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January 26, 2006 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-26

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7W

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By Ian Herbert Managing Sports Editor

ALk Lsk s yDC aiy
Athletes work In a study area at the Stephen M. Ross Academic Center.

The athletic department helps student athletes balance their coursework and competition.

t

Freshman Steve Bonnell andj
during a practice.

SA junior
Jason Dest
struggled
when he
took his
first calcu-
lus course.

It wasn't that he was bad at
math or not smart enough -
he is now an economics major.
It wasn't that he was uncommit-
ted or that he didn't go to class.
Well, it was partially that last

Dest was lucky. Instead of denying him
opportunities to reschedule - he has
had professors do this to him in the past
- his calculus instructor worked with
him. She met him at the library late at
night, sometimes as late as midnight, to
go over material he missed and review
any algebra he was having a hard time
with. She let him make up quizzes on
Mondays.
How's he going to handle it?
t's rare for a student athlete to
find a teacher as accommodating
as Dest's, but academic support
is easy to come by at Michigan.
Just head down State Street to
the athletic campus and look for
the new

two of ten full-time staff members
- paid out of the athletic department's
budget - who work with athletes to
make sure as many as possible get
through the rigors of a Michigan edu-
cation.
The University can be an intimidating
place for any student, and for athletes it's
often tougher. Between practice, watching
film, weight training, rehab and competi-
tion, athletes essentially work a full-time
job in addition to going to school. To
make it worse, many of them worked the
same full-time job in high school, mean-
ing they are often less prepared than other
students. Although Ted Spencer, execu-
tive director of undergraduate admis-
sions, insists the University doesn't admit
any students who are not qualified, it does

admit those who can, with the proper
amount of assistance, tackle the challeng-
es that will face them,
The proper amount of assistance:
That's where academic support comes
in. Tutors, learning specialists and
academic counselors - along with
computers and places to read - are all
available to athletes in need of assis-
tance.
"It's very student-specific," Acho
said. "We don't have any cookie-cutter
program. It depends on their schedule,
and it depends on their strengths and
weaknesses."
It used to be different. Until this year,
the system looked a little more like a
gingerbread man. All freshmen were
required to go to study table Sunday
through Wednesday
from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30
j , p.m. There was no set
location because the
athletic department
didn't have any space.
So students were
scattered throughout
campus - in Mason
Hall, in the Shap-
iro Undergraduate
Library, even in the
Department of Pub-
lic Safety offices.
y I With the new

building and resources,
freshman study table
will change to allow for
a little more flexibility.
Instead of being forced to
study at times determined
by the athletic department,
now a freshman student ath-
lete will be able choose when
he wants to study. He will still
be required to have designat-
ed study time for eight hours
a week, but now he can sched-
ule time with tutors, time in the
Ross Academic Center's 70-sta-
tion computer lab and time to sit
in the center's lounge in front of
the fireplace or flatscreen TV and
read - all as a part of his required
eight hours.
"I'd have kids - again, I work
specifically with football - but they
would come to study table and they'd
have ice bags on their shoulders and
their knees. They're exhausted," Acho
said. "So this is really going to give our
kids the flexibility to study when it works
best for them in their schedule as opposed
to it having to be in the evening."
Acho is quick to point out that all
of Michigan's student athletes have to
study more than eight hours per week if
they are going to graduate, but she said
she thinks it's important, especially for

one.

AARON SWICK/Daily
Members of the men's soccer team train at Ooster-
baan Fieldhouse on South Campus.

Dest is a defenseman on the Mich-
igan hockey team. The team travels
a lot and so does Dest. His calculus
course was every Monday, Wednes-
day and Friday, and he missed a lot of
Friday classes because of his travel. To
make it worse, his instructor scheduled
quizzes every Friday.
"I was always missing the quizzes,"
Dest said. "And then she would have
review sessions during practice times,
so I never got to attend any of those."
Though it may not sound like it,

building with the
large windows
and the big sign
that says Stephen
M. Ross Aca-
demic Center.
There you can
find Shari Acho
and Sue Shand,
co-directors of
the Academic
Success Pro-
gram at Michi-
gan. They are

1

t 1:
I e

A view of different floors insid
Academic Center.

I

NATIONAL CHAMPI

t

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