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Why you need to know CASA

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Written by Aaron Pfeifer

Posted on 30 September 2012

CASA, the Center for Academic Services and Advising, provides academic advising for first and second year students. In addition, CASA hosts academic services such as Tutoring, Academic Excellence Workshops, and facilitates CSM 101. CASA is part of the makeover that the Colorado School of Mines has been undergoing this past year in order to enhance the undergraduate experience.

The new CASA facility will also manage readmissions and the university withdrawal process. From this location they will also create an early identification program that will work with teachers to identify those that are struggling in classes. Additionally, they sponsor the pre-finals workshops and various academic programs.

CASA existed on campus last year in a lesser form as Student Development and Academic Services. In May, the Board of Trustees, in recognition of the growing needs of the campus, approved the CASA program.

A new initiative from CASA is the Peer Advising Program. This program will consist of upperclassmen helping underclassmen by providing advisement on classes, teachers, and life at Mines from a student perspective. Students with work study hours looking for leadership experience are encouraged to apply for a peer advisor position.

Another area that CASA will be involved is in undergraduate advising. They noticed a large discrepancy in the quality of the program between students in their first and second years. "Any incoming student, regardless of how many credits they have, what discipline they are in... they will receive consistent, universal, timely and accurate advice from our staff, " said Colin Terry. This will allow younger students to get advice on how to excel at Mines, while lessening the load on the faculty who have many other duties as well. After sophomore year, students will be assigned their faculty advisor. This advisor will be able to better serve upperclassmen with experiences ranging from industry to graduate schools in their respective disciplines.

Currently the CASA administrative staff consists of Director Colin Terry, three Academic Advising Coordinators and an Administrative Coordinator. Additionally, CASA co-employs 76 peer mentors with Student Activities and more than 25 tutors/facilitators. Currently, there are roughly 1000 students in the CASA program, which includes the entire freshmen class."We are an additional layer of support for students who either just need someone to talk to about academics or need assistance with how to better prepare for classes and exams," said Amy Argyris Dupont, one of the three Academic Advising Coordinators.

Colin Terry, the newly appointed Director of CASA, explained that, "We chose the name very intentionally. Casa being home, the idea being that all incoming students view this as home." Colin explained that CASA aims to help students with the many decisions that face students throughout their college career. Sometimes students will struggle with school for reasons outside of school, and the staff at CASA want to help students find help if they need it. Colin states that, "It's really our hope to support students holistically."

Along with a new name, CASA is almost ready to unveil their new office.CASA's newly renovated building is being designed for students. This space will consist of several tables, and some cushy chairs for students to relax. Students will be able to use this space after hours via Blastercard access. In the back, there is a restroom and a kitchen available for student use. The building also hosts offices for the director and three coordinators as well as a member of the faculty to hold their office hours. Colin pointed out that teachers have their office and students have their space, but the CASA building can be the shared ground to bring them together. CASA will be sponsoring an open house in mid October to show off their new office, located in the old wellness building.
Colorado School of Mines

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