Allegheny College Enhances Student Support Through New Academic Commons

Allegheny College recently celebrated the opening of the Academic Commons – a central location for study and collaboration in which students can access the resources they need to thrive at Allegheny and in their lives after college.

Housed in Allegheny’s Pelletier Library, the traditional hub of academic support, the Academic Commons includes library research support, a variety of spaces for student study and collaboration, the Maytum Learning Commons, and the new Allegheny Gateway.

“Housing these services together creates a single point of contact for students seeking resources for coursework, research, academic concerns, career planning, community engagement, international study, and more,” says Terry Bensel, associate provost and director of the Allegheny Gateway. “Each service housed within the Academic Commons has at the core of its mission some facet of student success, and these services are woven together to create a fabric of support.”

Within the Academic Commons is the Allegheny Gateway, which provides opportunities for students to study, live, and work abroad; encounter diverse people and viewpoints; get involved in defining and addressing real-world problems and challenges; engage in collaborative projects with other students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners; and articulate how their Allegheny experiences have prepared them for careers and graduate/professional studies after they leave college.

The Allegheny Gateway includes the following departments:
• Career Education
• Center for Political Participation
• Civic Engagement
• Center for Intercultural Awareness and Student Success
• International Education
• Nationally Competitive Fellowships
• Pre-Professional Advising
• Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities

“The Allegheny Gateway provides a means for faculty, students, staff, and community partners to put classroom learning into practice, a space for defining and addressing complex problems facing society, and an opportunity for students to reflect on, make meaning of, and articulate how their Allegheny education has prepared them for careers and life after graduation,” Bensel says.

The student services centralized under the Gateway umbrella previously had been located in different buildings around campus.

Also included in the Academic Commons are:

Pelletier Library: The library staff provides expert, individualized assistance to help students extend their research skills. Students can develop their ability to identify, evaluate, and obtain the information required to meet their academic and experiential learning goals.

The Maytum Learning Commons: The Learning Commons staff arranges accommodations for students with disabilities; consults with students on study skills such as time management, effective reading, and test taking; coordinates new student orientation; and supports the academic advising program.

Student Study and Collaboration Space: The Academic Commons provides a variety of types of seating and spaces for students to work collaboratively in large and small groups.