The previous Student-Athlete Academic Center didn’t provide the same amount of privacy. It was on the mezzanine in Agnes Edwards Hall, a student residence hall. The facility was not completely restricted to student-athletes, and academic mentoring and tutoring sessions were held in a single room. So, student-athletes were often distracted.
Christy Alford is assistant director of athletics for Student-Athlete Academic Services. She said the privacy the new center provides is important because student-athletes are required to study there for a certain number of hours each week; how many hours depends on grades and requirements for online classes.
She said the center increases their productivity.
“It’s their hub. They want to do better. They want to study harder.”
Historically, UL Lafayette’s student-athletes have been a hardworking bunch.
Over half of its 395 student-athletes earned a 3.0 or higher GPA for the Fall 2018 semester. All student-athletes achieved a combined Fall 2018 semester GPA of 2.9 and an overall GPA of 2.98
Over the last five years, student-athletes at the University have consistently graduated at rates higher than most of their peers at the Sun Belt Conference’s 12 institutions and the state’s 11 Division I schools.
Also, UL Lafayette’s student-athletes consistently have higher graduation rates than the general student body.
The center will strengthen those numbers, Alford said. UL Lafayette is one of three universities in the Sun Belt Conference to employ a full-time learning specialist.
Ashlee Jennings has held that position for two years. She works with student-athletes who have learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, or who need extra academic attention. She meets one-on-one with them to help with organization, time management and learning strategies.
Jennings also oversees the academic mentor program. Academic mentors are typically students with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA who help student-athletes achieve academic goals.
Shelby Desrochers was an academic mentor for five years. After graduating in Fall 2018 with a master’s degree in business administration, she was hired part-time to coordinate the center’s math lab and tutoring program. She is also a mentor and tutor.
Desrochers said the facility makes her job easier. Student-athletes are more focused because advisers and mentors can meet with them in private, and monitor them during study hours. Extended hours accommodate student-athletes’ schedules, which include team practices and meetings.