Luke Matulewicz took office as the new assistant director of the Academic Achievement Center Oct. 1. The AAC, located at Holton Hall and Holtz Hall, is open to all students who need any academic help. Its primary features are a tutoring center and academic coaching led by a dedicated staff, Matulewicz said.
“Our tagline is, ‘We’re your free academic support package,’” Matulewicz said. “Just like you have a financial aid package while you’re here, you also have a support package and we’re part of that support package.”
Matulewicz said his job includes supervising the AAC and making sure it has an impact on students.
“We can provide students employment, help in courses and help in just understanding what college is [at] such a confusing time,” Matulewicz said. “I remember my own life in college where I was confused beyond belief. I wish I would have had an academic coach kind of help me understand that experience.”
Tyler Vela, academic coaching and scholar services coordinator for the AAC, said he also wants to be there for students.
“Our goal is to have students come back,” Vela said. “We want to cheer them on. … We can be a point of contact for students to come in and say, ‘All right, I’ve got someone who has my back right now, today.’”
Matulewicz said he is still “trying to figure out all the pieces” of his new position but has plans to improve the AAC.
“My goal is to make sure that our team is on the same page, that we’re aiming towards big goals,” Matulewicz said. “Just like K-State is aiming to be the next-gen land grant, I want this to become the next-gen learning center.”
Matulewicz said one idea he plans to implement is virtual-reality tutoring for classes such as chemistry where visualization of objects can be difficult.
“I’d love to be able to partner with [Curio XR] and bring some VR headsets to campus to help students understand those concepts that in 2D are hard and in 3D could become a little easier,” Matulewicz said.
Jake Martin, sophomore in athletic training, said he used tutoring services at the AAC for both chemistry and physics classes.
“[That technology] would go a long way towards having better visuals and understanding difficult concepts,” Martin said. “Science isn’t always easy to comprehend, so having a clear picture in front of you would definitely help.”
Vela said he and Matulewicz are looking for more academic coaches to expand the program. The AAC has three coaches for roughly 200 students the program sees each month.
“They’re seeing a lot [of students], but we’d like to see more,” Vela said. “The goal is to be completely overworked. The more students come in, the better they’re going to be doing in classes.”
Matulewicz said the AAC is a non-profit that gets its funds from the university’s general-use dollars and Student Governing Association.
“Funding will continue to be a focal point in the coming years as we expect services to increase,” Matulewicz said. “[We] will need to find a way to have our funding increased too without pushing that onto students directly.”
The AAC falls under the newly rebranded Division of Academic Success and Student Affairs, as announced by the university.
“A tight coupling between student life and student success is always important,” Matulewicz said. “[Students] don’t have their own social being while they’re in college and their own academic being. They are together as one, so it makes sense for the two to come together.”
Vela said student success will continue to be a focus for the AAC based on three words students should remember: “Free help, anytime.”