Apr 24, 2024  
2015-2016 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Support Services: Academic

 Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience

The Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience offers programming and services that enhance student academic growth, success, and persistence toward the goal of attaining a college degree. This includes providing a testing center and support for students with disabilities, academic advising and counseling, tutorial services, and coordinating retention initiatives across the campus. The “Opportunities for Academic Success in Studies” (OASIS), ACT 101, and the “Study Acceleration: Gaining Excellence” (SAGE) programs also provide additional help for student success.

CAS-FYE also maintains a learning skills library and numerous resources that emphasize the development of time management, study skills, and decision-making skills. Academic counselors are available to work with the student on an individual basis regarding academic counseling, study skills, and other academic concerns.

All programs are housed on the first floor of Saint Francis Hall.

Opportunities for Academic Success in Studies (OASIS) Program

The program is designed for first-year students who, upon applying for admission, have demonstrated a need for academic support and whose secondary school records indicate potential for college success. Students in the program receive extra support for their academic and social transition into college. The program teaches and reinforces important academic skills, while also introducing them to services across campus that will help them succeed.

Upon admission to the program, students sign an agreement that outlines the requirements for program participation. These consist of mandatory structured study sessions, academic counseling, and enrollment in GEN 111 (College Success Strategies I) in the fall semester and GEN 112 (College Success Strategies II) in the spring semester.

Course Descriptions:

GEN 111: College Success Strategies I: (3 credits) College Strategies focuses on areas where students need assistance, awareness, and extra support during the first semester. Course topics include the following: assessment and improvement of critical reading skills, understanding college demands, learning styles, time management, note-taking, information literacy and technology skills. The course also introduces students to important offices across campus. Fall. Required for all OASIS students. Others by approval of the director of the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience.

GEN 112: College Success Strategies II: (1 credit) Students will build upon the study skills covered in GEN 111 and continue to develop critical reading skills appropriate to grade level. Spring. Prerequisite: GEN 111, or by approval of the director of the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience.

Study Acceleration: Gaining Excellence (SAGE) Program

The SAGE Program is designed for students who are experiencing academic difficulties. All students on academic probation are required to participate and meet all of the requirements of the program throughout the semester. Students in good academic standing may also choose to participate in the program or may be required to do so as a requirement of their academic warning status. The program provides students with a structured study environment for six hours weekly under the supervision of University faculty and staff who serve as their SAGE Coach. In addition, services that include study skills seminars, peer tutoring, academic counseling, and basic study skills assessment are available each semester. While SAGE is not mandatory for part-time students, those students are encouraged to participate. Students will sign an agreement at the beginning of the semester that outlines the expectations for program participation. Students who do not comply with the requirements of the program may be subject to dismissal.

Testing Center

The Saint Francis University Testing Center is committed to serving SFU students and faculty by providing professional, comfortable, and accessible testing services in a secure and supervised testing environment. The Center offers a variety of exams and services to meet the needs of students.

Located within the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience, the Testing Center includes four private testing rooms, as well as a larger testing room for administering standardized exams. Testing rooms are electronically monitored. Lockers are provided for storing personal belongings during testing.

Accommodation & Makeup Exams

Testing rooms are available by reservation for students with approved testing accommodations and for makeup exams as approved by the instructor. Accommodation students must have their documentation approved by April Fry, Accessibility Services Coordinator, prior to testing in the Testing Center. Approved accommodation students may then take their exams and quizzes in the Testing Center and receive such accommodations as extended time on tests, reader, scribe, and a distraction-reduced environment. A student may also be approved to test in the Testing Center due to a short-term disability, such as a concussion. Other students may receive permission from the instructor to take a makeup exam in the Testing Center for reasons such as a family emergency, serious illness, class trip, or sporting event.

Standardized Testing

Saint Francis University now administers the following computer-based standardized exams through Pearson testing:

  • Pennsylvania Educators Certification Testing (PECT) - www.pa.nesinc.com
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certification exams - www.pearsonvue.com/acsm
  • GED (high school equivalency) Tests - www.ged.com
  • NSCA’s Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam - www.pearsonvue.com/nsca

Exams are administered at the Testing Center year-round. Since candidates must set up an account and receive approval to take the exams, they must register for these exams and pay fees through the appropriate websites (listed above). On the day of the test, candidates will present the appropriate ID, store all personal belongings in a locker, provide a digital signature and have their photo taken.

