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Clarke Opens Center for Academic Excellence

By Clarke News  |  January 16, 2024

Clarke Opens Center for Academic Excellence  

As students returned to campus for the spring semester, many added a visit to Clarke’s Center for Academic Excellence to their to-do list. 

Renovations to the ground floor of the Nicholas J. Schrup Library and the Lingen Technology Commons created a new home for some of Clarke’s most critical support services, including Academic Advising, the Margaret Mann Academic Resource Center, the Writing Center, and Career Services. While previously housed across campus, the curated space creates a one-stop shop for students. 

“Clarke has always been student-focused and bringing our diverse teams together showcases that,” said Heidi Rhinehart ’09, Director of Academic Advising. “Often, the first hurdle to getting help is knowing where to turn. By having so many resources within arm’s reach, we know we can connect them to the services they need.” 

Beyond the benefit to students, the departments are also enjoying the chance to collaborate with one another on new projects and opportunities. For example, Gina Burkart, Director of Learning Services and Benjamin Drury ’10, Director of Career Services are working on ways to tie first-year courses to students’ larger career goals. 

“Figuring out where students are headed has a positive impact on motivation and retention, and in Compass Seminar 110 we have students reach out to someone in their field,” Gina said. “Benjamin can help with that and reinforce the importance of the assignment. It might even get students connected with an internship or job that will give them valuable experience early in their college career.” 

“Working together so closely creates a holistic approach to the student experience,” Benjamin added. “We have so many sources of support at Clarke, a student need can be handled in multiple ways. The Center for Academic Excellence has private office spaces for those deeper, meaningful conversations, as well as breakout tables and a conference room where you can share big ideas with others. There is an energy to this space that we’re all really excited about.” 

Are you interested in supporting academic excellence at Clarke? Consider making a gift! Connect with the Institutional Advancement Office by phone at (563)588-6405 or email