ACE was established in June 2007 when the Division of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) initiated an Academic Services unit under the direction of Assistant Dean Sara Hamon. In Fall 2007, three full-time ACE faculty (temporary Visiting Assistant-in lines on 12-month appointments) were hired to develop and teach SLS1122, Strategies for Academic Success. This one-credit course was initially designed as a mandatory academic recovery and retention initiative for freshmen, though in later years it also became available as an elective course for any undergraduate student. In 2008, the Academic Services faculty drafted an initial plan for expanding academic support services to all undergraduate students as a comprehensive student learning center with a new name: Academic Center for Excellence (ACE). This marked the establishment of the ACE Program Series, Personal Academic Consultations, and the website with a wealth of information and academic resources. By December 2008, ACE had acquired a suite of offices on the 4th floor of the University Center A.
In 2010, the Visiting Assistant-in lines became permanent non-tenure track faculty positions within ACE. The Division of Undergraduate Studies developed bylaws that were adopted unanimously at the first UGS faculty meeting convened by Dean Karen Laughlin on November 22, 2010. These bylaws outlined the procedures for non-tenure track faculty promotions.
With support from Dr. Larry Abele, former Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, ACE initiated a peer tutoring program in 2009 with the promise of a new Learning Studio under construction in the ambitious renovation of the William Johnston Building. Peter Hanowell was hired in October 2009 to serve as the Director of Tutoring Services, and in January 2010 ACE Tutoring commenced in Strozier Library with 15 peer tutors. In Spring 2011, ACE Tutoring and other members of the Campus Tutoring Cooperative achieved the College Reading and Learning Association's (CRLA) Level I Certification for its tutor training program, recognizing the high-quality preparation of tutors for their work with students.
In Fall 2011, the ACE Learning Studio was opened at “Johnston Ground” in the William Johnston Building. This jewel on Landis Green, right in the heart of campus, features group study rooms, classrooms, tutoring, advising, collaborative learning technology, and laptops and iPads for individual checkout. ACE representatives worked closely with Gould Evans architects and other stakeholders in designing the Learning Studio space, equipment, and furnishings. With over 13,000 square feet of space to manage, additional ACE staff were hired for tutoring and daily operations at Johnston Ground. The ACE Learning Studio's co-location with the Advising First Center for Exploratory Students and the Center for Success Coaching makes Johnston Ground a high-traffic and collaborative venue for serving students. With two locations and a rapidly expanding complement of programs, ACE plays a crucial role in student success and retention efforts at Florida State University.