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Think Tank aids academics

Freshmen on academic probation can find help by taking advantage of a series of workshops being offered by the Think Tank from Feb. 15 through March 8.


The Think Tank is a campus-based, consolidated academic support center, which offers tutoring in a variety of subjects including second languages, math and science.

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""The problem we face is not necessarily students being placed on academic probation, it's that some students decide not to come back to the university before we can help them address some of the issues which lead to them being placed on probation in the first place,"" said Victor Mercado, the academic resource coordinator for the Think Tank.  


According to statistics furnished by the UA Office of Institutional Research and Planning Support, more than 20 percent of freshmen in 2007 didn't return for their sophomore year in 2008.


""Of course our wish is that every student would come back,"" Mercado said, ""and we understand that is a far-off possibility. But what we at the Think Tank try to do is help students in a different way so that they are working more on growing as learners rather than focusing on their GPAs.""


In addition to tutoring, the Think Tank also offers peer mentoring and supplemental instruction services, both of which put students in the position to help their fellow classmates.


""Nobody can really articulate to a student better than another student,"" Mercado said.


The Think Tank began last fall and has already seen a tremendous campus response. According to program estimates, its various services saw approximately 3,000 students make over 12,000 visits last semester. Those numbers are expected to rise this semester.


""It has really picked up,"" said Brenda


Verdugo-Gonzalez, a chemical engineering doctoral student who tutors in math and science for the Think Tank. ""Last semester I had maybe four or five students in my sessions, but as word has gone out and, especially during finals week last year, it has really gotten crazy.""


The workshops will focus primarily on addressing study habits and problems with motivation for students. 


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