Students helping students: the Wilson Library tutoring center
Spring quarter can be rough.
Summer is right around the corner, but despite the improving weather there is still studying to be done. That’s where the tutoring center comes in handy.
Western’s tutoring center, located in Wilson Library 280, is a resource anyone can utilize, from the freshman taking their first college course to the senior getting ready for graduation.
Katrina Buckman, a coordinator at the tutoring center, said the center is popular at the start of fall quarter but sees a drop in attendance as the school year goes on.
She said often during fall quarter, the center is packed with students needing help. Long wait lines can scare some students away for the rest of the year, she said.
“Especially in the spring, we could definitely accommodate more students, so I wish they knew that coming now would be more productive,” Buckman said. “They’d have more time with the tutor.”
Drop-in tutoring is the main service offered at the center. Students can get help with their math and science GURs ranging from chemistry and pre-calculus to economics and astronomy. Study groups with a few students working together are also offered.
“We also do study skills [education] where students can make appointments that last about 45 to 50 minutes to go over an individualized plan to help them succeed in college,” Anna Ortung, a peer advisor in the center, said.
She said those skills include time management, test-and-note taking and study tactics.
Barb Quick, the assistant director, said the tutoring center has about 75 employees. She said five to six tutors with different specialities are on hand at any given time.
In order to work at the center, tutors are required to have taken and passed the course they are tutoring for with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Sarah Schnadelbach is an office assistant at the center and said the tutoring sessions are never about tutors giving the right answer. Instead, they are intended to encourage active participation with the student.
“It’s supposed to be a process that engages the students in solving the problem themselves,” Schnadelbach said. “So when they leave the tutoring center they have started to develop to work on those challenging problems on their own.”
Senior Nathan Hopkins said he has been coming to the tutoring center for over a year after a friend suggested it when he was struggling with Chemistry 121.
“What’s nice about here is they’re not professors, they’re students just like me, and they want to see it an easy way just like I do,” Hopkins said. “So I’ll come here and I walk out feeling so much more confident with the material.”
According to Buckman and Schnadelbach, the tutoring center tracks about 45,000 visits a year. That comes out to an average of about 200 students per day.
The tutoring center doesn’t offer help with humanities or social sciences, leaving that to the Hacherl Research and Writing Studio. However, they have recently added tutoring on an engineering class and will offer tutoring on certain courses if they get enough requests, Ortung said.
Quick said it looks like the center will be receiving extra funding in the fall to increase staffing as well as a pilot program for a Tutoring Center Quiet. It will be on the third floor of Wilson Library and contain about three to four tables, open 16 to 20 hours a week.
“The TCQ – that’s not the official name yet – would be for students who are not able to study when it gets really noisy in here and want an alternative venue,” Buckman said. “It wouldn’t be as collaborative, but they could work one-on-one with a tutor and get support in a more conducive environment.”
Quick said she has been pursuing the idea of a quiet tutoring center area for a year. Her goal would be to, one day, offer satellite tutoring, with small centers around campus located near difficult classes to provide help for students all over campus.
“Sometimes, all [students] need is a boost in confidence,” Buckman said.