Aug 042009
 
Authors: Ashley Robinson

After opening its new home to students on March 13 in the renovated Music Building on the Oval, The Institute for Learning and Teaching is expanding its tutoring and educational enrichment programs for students and faculty.

TILT, which currently boasts 16 programs devoted to teaching and learning, is working to create a larger, more diverse tutoring program by employing CSU faculty, staff and graduate students who intend to teach in the future, TILT officials said.

“We have created learning programs that go beyond the classroom and are available for a wide range of students: good, bad, traditional, non-traditional,” said Associate Vice Provost for Learning and Teaching and TILT Director Mike Palmquist.

“If you’re a struggling student we can really set you up,” he said. “You know, if you’re struggling in the one calc class, we can provide people to help you.”

TILT, formed in September 2006 to provide faculty and staff the resources needed to enhance course design and development, evolved into a program whose mission included student learning, involvement and advising under the direction of the Provost’s Office and other university colleges.

People involved in TILT are charged with the creation of new enrichment programs that teach above and beyond what students learn in classes said Shirley Guitron, an administrative assistant in the TILT building.

“We have so many people with such wonderful ideas,” she said. “We’re growing constantly. We’ve almost already outgrown this building.”

One program is the Graduate Teaching Certificates Program, established for students interested in teaching higher grade levels after college.

Additionally, TILT is developing the lecture series “My Favorite Lecture” that allows professors, who are not often heard by students outside of a particular focus area, to give their favorite lecture to a wider population of students.

Bernard Rollin, a University Distinguished Professor in philosophy, will give the first lecture at the TILT building starting in September.

The Center for Advising and Student Acheivement, whose services range from undeclared advising to retention, also moved to the new building from Aylesworth Hall.

Renovations included a 17,000 to 20,000 square-foot addition to the west of the existing building and construction of a Great Hall upstairs as part of a learning area where every table is laptop capable.

“The Great Hall was designed as a learning space that’s a little quieter than the library,” Palmquist said. “The library just always seems really busy to me. The Great Hall is a little smaller, and it’s hard to hear people from table to table.”

The Great Hall was built with vast individual study space, Palmquist said. “We expect the Great Hall and the Learning Programs to be very popular among students at the university.”

Also included was a large general assignment classroom, in which seats are currently being installed and will seat up to 110 people when completed.

Plans for the room originally included a 3-D projection system, but its cost exceeded the $10 million budget allowed for and was not included in building improvements. It may yet be added at a future date, TILT officials said.

Renovations for the TILT building followed “green” standards including the installation of linoleum panel flooring rather than wood flooring. The windows of the building were also retrofitted to allow for more sunlight to light rooms so that less electricity is used.

Previously located in the basement of Clark A, TILT benefited from the relocation, employees said.

“People used to get lost in the basement before,” Guitron said. “I think our move has helped to make us more visible.”

TILT had the premier for many of its programs this spring during finals week.

The Natural Sciences department used the building for tutoring throughout the summer. Key and international student orientation took place in the TILT building, as well as Freshman Preview for advising.

Students who attended these sessions agreed with TILT employees, saying that the tutoring and study resources will be beneficial to their educational careers at CSU.

“I definitely think I’ll be spending some time here,” said incoming engineering freshman Chris Engel. “I’ve heard they have good engineering tutors.” Engel participated in Preview and advising registration.

Staff writer Ashley Robinson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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