Wake Forest’s Learning Assistance Center and Disability Services (LAC-DS) has announced several updates to its office and practices as it marks its 35th year serving the campus community. The LAC-DS will reintroduce itself this semester under a new name: the Center for Learning, Access, and Student Success (CLASS). The new name will more accurately represent the mission and strength-based approach of the office, which encourages students to tap into self-determination and resilience when faced with adversity
Although the pandemic posed many challenges, it also inspired the CLASS office to assess its services and the campus’s evolving needs to strengthen its commitment to “providing opportunities for all students to achieve academic success.” CLASS will continue to offer high-quality disability services, academic and learning resources and peer mentoring, supported by a variety of departmental initiatives, including the production of alternative media, academic coaching and peer tutoring. Read more
Categories: Inside WFU
Michael Shuman has been promoted to director of Wake Forest’s Learning Assistance Center and Disability Services (LAC-DS).
As director, Shuman is responsible for providing leadership and vision in the areas of academic support and disability services for the University community. He manages the clinical and administrative operations of the LAC-DS, implements accommodations for students with disabilities and coordinates a comprehensive academic coaching and peer tutoring program for students.
Shuman had served since last July as interim director of the LAC-DS. Since joining the office’s staff in 1997, he had held several positions, including associate director, assistant director, and academic counselor and coordinator of special services.
“Having worked for over 18 years at Wake Forest, I have a deep understanding of our campus culture–both its challenges and accolades–and have come to love and value the Wake Forest community,” Shuman said.
“I am passionate about providing the support and resources that college students need to become successful, resilient and engaged learners, and I am both thrilled and grateful to be named director of the Learning Assistance Center and Disability Services,” he added. “I am so proud of what we do for our students and the greater Wake Forest community in the LAC-DS, and I am excited to continue to lead the office in our commitment to our mission of providing opportunities for all students to achieve academic success.”
The LAC-DS is part of the University’s Division of Campus Life.
Science faculty and the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) are collaborating this fall to help first-year students deal with exam panic through a three-part workshop, “How to prevent a panic attack on your first college science exam.”
Michael Shuman, interim director, and Shelly Cardi, staff psychologist, of LAC, as well as Pat Lord, director of Health Professions Program and associate teaching professor of biology, and David Wren, assistant teaching professor and director of the Chemistry Center, have planned the workshops to help first-year students prepare for their first college science exam.
Wren described the LAC as the “emergency department” for students where triage takes place to help deal with test anxiety. He and his colleagues believe a pre-emptive strike like these workshops will be more effective in the long run.
“All of us have had experience with students not knowing how to study, how to prepare, how to take the exam – and not panic – or how to analyze how they performed,” said Lord. “We’ve got some amazing things planned to help our students learn and do their best and we guarantee they will learn at least one technique that will help them improve their study skills.”
Categories: Faculty News
Michael Shuman and Robert Erhardt recently published an article in the Journal of Statistics Education, “Assistive Technologies for Second-Year Statistics Students who are Blind.” The article written by Shuman, interim director of Wake Forest’s Learning Assistance Center (LAC) and Erhardt, assistant professor of mathematics, focuses on the technology they developed to assist Kathryn Webster, an aspiring mathematician who also happens to be blind.
Kathryn, a junior from Greenwich, Conn., enrolled in a course in statistics covering topics requiring her to both interpret and produce three sets of materials: mathematical writing, computer programming, and visual displays of data. While some resources for blind students taking mathematics courses or introductory statistics courses were available, none were adequate to assist Kathryn.
In addition to providing academic support to all Wake Forest students through coaching and peer tutoring, the LAC exists to enable students with disabilities to experience equal access to the academic, social, and recreational activities and programs at the University.
Though Wake Forest is a smaller institution than other similar private schools, the University still has a number of undergraduates with disabilities who request accommodations. Though Kathryn brought some of her own assistive technology with her to campus, Shuman was struggling with a novel way of representing visual data for her related to her math courses.
Faculty and staff helped the Wake Forest community “Hit the Bricks” hard this year, joining with students to run nearly 23,000 laps around Hearn Plaza and to raise close to $30,000 for cancer research and the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund.
Overall, 17 faculty and staff teams participated this year. Click to view a photo gallery »
The top five teams in the faculty/staff division were:
- Crusaders (504 laps): Charlene Buckley, James Buckley, Kevin Cox, Ryan Scholl, Brett Eaton, Sean Daly, Rob McNamara, Phil May, Michael Shuman, James Torrible
- The Committee (Undergraduate Admissions, 417 laps): Dawn Calhoun, Paul Gauthier, Frank Brown, Lori Pilon, Brett Kaiser, Victoria Hill, Jennie Harris, Megan Massey, Ethan Groce
- Alumni Haul (Undergraduate Advancement, 378 laps): Paul Wingate, Mark Anderson, Mike Haggas, Stuart Tucker, Sarah Boerkircher, Megan Donovan, Pamela Bunten, Liz White, Curtis Bloomer, Sandy Saulpaugh
- Chemistry Department (378 laps): Megan Rudock, Rebecca Alexander, Mark Welker, David Wren, Amanda Jones, Kathryn Riley, Craig Clodfelter, Sarah Bergman, Lindsay Macnamara, Justin Piedad
- ZSR Library (290 laps): Barry Davis (captain), Susan Smith, Rebecca Petersen, Joy Gambill, Peter Romanov, Patrick Ferrell, Craig Fansler, Bill Kane, Chelcie Rowell, Lauren Suffoletto, Rosalind Tedford, Tanya Zanish-Belcher (for more from ZSR, see their blog, Flickr)
“Hit the Bricks” is part of a series of student-run events and activities to honor the former Chicago Bears running back, Brian Piccolo, who attended Wake Forest in the 1960s. The 1971 film, “Brian’s Song,” was based on the real-life relationship between teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond established when Piccolo discovers he is dying of cancer at the age of 26.