On the ARC: An Introduction to the GAFs and the ARC

The summer months are over, and for many college freshmen and sophomores, the transition back into an academic atmosphere can be a challenging one. NYU Shanghai has created a sound support system in order to assist those who are looking for additional help when it comes to their classes and academic life here at the university.

NYU Shanghai primarily encourages students to be proactive learners throughout the next four years. By going to class, taking notes, asking questions, engaging in group conversations, and talking with the professor after class, students can become successful in their academic life. College classes can be difficult, though, and additional help is very conveniently built into the structure of the university’s Department of Academic Affairs. NYU Shanghai’s Academic Resource Center (ARC) and the Global Academic Fellows (GAFs) are here to help all freshmen, sophomores, and study-away students in a variety of different academic subjects.

The GAFs are accomplished recent graduates from top universities around the world. They are on a 10-month fellowship at NYU Shanghai to work in higher education and to serve as academic mentors and tutors. Having excelled in their own Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs as students, the GAFs bring their skills, diverse backgrounds, and passions to disciplines ranging from Writing to Natural Sciences, or Mathematics to Business & Finance, or Computer Science.

While the GAF role spans several different parts of the university – students might see GAFs coaching a sports team or advising a club, for example – their main duty is staffing the ARC and conducting tutoring and teaching of recitations. If a student is struggling with a thesis statement for their first GPS paper, they can make an appointment with a Writing GAF. If a freshman doesn’t understand a new concept in Foundations of Science, they can go to the ARC during GAF tutoring hours. The team of 28 GAFs is there to help, and students are encouraged to ask them questions and make appointments for individual and group tutoring services.

GAFs also strive to create an intellectual culture within the university. They organize workshops about how to avoid plagiarism, how to prepare for exams, and also convene discussion groups on interesting topics, such as Philosophy or Economics. Diane Geng, Director of Academic Resources, explained how the ARC can be a place not just for when students struggle, but for those wanting to make measured improvements in their writing or understanding of a subject. “One-on-one attention is a rare and valuable service for any student,” said Geng. “Even if you feel that you are already a strong writer or great at math, you can still benefit from getting personalized feedback from a professional tutor and scholar on your individual thinking and academic progress.”

The GAFs will be staffing several events during orientation. Students are encouraged to look out for ARC events and to drop by the ARC to say hello to the GAFs and ask any questions.

This article was written by Charlotte Evans. Send an email to news@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Zhang Zhan

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