Free tutoring for Newman students is becoming more popular on campus

Jan 12, 2017
** Note: Shallow depth of field

One of the perks of being a student at Newman University is free tutoring — and staff in the Academic Resource Center are noticing more and more students are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Case Bell
Case Bell

Director of Academic Resource Center Case Bell said, “We work on getting the students to understand the importance of establishing a strong foundation and work ethic. And we want to be in as many people’s lives as possible.”

Throughout high school, and on many college campuses, a certain stigma can be attached to the word “tutoring.” Many students have been trained to think that if they need tutoring, that must mean they are incapable, lacking, or otherwise just not “smart enough.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth. “Grades are absolutely important,” said Bell. “But if you want to actually have a full understanding of what you’re doing and how to apply that in the real world, that strong foundation is super important. This is what tutoring can do for students.”

Bell said he and his staff are excited to see the numbers grow. The number of tutoring hours has doubled since the fall 2014 semester, rising from 554 hours to a total of 1,105 hours tutored during the fall 2016 semester.

Even though the hours have increased, the number of students utilizing the free service is still only 15 percent of the undergraduate student base. Bell said he would love to see that number increase.

Support from the Dugan Library and professors plays a large part of why the increase has happened. Bell also believes that in terms of the tutoring program at Newman compared to other schools, “ours is a lot more integrated. A lot of other programs are just very reactionary in nature. They just want to put the resource in the corner of the building. If it gets used, great. If not, oh well. We don’t see it that way.”

Bell believes that tutoring goes beyond the grade. “Our tutors aren’t just trained to teach you about the subject, they’re also trained to teach you proper study skills, note taking skills, critical thinking, and how to critically look at your own work.”

The tutors are required to have received an A in the course they will be helping other students with, but with that, training is also very important. Bell said all the tutors participate in rigorous training sessions and are even encouraged to take additional training, with pay increases the more they do and the more experience they obtain.

He also encourages his staff to become leaders on campus, so when they are walking around campus they are recognized as Newman tutors while interacting with other students.

The Hangar computer lab
One of the many computer lab stations in the Hangar

The Hangar, which is a computer lab students use to work on assignments, study, and meet with tutors, has also seen an increase in visitors. There were more than 2,700 check-ins during the fall 2016 semester compared to only 1,760 check-ins during the fall 2015 semester. Bell said, “We just try to encourage a multi-use environment. You can come in and study or work on group projects.”

With only 20 active tutors last semester, the increase in numbers meant that tutors were working with multiple students. The tutors are students as well, and many times use the service just like others. They set their own schedules based on their availability. Students who want to sign up for tutoring should do so early and can do so online.

Tutoring services will begin for the spring 2017 semester on Feb. 1, which will allow the tutors time to organize their schedules. For more information or answers to questions about the services offered in the Academic Resource Center, contact Case Bell at 316-942-4291, ext. 2235 or by e-mail at [email protected].