Academic advisors Michelle Turner and Toni-Lee Viney believe students should feel comfortable seeking academic help, regardless of their course grades.
Thatâ€™s why they created the Liberal Arts Tutoring Services.
â€œAs academic advisors, Toni-Lee Viney and I see firsthand how meaningful extra support can be for students,â€ said Turner, who is also the program director of Liberal Arts Tutoring Services.
Turner and Viney worked with Blane Harding, the College of Liberal Arts coordinator, to pilot the program in the fall semester of 2009 in collaboration with the College of Natural Sciences. It has since become part of The Institute for Learning and Teaching, TILT.
The Liberal Arts Tutoring Services offers free tutoring in the Russell George Great Hall in the TILT Building for lower division liberal arts courses, including Intro to Art and American Government and Politics.
Turner and Viney saw a need for free tutoring for Liberal Arts courses because such a high number of students take these classes, usually to complete university required core curriculum credits.
â€œWe hope to help more students establish strong study skills and habits,â€ Turner said.
Viney said some students wrongfully think that tutoring is for students struggling in their courses.
â€œThe reality is that tutoring can be beneficial to students performing at various levels,â€ Viney said. â€œIt provides a structured opportunity for students to work through course material and to further apply class concepts in a one-on-one or small group setting.â€
The tutoring program helps freshmen â€“â€“ the majority of students who attend the sessions â€“â€“ adjust to the high level of college academics.
â€œOur tutors aim to help students become better overall learners so that the skills they gain in a tutoring session can be applied to other courses, as well,â€ Viney said.
The program is a thriving resource that continues to grow.
Viney said the program saw 128 students by early October, which is about three times the number of students who attended tutoring sessions last semester.
â€œWord of mouth has helped us expand (our program) to offer free tutoring for more classes,â€ Viney said. â€œDepartments have been supportive and eager to promote this resource to their students.â€
Caitlin Still, a sophomore political science and journalism and technical communications double major, is tutoring for the first time this semester.
â€œIâ€™m just a really big dork,â€ she said, laughing. â€œAnd I think the program needs political science tutors.â€
Still describes herself as a people person. She said the program was a great opportunity for her because she has been able to help students and make new friends with the other tutors.
One woman Still helped prepare for a political science test came back to a tutoring session after her exam and thanked her for helping her understand everything that was on the test.
â€œI love seeing that spark when they finally get it,â€ she said.
Staff writer Courtney Riley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.