Testing Resource Library

The Testing Resource Library includes study materials for the following standardized exams:

  • ACSM - American College of Sports Medicine
  • CLEP - College Level Examination Program
  • CSCS - NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
  • DAT - Dental Admission Test
  • FE - Fundamentals of Engineering
  • GMAT - Graduate Management Admission Test
  • GRE - Graduate Record Exam
  • LSAT - Law School Admission Test
  • MCAT - Medical College Admission Test
  • NPTE - National Physical Therapy Examination
  • OAT - Optometry Admission Test
  • PCAT - Pharmacy College Admission Test

Study resources are available on loan to any SFU student or staff member on a three-week basis.

For additional information regarding Testing Center services, contact the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience, 814/472-3024, CAS-FYE@francis.edu.

Tutorial Services

The Tutorial Services offered on campus are an important component of academic success. Qualified undergraduate tutors are available to all students at no charge. The Tutoring Center, located on the second floor in the Library and Learning Commons, offers one-to-one or group sessions for students on a walk-in or an appointment basis. Additional tutoring sessions are held in the Stokes-Twyman Room and are also open for all Saint Francis students. The schedules for all tutoring sessions are available online. For high demand curriculums, such as Biology and Chemistry, group tutoring programs are available for the duration of every semester. These programs are conducted by undergraduate students who have excelled in their major and received a recommendation from their professors. These students are also in constant contact with professors through the semester to provide updates.

Our program exists because undergraduate students recognize the importance of helping their peers. Students who are interested in becoming a tutor for the Tutoring Program must meet the following qualifications:

  • Have obtained sophomore status (28 credits or more)
  • Have the personal qualities and communication skills necessary for effective interaction with students
  • Have at least a 3.0 QPA
  • Have obtained at least an “A” or “B” in any course to be tutored
  • Have the recommendation of the academic department in which they are tutoring

Students with Disabilities

The Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience assists eligible students in receiving basic services as determined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Every effort is made to arrange reasonable accommodations based on a student’s disability. Individuals are encouraged to begin the process of arranging for accommodation services upon acceptance to the university.

The Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience works with individual faculty members, academic departments, and other University offices to assure that the classes, programs, and services are accessible to the students. The services provided by these offices are meant to help students devise strategies for meeting college demands and to foster independence, responsibility and self-advocacy.

In order to receive disability services, students must submit documentation of their disability to the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience. The submitted assessment report must:

  • Be completed by a qualified professional such as a medical doctor or licensed psychologist
  • Contain the evaluator’s name, title, and assessment date
  • Have been completed within the last three years
  • Identify the disability, describe the limits it imposes, and include the recommended accommodations

Once the documentation is received and evaluated, a staff member from the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience will schedule an intake meeting to determine which accommodations are appropriate. Students who receive accommodations are responsible for communicating their accommodation needs to each individual faculty member and for submitting the paperwork in a timely manner.

Basic services offered at Saint Francis University include:

  • Assistance with note-taking in the classroom
  • Accommodations for taking exams, such as readers, scribes, extended-time, and alternate locations
  • Referrals for taped texts
  • Requests for adaptive classroom equipment
  • Assistance in accessing University programs and services
  • Priority scheduling

If a student believes he or she requires a reasonable accommodation or has a question regarding educational services, activities, programs, or facilities that are accessible to or used by students with disabilities, please contact the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience.

For more information or to request an accommodation, please contact:

April Fry
Saint Francis University
P.O. Box 600
Loretto, PA 15940
814/472-3176 Fax: 814/472-2819

Credit By Examination Policy

Certain Subject CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) examinations, which have been approved by the appropriate department chair, are recognized for the purpose of course fulfillment and credit at Saint Francis University. The optional essay section of the CLEP is required by the history department at Saint Francis University. Any individual is eligible to take a CLEP examination.

Any individual who achieves a qualifying score on a particular examination will receive credit for the course corresponding to that examination. In the absence of local norms the recommendations of CAS-FYE will be followed in determining a satisfactory score. Courses satisfied by means of the CLEP will be listed in a student’s file and total credits earned will be recorded on a student’s transcript under the heading “Credit-by-Examination.”

