSCS students since its founding in 1972, 50 years ago. Though the name was changed from Learning Skills Center (LSC) to the Academic Services Center, the student-focused mission has always included helping students develop mathematics skills, reading comprehension and critical thinking proficiency, and to better prepare their writing skills for college-level composition.
Four visionary teachers have led the ASC in the last 50 years. The department was started by René Moen with support from President Blikre and the North Dakota State Board of Vocational Education. Moen was the coordinator from 1972-2000. Bunnie Johnson took the lead from 2000-2003. Maria Kaduc was named the center’s director in 2003 and remained until her retirement in 2020. Currently, Kara Gruenberg is the department chair.
From its inception, there was help for students in the English 100 class – Developmental Reading, which began at NDSCS in 1967. The purpose of the developmental reading course was to improve general reading proficiency, increase accuracy of comprehension and achieve some flexibility of reading rate. In addition, there were tutoring and individualized self-improvement classes in reading, writing, math, and basic study skills.
Academic Service Center highlights:
- In 1984, the Learning Skills Center started offering additional classes such as Effective Listening, Speed Reading, and Spelling Improvement.
- In 1992, NDSCS switched from the quarter system to semesters and the class offerings for LSC increased significantly and included services such as additional tutoring, testing accommodations, increasing personal computer skills, working with ELL students, and even teaching small group math classes to employees of 3M. They offered 20 different courses expanding on medical and technical vocabulary, computer prep, Pre-Algebra and Pre-Trigonometry.
- In 1997, the name was changed from the Learning Skills Center to the Academic Services Center and the course offerings continued to grow. Twenty-six different courses were offered at that time and there were eleven full-time employees.
- In 2013, the ASC was placed under Student Affairs division.
- In 2018, the administration decided to split up the department. The faculty of the ASC moved back to the Academic Affairs division and staff members who were a part of tutoring and testing remained in the Student Success area under Student Affairs.
- Currently, the ASC is an academic department with six full-time faculty members and two adjunct instructors who serve both the Wahpeton and Fargo locations. Nine developmental courses in the areas of reading, writing and math are offered.
The Learning Skills Center/Academic Services Center continues to thrive at NDSCS and has been recognized in the state, region, and nation for its work in developmental education. The department received the North Dakota Career and Technical Directors Award of Excellence in 1994, 2009 and 2019. The ASC received advanced certification for our developmental coursework from the National Association of Developmental Education between 2010-2017. Several instructors have received excellence in teaching, Catbacker/Wildcat of the Year, and other awards at both NDSCS and state levels.
Despite all the changes, the mission has stayed the same through the 50 years it has served students. The Academic Services Center (ASC) is committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to learn and is dedicated to increasing student retention by helping students enhance their academic abilities, discover their personal strengths, and develop career-ready skills for their future.
The number of students that have been served, inspired, and influenced along the way is immeasurable. We are so excited for them when they contact us to tell their latest achievements. Their continued communication is a testament to the impact the ASC has had on their lives. It has been a great fifty years and with the dedication of faculty and the impact of our services, the department will keep growing and changing to meet the needs of students for at least 50 more years.