OTTUMWA — The newly renovated Pothoven Academic SUCCESS Center at Indian Hills Community College is advancing the idea that it's perfectly all right for students to ask for help.
"Struggling is noble and normal for academics," SUCCESS Center Director Daniel Aucutt explained. "Our culture has gotten to where we want the easy way, but there is no easy way to success. It takes hard work, and we're reintroducing that concept."
At the college-sponsored coffee talk Friday morning, IHCC administrators were on hand to give tours of the SUCCESS Center and answer questions about how it is positively affecting students. While answering a specific question or tackling a difficult class in general is the immediate goal, Indian Hills President Marlene Sprouse says that the simple act of pushing a student to succeed is vitally important.
"We want them to walk away with a real sense of 'I can succeed in college. I might not have had the skill level I needed, so I was struggling in a class, or I was afraid of a class, but now I feel like I can be a success.' I want them to have that feeling when they walk out of there," Sprouse said.
Located between the arts and sciences building and the formal lounge, the center has been designed with an open floor plan to allow for a number of classrooms, labs and study areas. At the front desk, students can ask questions and be directed to the staff and tutors who can best help them with their academic concerns. The welcome center has been a strategic tool beyond being an attractive, welcoming place to draw students in who might be reluctant to come ask for help.
"The basic premise is that the students are signed in using a computer tracking system," he said. "Then we can see the trends of how they're utilizing our services."