The SLC leaders, who began their new positions this summer:
Lee Cope, who previously served as director of university tutorial services in SLC, has been named executive director of the center.
Katharine Johnson has been appointed interim director of university tutorial services. She previously served as assistant director of academic strategy instruction.
Travis Erickson, a former BCHS faculty member and adviser, has been named director of auxiliary services. He took over the position from Wes Waugh, who retired from SLC in June.
Established in 1972, Appalachian’s SLC, a unit of University College, provides services — including tutoring and academic strategy instruction — designed to make higher education accessible by providing students the insights they need to navigate their college environment successfully.
Due to COVID-19, SLC is offering all of its services via Zoom this fall.
About the SLC leaders
Executive director of SLC
Cope joined Appalachian’s SLC in February 2018 as director of university tutorial services (UTS), bringing to the role several years of experience in coordinating academic student growth by promoting and improving peer tutoring, supplemental instruction and study skills support.
As director of UTS, Cope developed a peer leadership model that employs highly qualified undergraduate students as tutoring coordinators and assistant tutoring coordinators and also increased accessibility to tutorial services through technological advances. Cope has helped plan and presented at the Southeastern College Learning Center Association (SECLCA), of which he is currently vice president, and the National College Learning Center Association (NCLCA). He will serve as NCLCA president next year, bringing the regional conference to Appalachian in summer 2021.
“The Student Learning Center is open to collaborations and doing whatever we can as far as being a resource for faculty, staff and students,” Cope said. “I want to make this a meaningful experience for the students while they’re here — to engage them in learning and help them grow and be challenged but do so in a way that’s empowering for them as far as taking ownership of their own educational process.”
Among Cope’s goals for SLC is for the center to achieve NCLCA Learning Center of Excellence designation. By achieving this designation, Appalachian’s SLC would join seven other certified collegiate learning centers in the U.S. in exceeding high standards for enhancing student learning.
A native of McDowell County, Cope earned a B.A. in sociology and a B.A. in Spanish from Mars Hill College in 2004. He earned his Master of Liberal Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2011 while researching sustainability through the lenses of environmental sociology and the sociology of religion.
Johnson has been working in higher education for almost 20 years and has an extensive background in career coaching and services. In 2017, she began serving as SLC’s assistant director of academic strategy instruction and, from this position, segued into academic support services, using her background in career development to help students transition to college by aiding them in strengthening skills such as time management, organization, effective reading and study methods.
One of Johnson’s primary goals in her new position is to “promote this idea of a continuum of services so that we can serve all students and meet them where they are,” she said. “Not everyone needs the same level of service. You could get as much help or as little help as you need, depending on where you are and what your needs are. We really want to help students be independent learners.”
“One of the things that I really enjoy about my job is helping students see how taking care of their whole self is actually beneficial to their ability to learn and be a successful college student,” she said. “Sometimes students feel so much pressure worrying about a grade that they’ve lost their love of learning. I try to remind them that they’re choosing to be here because they care about and want to invest in themselves.”
Johnson received both her Master of Education in counseling and guidance services (1998) and a Bachelor of Arts in history (1994) from Clemson University.
As SLC’s director of auxiliary services, Erickson works to maintain the center’s infrastructure and tutoring software. He said his goal is “to support everyone who works in the Student Learning Center by providing them with easy access to tools to help serve our students.”
According to Erickson, SLC’s online tutoring services — offered this fall due to COVID-19 — not only help students succeed academically, but offer a social network and social support system.
“The SLC can create a community for students,” Erickson said. He added that learning labs, especially, allow students to interact with one another in a meaningful way due to their more informal setting.
He credits the center’s student workers for their leadership efforts in helping SLC provide thousands of hours of tutoring each year. “If it weren’t for our student workers, we wouldn’t have a Student Learning Center,” Erickson said.
Erickson holds a graduate degree in human performance and an undergraduate degree in exercise and sports science, both from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He has worked as a personal trainer, strength coach, track and field coach, lecturer and academic adviser.
Established in 1972, the Student Learning Center at Appalachian State University, which is part of Appalachian's University College, provides six core services designed to make higher education accessible by providing students the insights they need to navigate their college environment successfully. These services include tutorial services and academic strategy instruction, which are offered to all undergraduate students, and four additional services — ACCESS, Student Support Services, As-U-R and Academic Services for Student Athletes — which serve specific groups of students identified as needing comprehensive support.
Established in 1972, the Disco Student Learning Center (SLC) at Appalachian State University — part of App State’s University College — provides holistic support services for undergraduate and graduate students that are designed to enrich their academic, personal and professional lives. These services, which help students foster self-advocacy and develop academic independence, include tutoring, mentoring, coaching, academic strategy instruction and executive skill development. Learn more at https://studentlearningcenter.appstate.edu.
About University College
Formed in 2007, University College consists of the university’s general education program, faculty and student support, and co-curricular programming and support – all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside the classroom. All students at Appalachian begin their education in University College and benefit from its programs until they graduate. Learn more at https://universitycollege.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.