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Student Services

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) at MSPP

What is the Academic Resource Center at MSPP?

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) has two functions. The ARC offers writing, organizational and study skills support to students in all MSPP programs. The ARC also assists students with documented disabilities to obtain reasonable accommodations which allow them access to the curriculum and the school environment.

Who can use ARC services?

The ARC is available to assist:

  1. Students with documented disabilities
  2. Students whose first language is other than English
  3. Students who may not have documented disabilities or language barriers but who need help organizing or editing papers and presentations. For these students, a prescribed number of tutoring sessions will be available each semester based on tutor availability.

What services does the ARC provide?

ARC tutors can provide help with

  • Editing documents for language use, missing words, misused prepositions, missed punctuation, inconsistencies in tense, sentence fragments, etc.
  • Acquiring a professional voice in graduate level writing (e.g., using an "active", academic voice; avoiding excessive word usage , maintaining subject-verb agreement and tense consistency)
  • Mastering study and preparation methods (e.g., note-taking, organizing thoughts)
  • Gaining an awareness of executive functioning skills as they impact the ability to successfully meet imposed expectations in graduate studies (e.g., time management, prioritizing classroom assignments)

Who provides ARC services?

Tutoring is provided by MSPP students who have been selected because of their communication, writing and organizational skills. An effort is made to match a student's need with a tutor's skills and training. Tutors receive training through monthly topical workshops and consultations.

How are ARC services provided?

Tutorial sessions can be provided in face-to-face meetings at school, on the phone, using online communication tools like Skype and editing tools like "track changes." Typically, tutors will have an initial face-to-face appointment with a new student to understand the student's needs. Subsequent meetings are arranged based on the format which best suits the student's needs as well as the student and tutor schedules. In the fall of 2014, a series of Writer's Workshops will be offered to teach and practice essential skills for writing APA style professional papers.

How often are tutorial sessions scheduled?

Sessions can be scheduled on an as-needed basis. If a student is requesting help with a paper, the paper should be submitted to the tutor at least one week in advance so the tutor has time to review it. Students should work closely with their tutors to insure that there is sufficient time to make suggested changes. There may be times when a particular tutor is not available because of other work or study commitments. In those cases, every effort is made to find another tutor to assist the student.

Can tutors provide help with course content?

No. ARC tutors are not able to help students with course content. For help understanding and applying course material, students must go to the course instructor or teacher's aide.

How does a student access ARC tutorial services?

A student interested in ARC services should complete the ARC Referral Form (Word .doc) and return it to the ARC coordinator by email or phone. A brief meeting will be arranged to match the student with an appropriate tutor.

What accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities?

In keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act, ARC personnel will insure that students with temporary or permanent documented disabilities are provided with reasonable accommodations which allow them equal access to course content. Depending on a student's needs, accommodations may include adaptations such as:

  • Extended time on exams
  • Extended assignment deadlines for medical reasons
  • A quiet, distraction-free room for exams
  • Texts available digitally
  • Option to leave the classroom for short breaks when necessary
  • Transcription of dialogue on audio or video clips

A reasonable accommodation does NOT require a program to alter curricula in order to meet academic needs.

How does a student obtain accommodations?

Formal documentation of a disability should be submitted to the Coordinator of the ARC ( After a review of documentation and a meeting with the Coordinator, a plan of appropriate services will be offered and a letter will be drafted stipulating reasonable accommodations.

Updated 3/31/14

For more information, please contact

Joan Axelrod, MEd Coordinator of the Academic Resource Center
617-564-9325 (office)
617-477-2003 (fax)

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