Introducing the CALS Learning Lab: Powered by the SALT Center

Laurel Grigg Mason, Director of Bartlett Labs

Great things happen when two willing partners commit to an idea. Two years ago, the seeds of an idea were planted when Shane Burgess, Charles-Sander Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), approached our Executive Director, Gabrielle Miller, about working together to support students in his college. Thanks to a $1 million gift from a long-time CALS donor and alumnus, we launched the CALS Learning Lab: Powered by the SALT Center for Fall 2021.

All students enrolled in CALS majors will have access to learning support directly within the college. The most important and exciting component is the placement of one of our learning support professionals, Shawnda Garcia, at the Forbes building – the main hub for CALS students on campus. As the CALS SALT Center Learning Coach, all CALS students will be able to meet with Shawnda for assistance with various aspects of college academics, including learning strategies, time management, and goal setting. Academic advisors and other college personnel can also refer students who experience academic challenges.

In addition to working with students directly, Shawnda will connect them with various tutoring, disability, and health and wellness resources across campus as needed. Shawnda will also host learning skills workshops and provide learner-centered information to students via social media and in courses designed for first-year students. The support she can provide is great for all students and essential for those facing learning difficulties.

Additionally, the SALT Center will provide ongoing training and consultation to CALS staff. We will increase the capacity of CALS academic advisors to recognize, support, and refer students facing academic struggles, especially when learning disabilities or ADHD are identified or suspected.

The strength of this partnership is threefold: (1) CALS advisors will have the knowledge and skills to better support the students they work with, (2) CALS students will have easier access to beneficial services that can increase their success in the classroom, (3) the SALT Center will increase our capacity to support our campus colleagues and students who would not otherwise have access to our services. We are thrilled to embark on this partnership with a college that is so dedicated to supporting its students.

Learn More

Our new partnership with the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences operates under the direction and supervision of Bartlett Labs, the assessment, research, and training arm of the SALT Center. To learn more, visit