Academic Edge

By Becky Duncan

While all parents want to believe their children recognize and know to ask for help when encountering difficulties in classes, the truth is, not all do. Conversely, when they do recognize their need, they may not always know where to turn for help. The Student Resources department at ORU, under the leadership of Danny Ziriax, provides a variety of resources to help your child transition to college life and excel in his/her pursuits.

One such program is the Academic Peer Advisor Program. Just as its name indicates, the APAP consists of a group of your child’s peers trained to provide academic assistance as well as mentoring with adjusting to college life. To qualify to become an Academic Peer Advisor (APA) a student must have completed a minimum of one semester at ORU, have a GPA of at least 3.0 and complete an application/interview process. Students selected for the program provide the following academic services for ORU students: One-2-One Coaching, Study Night Live (SNL), Mentoring by Major (MBM) and Study Stops.

Recognizing a need for personalized and focused tutoring, Danny Ziriax and his wife Molly, an ORU Alum, developed the One-2-One coaching program. The One-2-One program provides coaches from within the APAP who are available at least two hours per week for individual tutoring in specific areas. At the time of fall 2010 mid-terms, the One-2-One coaching program had assisted over 70 students. Additionally, if your child needs help in a specialized subject area, perhaps an area in their major, they may contact Danny Ziriax at to be connected with the appropriate APA. This may be the answer for your child if he/she becomes distracted in groups or needs personal, focused attention. The directory of coaches, subjects and contact information can be accessed online by going to and selecting the tutoring link on the left. A link to the tutoring directory is available in the One-2-One section.

Study Night Live (SNL) meets every Thursday evening in either Fireside or Zoppelt for group tutoring. If your child learns best in a group, SNL may be the answer for their academic woes. Key elements in this program are group study and leaning on and learning from each other. Each week new subjects are announced in an attempt to cover as many subjects as possible. The subjects covered usually follow the schedule of upcoming tests. Coverage of specific subjects can be requested at A schedule of subjects is posted on bulletin boards and on the big screens around campus.

Mentoring by Major (MBM) is a new program available through the APA program. This tutoring option links a current APA with another student in the same major who is struggling connecting to and fitting in with college life. APAs focus on mentoring and guidance in this program, however, academic tutoring often becomes a part of the mentoring process provided by MBM.

Study Stops are hosted weekly by APAs on each dorm floor. During Study Stops, APAs provide a “fun” activity to provide a time for relaxing and unwinding. Though the primary function of Study Stops is to break from studying, time is allotted as needed to help with homework or to host an impromptu study group. Ziriax has found that Study Stops have a side benefit of fostering unity on the dorm floors.

Two other options available through the Student Resources Department are SMARTHINKING and a CD library. SMARTHINKING is a free online tutoring program available through D2L. This service is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. With SMARTHINKING students can connect with an e-structor and interact with a live tutor, schedule a personal session with an e-structor of choice, submit a written paper for any class to the Online Writing lab for a line by line critique and feedback and submit a question and receive a reply from a tutor.

Additionally, Student Resources is implementing a library of CDs available for all students to check out. The CDs offer advice on a wide array of topics such as how to improve grades, how to write a research paper, how to study more effectively as well as many other subjects.

If you received any warning signs that your child may need academic help or other mentoring, please feel free to contact the APA program or point your child in their direction. At ORU, we want your child to meet and exceed their academic goals.

Student Resources is located on the 5th floor of the LRC. If you would like more information about the APA program, tutoring or other services provided by the Student Resources department, Danny Ziriax may be reached at 918.495.6513 or