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Academic Center for Excellence

Academic Center for Excellence2018-11-05T11:30:46+00:00

We’re Here to Support Your Education

Objectives of The Academic Center for Excellence (ACE)

While the first semester of freshman year of college can represent fulfillment of long-held dreams, it can also lead to anxious students struggling to adjust to their new campus life. Statistics show that the largest numbers of students who leave College do so at the end of the first-year, and that is also true at Saint Joseph’s College.

The Academic Center for Excellence, located on the third floor in Alfond Hall, enables the College to consolidate and more effectively utilize academic services – such as study skills workshops offered by Career Development, writing tutors offered by the Writing Center, academic tutoring within various departments, and accommodations for students with disabilities. The purpose of the center is to connect students, particularly those in the first and second years, more easily with support services.

The Academic Center for Excellence was initially and partially funded through a generous six-year grant from the Melmac Education Foundation in Augusta, Maine, to forward their “Early Success in College” initiative. A primary goal of MELMAC is to increase student retention in College, specifically in the first and second years.

First-Year Experience

As part of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), the First-Year Experience (FYE) Seminar, which is taught by faculty members, runs during the fall semester and addresses the challenges first-year students face. It highlights resources that support student success in areas of critical thinking and effective reading and writing skills that can be applied across each student’s curriculum. By actively supporting students as they transition to college, the FYE Seminar helps students grow and prosper as productive members of the Saint Joseph’s College campus community and the wider community as well. The program has proven to be a valuable tool for our first-year students and the College as a whole. In fact, we recently added a FYE section, specifically designed for undeclared students.

For our new students, the FYE Seminar is a one-credit, semester-long course that emphasizes self-development through areas such as:

  • Academic enrichment
  • Applied knowledge
  • Higher-level thinking
  • Socio-economic perspectives

For questions regarding FYE please contact:

Shanna Webster, Director of Academic Center for Excellence
Office 325, Alfond Hall
Phone: 207-893-7563

group photo of the 2018-19 Peer Mentors

Peer Mentoring

How will your decisions today affect where you are tomorrow? What will your legacy be? How do you want your time at Saint Joseph’s to be remembered?

Make your mark by becoming a Peer Mentor.

Peer Mentors are certified student leaders that serve as a resource to the first-year student population as they embark on their new college experience. Peer Mentors engage in leadership and professional development training allowing them to co-instruct the First-Year Experience Seminar (FY 101) course, required for all first-year students, with an on-campus faculty or staff member.

Each first-year student is assigned a Peer Mentor, who is available to them inside and outside of the classroom.

Peer Mentors

  • aid students in their transition to college life
  • direct students to college resources, activities, opportunities
  • share their personal experiences with students
MaryClaire Attisano holds up a "high five," which is the symbol of Peer Mentors

“I’m excited to inspire new students. In the first few days of moving to campus, everything is new. I’m someone they can turn to.” – Mary Claire Attisano ’20, peer mentor


The Peer Mentor Program is certified as a Level II/Advanced Mentoring Program by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA), an international organization of learning-assistance professionals. CRLA certifies programs based on established training components and the level of peer mentor interactions with first-year students.

Why become a Peer Mentor?

Current sophomore, junior, and senior students are eligible to apply to the Peer Mentor Program.

  • Transferrable leadership, professional, and communication skills (valuable for real-world experience)
  • Paid position
  • Opportunity to collaborate and develop working relationships with faculty and staff
  • Résumé builder
  • Enhanced knowledge of academic and student life resources and services
  • Work with fellow peers and develop team building skills
  • Serve as a resource for first-year students

How do I apply? 

  • Regularly check your SJC e-mail for campus e-mails from the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) with application details
  • Applications are also available in ACE, Room 326, Alfond Hall anytime

Do you have questions pertaining to Peer Mentor requirements and/or responsibilities, basic program component, or the application materials and/or requirements? If so, please contact one of our committee members, or email

Shanna Webster, Director, ACE I 207-893-7563 I
Nate Rohman, Peer Mentor Coordinator I 207-893-7561

Peer Academic Leaders (PALs)

PALs focus on peer-to-peer support for students in need of academic recovery and/or peer engagement.

Working closely with ACE professional staff, these PALs student interns:

  • provide academic support in the form of one-on-one mentoring;
  • support transfer students during their transition;
  • plan and promote academic programming centered around the needs of all SJC students.


PALs undergo extensive training with ACE staff to prepare and develop their skills to support SJC students. The intent for PALs, Peer Mentor, and Peer Tutor Programs will be to receive Level III certification through the College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA). These certifications will provide the tools, experiences, and skill sets required for their roles, for their professional development, as well as providing the highest level of support and professionalism to students.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center at Saint Joseph’s College provides a free consulting service on any type of writing project for students, faculty, and staff. Our trained staff provides one-on-one and small-group tutoring during all stages of the writing process, including but not limited to: understanding an assignment; developing and supporting arguments; drafting and revising; and proofreading and editing.

What we do:

During sessions in the Writing Center, you can expect your tutor to:

  • Support your growth as a writer through all stages of the writing process
  • Advance your individual writing goals
  • Focus tutoring sessions on concrete and specific writing concerns
  • Suggest self-assessment strategies
  • Provide strategies and resources for writing, revising, and editing paper


Shanna Webster ’04, ’09
Director, Academic Center for Excellence (ACE)
Office #325

Holly Sanborn
Associate Director, ACE
Manager, ADA Accommodations
Office #328

June Irvine ’09
Program Manager, ACE
Academic Support Initiatives
Office #304

Nathan Rohman
Support Specialist, ACE
Office # 309


Alfond Hall
room 326 & 327


Saint Joseph’s College has teamed up with SALT, a new membership program, to help our students manage their money and student loans.