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Academic Support

Maximize your learning experience

Located in the lower level of the Student Life Center, Academic Student Connections offers a variety of services that empower students to maximize their learning experiences at SAU. Whether you’re looking for resources to help with studying, writing or addressing learning challenges, Academic Student Connections is here to help!

General Studies

General Studies (GES) courses are designed to strengthen the study, reading, writing or math performance of students who need additional prerequisite skills to be successful in college. Visit the Academic Student Connections office to find out if a GES course is the right choice for you.

GES Course Descriptions

GES 050 Workshop for Michigan Basic Skills Test (no credit)

This course is designed to help teacher education students assess needs and practice strategies to review for the math portion of the MBST. Study sessions will be scheduled five to six weeks prior to announced MBST times in October, January and April. (Offered in fall and spring.)

GES 060 Online Orientation Course (no credit)

In this course, online students explore and develop an understanding of the key issues of online learning that directly or indirectly impact online student achievement. The course also facilitates the development of basic proficiency in the use of Blackboard, the Spring Arbor University online learning environment.

GES 100 Writing Experience (1-2)

This is a course designed for students who have successfully or unsuccessfully completed ENG 103 and need more writing development experience before taking ENG 104. In this process-oriented class, writing and rewriting of all papers is expected. Writers will develop an idea into a complete paper. One additional lab hour a week is required for individual feedback from the instructor. By permission from the Learning Center only. (Offered in fall, interim and spring.)

GES 110 Study Enhancement (1)

This is a course for incoming students needing modeling and practice of successful study skill enhancement. The primary topics include time management, learning styles, goal setting and strategies for test taking, note taking and reading. GES 112 is required as follow-up. (Offered in fall and spring.)

GES 112 Application: Study Strategies (1)

This course emphasizes the application of learning strategies presented in GES 110 and GES 116. Students will monitor their work in a select course through weekly tutorial sessions. The use of student-designed contracts help move students toward self-management and application of successful study habits. Prerequisite: GES 110 or permission from the Learning Center. (Offered in spring.)

GES 115 College Reading I (2)

(Entrance test required.) This is a developmental reading course to assist new or returning students with strategies for using university textbooks. Skills covered include locating main ideas, drawing inferences, summarizing and vocabulary development. (Offered in spring.)

GES 116 Reading and Study Assistance Program (3)

(Entrance test required.) This is a course designed to prepare students to successfully handle college-level reading and study tasks. Goal-setting and time management are included early in the semester. Throughout the course, the focus will be on interactive strategies for handling reading, vocabulary development, note-taking and test-taking in targeted general education courses. GES 112 required as a follow-up in the spring. (Offered in fall.)

GES 120 Life/Work Planning (1)

Through group interaction and varied approaches, students are guided toward self-discovery of skills, interests and values for the purpose of relating their uniqueness to career choices. This course also includes an overview of career fields and current labor market trends. Graded S/U. (Offered in spring.)

GES 310 Principles of Grant Writing (2)

Designed for individuals who are new to writing grants, this course will help students writing grants to explore funding publications, newsletters and hidden funding sources. (Offered in weekend college only.)

GES 132 Intermediate Grammar (2-3)

This grammar course will focus on understanding and use of complex grammatical structures. A detailed editing procedure for written work will be introduced and practiced throughout the semester. (Limited offering.)

GES 133 Intermediate Reading (4)

This reading course will emphasize reading strategies to help students understand the organization and content of a text. Increasing reading speed will also be a major focus. (Limited offering.)

GES 134 Intermediate Writing Workshop (1-4)

This course will focus on the organization of writing at the sentence and paragraph level. Students will learn to write topic sentences and develop each topic within a paragraph through clear explanations and examples. Effective use of transition words will be emphasized and practiced. (Limited offering.)

GES 135 Intermediate Listening and Speaking (1-4)

This course will focus on developing each student’s ability to communicate fluently and accurately by integrating listening, speaking and pronunciation practice. Specific listening and speaking strategies that focus on the American culture as well as the expectations and requirements of the American classroom will be studied and practiced. (Limited offering.)

English as a Second Language

English as a Second Language (ESL) courses prepare students for the university classroom by examining facets of academic English. Topics such as writing research papers, reading, effectively using the library, developing computer skills and learning to think critically are emphasized and reinforced throughout each class. Active learning is encouraged through small classes, qualified instructors and the use of technology.

ESL Course Descriptions

GES 131 ESL Intermediate Foundations I (2-4)

This integrated skills English course will emphasize reading, writing, listening/speaking and grammar. The specific focus will be on reading strategies, presentation skills, summary writing, introduction to essay writing and comprehension and analysis of a variety of authentic texts. (Limited offering.)

GES 141 ESL Advanced Foundations II (4)

This integrated skills English course will emphasize reading, writing, listening/speaking and grammar. The specific focus will be expository writing, critical analysis, focused listening, note taking and analysis of academic texts. (Limited offering.)


Academic Student Connections seeks to provide equal access, accommodation and support for individuals with disabilities. In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended in 1992 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Academic Student Connections is proactive in developing specialized accommodations to support the ability of each individual eligible for such services. Academic Student Connections personnel consult with students, then accept, evaluate and maintain documentation (consistent with ADA guidelines), establish or negotiate reasonable accommodations to reduce academic barriers for students and notify professors of the necessary accommodations for the students in their classrooms. 

Each year, students having need for accommodations must notify Academic Student Connections of their continuing desire for services. Requests for any type of digitized textbooks should be given one month in advance. Students are responsible for providing documentation and communicating with the Academic Student Connections staff of any need for adjustment or modification of the support plan established.


Academic Student Connections

Confidential documentation may be sent to:
Academic Student Connections
Spring Arbor University
106 E. Main St., Spring Arbor, MI 49283
F: 517.750.6660