Skip to main content

About ASLA

Our Mission

Academic Support and Learning Advancement supports the diverse community of Northwestern undergraduates in achieving their full academic potential. We strive to enhance the undergraduate academic experience at Northwestern by using research-based programming to help students
  • make successful academic transitions from high school to Northwestern, and continuously expand their capacity to be successful at Northwestern;
  • practice productive ways of thinking about themselves as learners, contributing to their overall wellness;
  • learn course material deeply, for long-term academic growth;
  • develop critical skills for learning, including effective study strategies, self-advocacy, and perseverance through academic challenges; and
  • reap the benefits of collaboration across a diverse community of learners.

ASLA is a branch of the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, and as such uses research-based approaches to supporting learning, and contributes to scholarly conversations around undergraduate student learning.

ASLA's Core Principles

  1. All Northwestern students have the capacity to be academically successful.
  2. “Academic success” means developing beyond one’s current limits, continuously becoming a more effective learner, and finding meaning and satisfaction in one’s academic work.
  3. Confusion and intellectual struggle are expected and necessary components of learning – not signs of failure.
  4. Learning collaboratively can offer benefits beyond what solo learning affords, including broadened perspectives on course material, exposure to new ways of thinking and doing, practice explaining one’s ideas, and new connections to fellow learners.
  5. An effective learning environment promotes awareness of the structural and interpersonal biases that hamper learning, especially for those with marginalized identities, and the actions that help to counter those biases.
  6. Seeking help with academic challenges is a critical skill both at Northwestern and beyond.
  7. Student academic success is a partnership among students, faculty, and many others at the University.
  8. Research-based programming brings best results. Our programming is based on research, and we consistently evaluate our programs to ensure we’re meeting our goals. Read some of the research conducted on our programs.

We welcome you to explore our offerings and contact us for more information.