Queen’s students – in particular, English as a second language (ESL) and international students – now have access to expanded services as they work to develop their language and academic skills.
The Queen’s Learning Commons (QLC) Academic Skills Lab in Stauffer Library is a welcoming and flexible space that can accommodate small group discussions and one-on-one meetings with professional staff and trained peer assistants.
“In addition to academic skill development in writing and learning, which Student Academic Success Services (SASS) already provides, the lab is a great addition that will help students improve in areas such as presentation skills and pronunciation,” says Donna Katinas, the ESL co-ordinator in the Writing Centre, which is part of SASS.
QLC repurposed a group study room on the ground floor of Stauffer Library to create the lab, which features a group meeting space. The room also includes several workstations equipped with learning software. In addition, the Residence Society’s First Year Experience Fund will help offset the cost of Inspiration and Kurzweil 3000, adaptive technologies for the lab.
“With Queen’s seeking to increase the number of international students, this lab is well positioned to meet the needs of those students both at the undergraduate and graduate level,” says Nathalie Soini, QLC Co-Ordinator. “The services offered at the lab have the potential to alleviate some of the stress international students experience when they give a class presentation or lead a seminar, for example.”
QLC and SASS partnered to develop the new lab. As the lab develops over the next few months, they plan to work with the Adaptive Technology Centre (ATC). Ms. Soini says that as a QLC partner, the ATC will help train staff and peer assistants on common technology, such as Kurzweil 3000, educational software that provides literacy support for students.
Susan Korba, Director, SASS, says the new lab fits well with the Queen’s University International Centre’s English language support offerings, which focus more on conversational skills.
“International students want to develop the confidence in a wide range of academic skills. The new lab is another piece of that puzzle,” she says.