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Academic-Support Environment Impacts Learner Affect in Higher Education


Unlike university classrooms, academic support services provide students opportunities for enactive mastery of a skill with immediate feedback in a low-risk learning environment. Given that this environment likely alters affective states, this study tracked support-seekers’ perception (n=107) of their anxiety and confidence before and after repeated 1 hour academic skill development sessions (n=384). Results showed that academic-support environment had a robust, immediate, and long-lasting effect on decreasing anxiety and increasing confidence. Positive outcomes such as reduced anxiety and increased confidence during an academic skill development session were associated with increased academic performance. There was a high rate of participants (98%) persisting into the next year of their program. Together this study demonstrates that the academic-support environment can provide intervention in the form of enhancing affective states in situations of high anxiety and low confidence to potentially affect academic outcomes and retention rates.

Published: 2023-03-07
Pages:47 to 59
How to Cite
Voisin, L. E., Phillips, C. ., & Afonso, V. M. (2023). Academic-Support Environment Impacts Learner Affect in Higher Education. Student Success, 14(1), 47-59.

Author Biographies

Nipissing University
Canada Canada

Lindsey Voisin (M.Ed.) combines relationship building and research in her role as Student Learning Coordinator at Nipissing University, Canada. Her previous research focused on students with caregiving responsibilities and the student/supporter relationship. For her day-job, she works alongside students to develop confident independence and begins every appointment by asking, "what brings us together today?"

Nipissing University
Canada Canada

Dr. Casey Phillips earned his Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Educational Sustainability from Nipissing University, Canada.  He currently holds the position of Assistant Vice-President, Students at Nipissing where he oversees the entire Student Development and Services division. Previous research collaborations focused on food education through skill enhancement and development.  Current research interests focused on Secondary Traumatic Stress among student leaders in a post secondary educational environment.

Nipissing University
Canada Canada

Dr. Veronica Afonso as a student services professional has experienced the other side of student success at Nipissing University after transitioning out of a professor role. Previous coauthored journal publications and book chapters focused on the neurobiology of learning; her new research is anchored in the learning that occurs outside the classroom. Adapting to the ever-evolving landscape in higher education requires a sense of humor and an innovative mind. 

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795