New Academic Success and Tutoring Center Helps Students Succeed
The new Academic Success and Tutoring Center (ASTC) is ready to provide students with the extra guidance they need to excel. The Center, which will begin aiding students later this month, is made possible through the Academic Excellence Fee, which funds a portion of the administrative costs as well as the salaries of its student tutors.
Spearheaded by Charles Robbins, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the Undergraduate Colleges, the Center will help maximize student success by offering support to the existing tutoring centers on campus, and by developing additional tutorial services in areas not already covered. The ASTC will also collaborate with individuals and departments from across campus to offer specialized student success programs and workshops covering topics such as time management, study skills, test-taking skills, and stress management.
Shannon Jayne has been appointed to serve as the inaugural Director for the Center. Jayne has been a part of the Stony Brook University community for the past eight years. At the University she first served in the role of Commuter Student Services Advisor, and later became the coordinator for that area within the Office of the Dean of Students. Most recently, she served as the Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership, where she played an integral part in strengthening student leadership development initiatives on campus.
“My purpose has always been to help students succeed, and I’m looking forward to continuing to do that in my new role,” says Jayne. “As members of a top research university, students should and will be challenged by their coursework. It is our responsibility to offer the correct amount of support to help our students meet those challenges. Stony Brook University is clearly committed to student success and the creation of this new Center is just one more example of that commitment.”
Helping Jayne get the ASTC up and running is Kristy Hare, Assistant Director. Hare has been at Stony Brook for the past year, serving as an Academic Advisor in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Prior to coming to Stony Brook, she worked at Hofstra University as an Assistant Dean in advising and Coordinator of the University's tutorial program, and was instrumental in building academic support services for undergraduates.
“I am looking forward to collaborating with the various existing departments and campus resources that currently serve to assist students in a tutorial capacity,” says Hare. “The Academic Success and Tutoring Center, in conjunction with these resources, will provide Stony Brook students with the tools and study skills they need to become successful and independent learners.”
Serving Stony Brook students
“We are working with the existing tutoring centers to make sure we are not replacing or duplicating services. Our goal is to supplement existing services,” Jayne stresses. “We are meeting with faculty and staff from across campus to learn everything we can about the needs of our students and about the services already being offered to meet those needs. Ultimately, we want to know how the Center can best serve our students.”
Eventually, Jayne sees the ASTC as a centralized location, where students can reach out for assistance. In addition, faculty will be able to refer students who need support and recommend exceptional students as potential tutors. The ASTC staff will be well versed in all available services, both in-house and throughout campus, and will guide students to the ones that can best meet their needs. The first step in doing this is creating the ASTC website, which will host information about all the available services on campus. This website is already under construction and will be launched this month.
One new program the ASTC is planning to bring to campus is an internationally recognized tutor certification program. Once developed, the certification will be offered to tutors hired directly through the ASTC and, soon after, will be available to tutors working in all of the existing centers.
“We are working on developing a comprehensive tutor training program that will best fit the unique needs of Stony Brook students,” Hare explains. “The goal of tutor certification is to create a standard of training and skills for all tutors on campus. My previous experiences in developing a tutor certification program and resources for academic success and skill building will definitely be valuable as we create this new program.”
Until the Center has a permanent home, tutoring will take place in classrooms in the afternoons and evenings. In addition, the Center has already begun working with Teaching, Learning + Technology through the Division of Information Technology. With TLT’s assistance, Jayne and Hare are hoping to incorporate online, interactive learning platforms, such as SB Connect, to offer online tutoring sessions. They are also considering using SB Capture to assist faculty in recording video tips for students enrolled in historically challenging courses.
The ASTC recently hired undergraduate and graduate students to serve in administrative positions, and is now recruiting undergraduate student tutors for various academic areas. The ASTC has set a goal of recruiting, hiring, and training about 20 tutors this fall, and expects that number to grow in the spring semester. “Our services will grow as we continue to develop the Center,” Jayne says.
“We are focused on the academic success of students,” adds Rick Gatteau, Assistant Provost. “This Center levels the playing field. It’s a free service provided to all students that can remove roadblocks and help students work through difficult courses. We hope the tools provided by our tutoring centers will help more of our students cross the finish line to graduation.”
By Shelley Catalano; photo by John Griffin