Taking the CLEP will not affect a student’s option for P-F grades in that the student will still be entitled to the maximum number of P-F course grades allowable. A student may fulfill a maximum of 30 credits by means of Advanced Placement and/or College Level Examination Program examinations for a bachelor’s degree and 15 credits for an associate degree. A student may substitute a free elective in place of a course requirement satisfied by examination. A student who satisfies a course requirement by examination will not be charged tuition for that course.

A student will not be entitled to receive credit for a lower-level course after having taken a higher-level course. This holds true even if the student has failed the higher-level course. For example, a student who has taken Spanish 201 cannot receive CLEP credit for Spanish 102.

The cost for one CLEP examination is $80 payable to College-Level Examination Program, plus a non-refundable service fee of $20 payable to Saint Francis University.

For additional information regarding CLEP testing, visit clep.collegeboard.org and contact the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience, 814/472-3024, CAS-FYE@francis.edu.

Academic and First-Year Advising Program

The primary purpose of the academic advising program is to assist students in the development of meaningful educational plans which are compatible with their life goals. At Saint Francis University, academic advising is viewed as a continuous process of clarification and evaluation. The Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience works in conjunction with the academic advisor and the student to help support educational needs and goals. The office is open to all students as an additional and/or supplemental academic resource.

Individual academic advising conferences are available to students each semester. The advisor will review and utilize and available data about the student’s academic and educational needs, performance, goals, and problems. The ultimate responsibility for making decisions about life goals and educational plans rests with the student. The advisor will assist by helping to identify and assess alternatives and the consequences of decisions.

As part of the University’s First-Year Advising Program, entering students are assigned to advisors during the Summer Orientation and Academic Registration (SOAR) Program the summer prior to their freshman year. These academic advisors help students with academic and transition issues by providing guidance and support throughout their freshman year.

Saint Francis University’s goals for academic advising are as follows: clarification of life and career goals; development of suitable educational plans; selection of appropriate courses and other educational experiences; interpretation of institutional requirements; increased student awareness of available educational resources; evaluation of student progress toward established goals; development of decision-making skills; and referral to and use of other institutional and community support services where appropriate.

If you need additional help beyond your assigned academic advisor, individual and walk-in appointments are available at the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience in Saint Francis Hall.

Higher Education Equal Opportunity (ACT 101) Program

The ACT 101 Program was created as a result of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Equal Opportunity Act 101 in 1971 and focuses on serving undergraduate students in order to make the ideal of educational opportunity a reality for all qualified students.

Support services include access to free textbooks through our lending library, assistance with class registration, free peer and group tutoring, workshops, and academic and career counseling.

To be eligible, students must be:

  • Resident of Pennsylvania
  • Economically disadvantaged - Having an annual family income equal to or less than 200% of the family income level based on federal poverty guidelines.
  • Educationally disadvantaged - Having a predicted grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or less (the prediction shall be based upon the criteria and formula regularly used by the institution of higher education to select students for admission).
  • Enrolled as a full-time student (carrying at least 12 credits in a semester) or as a part time student (carrying at least 6, but less than 12, credits in a semester).

ACT 101 students are eligible for support services at the university as long as he or she is enrolled at the institution and has signed the student contract at the beginning of each academic year.

Student Assistance Team

The Student Assistance Team consists of representatives from various offices on campus including the Center for Academic Success & First-Year Experience, Athletics, Business Office, Financial Aid, Provost’s Office, Residence Life, Risk Management, and Student Development. Meeting weekly during the academic year, the team addresses concerns that may affect a student’s academic success, which may include: missing classes, advising and tutoring appointments, or SAGE hours; poor course grades; behavior on campus or in the classroom; financial concerns; and referrals from faculty, coaches, staff, parents, or peer students.

Intervention strategies are discussed at the meeting which may include meeting with the student, contacting the student’s academic advisor, contacting the student’s instructors for the current semester, and/or contacting the student’s parents. As a part of the team, risk management may also intervene when appropriate and the Behavioral Intervention Team may evaluate a student to determine potential threat analysis. Each student situation is unique, so intervention strategies are created to address the specific issue or concern.

Writing Center

The Writing Center at Saint Francis University offers one-to-one consultations for students seeking assistance with their writing. The tutoring staff is trained to work with students at all stages of the writing process. Services and resources are free to all students enrolled at Saint Francis University.