A new space for a new ACE

  • Students at work in the newly renovated Academic Center for Enrichment.

  • The new Academic Center for Enrichment provides a place for students to study on their own or with their peers.

  • Complimentary tea and hot cocoa help make ACE a homey space.

This year, Interlochen Arts Academy continues its commitment to academic excellence by revamping several facets of the Academic Center for Enrichment (ACE).

The center, which opened during the last Academy year, will move into a new facility that combines classrooms three and four of the Mott Rotunda. The space has been renovated to include both quiet areas for individual study and larger spaces for collaborative learning. Learning Specialist Michael Kern said that the facility is designed to feel homey, an atmosphere that he hopes will help students to feel relaxed and able to ask for help. The design also respects the existing footprint of the historic building.

Students in the center will be aided not only by Kern and a group of private tutors, but also ACE Assistants and peer tutors. The peer tutors have been hand-selected by math and science faculty, while several of the ACE Assistants are residence life staff members who have backgrounds in education. Kern and his staff are placing an emphasis on providing professional development opportunities for the ACE Assistants, which will not only aid them in their future career objectives, but will also provide immediate benefits to students in ACE programs.

In addition to the new facility, Kern has also renovated the traditional Interlochen 101 program. The Interlochen 101 program is designed to introduce freshman and first-year sophomore students to the resources available at Interlochen Arts Academy and to the science of learning and effective study techniques. This year, Kern has been working with Nancy Crummel, Shelly Wood and Karen Mueller of Health Services and David Tanis and Brad Giglio of Wellness and Recreation to add new modules on general wellness, mental health and health education to the curriculum.

Kern has also introduced a theme for ACE this year: The Power of Yet. Inspired by the work of psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck, the “Year of Yet” challenges students to consider the mindset they bring to their studies. Kern and the ACE staff encourage students to think not in terms of absolute negatives, but in terms of yet, such as “I don’t know it yet,” “I haven’t learned it yet,” or “I haven’t finished it yet.” Through the power of yet, Kern hopes to create a growth mindset among the ACE students.

The new ACE opened on Sept. 27, 2017, and will host a celebratory open house on Oct. 9.