Academic Success Center

The Academic Success Center at Mercyhurst North East coordinates some of the many programs and services available to students as they enter into and navigate college life. Upon acceptance to Mercyhurst North East, each student is assigned to an Academic Success Coach. The Academic Success Coach meets with students as much as needed to discuss and/or address concerns about the student’s academic progress. It is the responsibility of the student to utilize these services by contacting their Academic Success Coach if they wish to schedule an appointment. A typical meeting with your Academic Success Coach may consist of:

  • Discussing concerns about your academic performance
  • Discussing concerns regarding academic procedures and policies
  • Setting goals to improve academic progress
  • Reviewing study skills strategies
  • Identifying your learning styles
  • Reviewing time management strategies
  • Career and vocational counseling
  • Referral to other campus services as appropriate

For more information, please contact

Academic Success Center Coaches

The Academic Success Center is staffed by caring professionals whose priority is to assist MNE students looking for additional help with academics and navigating through the numerous obstacles that can come with the college experience.
Doug Gifford
Director, Academic Success Center
Academic Success Coach
Office: Miller Hall, 10A
Phone: 814-725-6323
Responsibilities: Doug works with all students who seek his help on a variety of topics.  Supervises the services offered by the Academic Success Center.  
Biography: Doug earned a BA in History from Penn State Behrend in 2004, received his teaching certification from Mercyhurst University in 2005 and began work on a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership through Edinboro University in 2006.  He started at Titusville Area School District in 2006 as a social studies teacher and in 2013 was the Assistant Principal of the high school. In 2014, he became the principal of Titusville Middle School.  In his free time Doug enjoys the outdoors, in particular hunting, fishing, and camping. He has two kids, Will and Henry.  Doug is also part owner of a family Christmas Tree farm in Wattsburg, PA.
Laurie Baker
Academic Success Coach
Assessment Specialist/Instructor
Office:  Miller 11B
Phone: 814-725-6141
Responsibilities: Serves as Academic Counselor for students in the following programs: Associate of Science in Nursing, Practical Nursing, Allied Health Programs (OTA, PTA, RT, MLT, Health Studies).
Biography: Laurie grew up in Erie. She graduated from East High School, then attended Gannon University earning a bachelor’s degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education, and Mercyhurst College earning a master’s degree in Special Education. Laurie has been a member of the Academic Success Team since 2014.  In addition, Laurie has been teaching as an adjunct instructor in the Liberal Arts and Early Childhood Education Departments here at MNE since 2009.  Previously, Laurie spent several years working in adult education teaching General Educational Development (GED) classes and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in Erie for the Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit. She began her career teaching second grade for the Erie School District. Currently, Laurie resides in North East with her husband and three daughters. In her spare time, she coordinates the Grapevine TimeXchange. This organization is a time bank that strengthens the community by building trusting relationships through mutual service exchanges using time credit instead of money. To relax, Laurie attempts to keep up with a daily practice of yoga/meditation and encourages her students to give this a try. 

Career Services

One of the reasons you chose Mercyhurst University was to help begin or advance your career. The Career Center was established to assist you in reaching your goals. Whether you would like to explore internships, careers, or furthering your education, the Career Center can provide tools and guidance to help. Services and resources include:

  • Assistance in the internship and externship selection and coordination process.
  • Posting of job openings and internship opportunities.
  • Helping to identify skills, strengths, and interests.
  • Vocational and career counseling.
  • Resume writing counseling and assistance.
  • Job search, networking, and interviewing skills development.
  • Annual career fairs and employer visits.
  • Assistance in the job/internship search process through our HANDSHAKE system.
  • Computers and career related brochures and information.

For additional information about Career Services, please contact Heather Balas by phone at 814-824-2078 or email at

Learning Differences

Learning is an individual process in which everyone learns at different rates and in different ways.  Mercyhurst University North East Learning Differences ensures that qualified individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in educational programs offered at the University. The office prides itself on teaching students to be self-advocates and guiding them toward independence. In keeping with its mission of service, Learning Differences offers eligible students, who have a disability, reasonable accommodations to assist them with reaching their academic goals. The office is structured to meet the guidelines of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

What can Learning Differences do for those who qualify for service?

  • Provide information regarding campus disability policies and procedures to students and assure the availability of campus policies and procedures in accessible formats upon request
  • Determine reasonable and necessary accommodations and/or auxiliary aids on a course-by-course, term-by-term basis when requested by an eligible student
  • Assist eligible students in the coordination of approved accommodations and/or auxiliary aids by completing an Instructor Notification of Accommodation letter for each of the student’s applicable courses
  • Consultation with instructor and student to discuss accommodation when requested
  • Test proctoring for any applicable exams requiring the use of assistive technologies
  • Assistance in converting class materials into accessible formats or advice on other types of auxiliary aids that can be used in classroom instruction;
  • Consultation with academic departments on issues such as adaptive technology, reasonable accommodations and classroom instruction for students with disabilities
  • Referral to other campus services

How do I know if I’m eligible for Learning Differences services?

At Mercyhurst University North East, it is the student’s responsibility to disclose their disability to Learning Differences staff in order to request accommodation.  Any student who has a history of a diagnosed disability; suspects that he/she may have a disability; or is seeking accommodation for academics, programs or services at the University must contact:

Mathew Wise, MA
Learning Differences Coordinator
Office: Miller Hall, 9A
Phone: 814-725-6376

Peer Tutoring

The Peer Tutoring Center is located in the new Academic Success Center in Miller 118. Students do not have to make an appointment to use this free service, but can drop in at any time their designated tutor is available.

Who are the Peer Tutors?

  • Students who are currently enrolled in classes at Mercyhurst University North East
  • Students who have taken the course for which they are tutoring and earned a B or better
  • Students currently enrolled in the course who are on their way to earning an A
  • All peer-tutors have been recommended by instructors and have at least a 3.0 GPA
  • All peer-tutors have completed a thorough application and training process

How can Peer Tutoring help?

  • Learn one-on-one or in a small group with more individual attention
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Understand the subject matter
  • Clarify assignments
  • Review previous assignments and tests
  • Prepare homework and projects
  • Improve study techniques
  • Improve time management
  • Improve your grade
  • Raise your overall GPA

How can I get help?

For more information, email or go online to TutorTrac to view drop-in hours or to book your appointment today!

Writing Center

The Writing Center at Mercyhurst North East is staffed by writing consultants who have achieved a B or higher in Research and Writing and is a free service available to all Mercyhurst North East students. Our goal is to help students master the skills necessary to succeed in their courses and their future careers.

The Writing Center aims not only to help students with current projects, but also to foster the skills and self-confidence needed for continued improvement and success.

The Writing Center isn’t just for composition courses. Students are encouraged to come in for help with any class assignment that involves writing. The Mercyhurst North East Writing Center can help at any stage of the writing process, including:

  • Prewriting and outlining
  • Thesis statements
  • Introductions and conclusions
  • Developing an argument
  • Reading, understanding, conducting and incorporating research
  • Revising, editing, and proofreading a draft
  • Grammar, spelling, and capitalization
  • MLA or APA citation and formatting
  • Presentation strategies
  • Blackboard issues and assignments
  • And much more!

How can I get help?

The Writing Center is located in the Academic Success Center in Miller 118. Students can sign up for half hour or hour appointments using TutorTrac, by emailing, or by seeing their Academic Success Coach.