Almost a semester after the Tutoring Center merged with the Weingarten Learning Resources Center, it is planning to launch a new website and scheduling system to make the tutoring process more seamless.
The Tutoring Center, which was previously an independent entity, became part of Weingarten in summer 2019, joining the Office of Learning Resources and Student Disabilities Services. Administrators agreed that this change has led to more streamlined service for students, but said it may take a while to see concrete effects. Associate Director of the Tutoring Center Valerie Wrenn said following this partnership, the Tutoring Center hopes to launch an updated website, as well as a new system for students to schedule appointments with tutors online.
The Tutoring Center currently offers two free tutoring options — contract tutoring and satellite tutoring, Wrenn said. In contract tutoring, students are matched to specific tutors and typically meet one-on-one every week. For satellite tutoring, however, the center assigns tutors to stay in a specific space on campus at a certain time each week so students can drop by and ask quick questions. The center also runs special workshops and other events.
The new website, which Wrenn said will hopefully be ready by the end of the spring semester, will advertise these services.
“One of our biggest problems is that we don’t tell our story well. We don’t walk people through how does this actually work?" Wrenn said. "I think our new website will really help with that.”
Wrenn, who took over the position in September 2018 following the retirement of longtime Tutoring Center Director Donna Brown, said the collaboration with Weingarten has allowed the Tutoring Center and other Weingarten divisions to better serve students.
“Now, everyone in the tutoring center is cross-trained in what Weingarten can offer students and vice versa,” she said. “Our staff is better educated on the services offered in other parts of Weingarten, so that means when a student comes to us, we are better able to make referrals to other things that could also help them in addition to what they are coming to our offices for.”
Weingarten Executive Director Jane Holahan also said the centralization is a positive step.
"When I go out and talk to academic departments about this new configuration, they all say the same thing: It’s about time," Holahan said. "Most people could not understand why it was separated."
"If we can find better ways of putting our resources together in a way that is centralized and makes sense, it’s only going to benefit students," Holahan added.
While Wrenn said it will take time to see concrete changes from the center’s move to Weingarten, student tutors say they have already seen positive effects. College junior Marilyn Pease, who has worked for two years as a tutor for Econ 002 and Math 103, says she has found that administrators are “super organized” this year.
Pease said before this semester, tutors had to bring a paper copy of their timesheet to the Tutoring Center each week, but the center has now shifted to an online timesheet system. She added that the center has compiled a list of spaces on campus for tutoring and introduced more bonding activities for tutoring staff.
"[Wrenn] has already identified a lot of problems that the tutoring center had in the past and has started changing them,” Pease said.