- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - In a sunny room at the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, graduate student Molly Gore waited to help students with writing assignments.

Gore, a writing tutor, was at the culture center as part of an initiative to return tutoring services to Indiana University culture centers.

It’s been tried before, but the initiative - offering writing, math and science tutoring - is being renewed as part of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs’ increased support for the five culture centers, The Herald-Times reported (https://bit.ly/1s4sN0Z ).

Launched at the beginning of the fall semester, the results so far are a mix, said Leslie Robinson, director of IU academic support centers, which are also under the DEMA umbrella with the culture centers.

“The overall numbers are not as high as we want,” Robinson said.

But she said some students going to tutoring at the centers - Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, La Casa, Asian Culture Center, FNECC and GLBT Student Support Services - are students who have never asked for academic support before.

“So we are reaching new folks,” Robinson said.

To Martin McCrory, associate vice president for DEMA, tutoring at the culture centers increases tutoring opportunities for all students - not just students in DEMA programs - which, in turn, increases retention and graduation rates. Plus, he said some students have never been to the centers.

“They can come meet with tutors and pick up a little culture while they are there,” McCrory said. “There’s a lot to learn.”

Since the culture centers, except for the Neal-Marshall, are in renovated houses not big enough to have classes, tutoring is a way to increase academic programming in the centers, Robinson said. Tutoring adapts to space you have, she said.

And having tutors at culture centers is not a new idea.

“Over the years, the different culture centers have piloted different programs. It’s been tried before, but didn’t attract a lot of students for various reasons,” Robinson said. “Trying tutoring in satellite locations is hit or miss.”

She said obstacles are promoting the additional tutoring sites and hours.

Gore said she hasn’t had students come to the First Nations center for help yet, but thinks it’s because her afternoon hours are when most students are in class.

The tutors with evening hours at culture centers seem to get more students, Gore said. She said she likes the FNECC location for tutoring and hopes more students will take advantage of it as finals near.

Sarah Moon, program associate at the Asian Culture Center, said the center’s Tenth Street location makes it an easy find for students on campus or those who live in Collins Living Learning Center on Woodlawn Avenue.

Plus she said the tutor is in a room near the front door so he’s visible to all students. Moon also echoed McCrory’s hopes for an extra learning experience.

“One of the misconceptions is that the Asian Culture Center is only for Asians,” Moon said. “We try to fight against that in any way we can and this helps to spread that message.”

Robinson said DEMA’s renewed efforts to have tutoring in the culture centers will continue to be assessed so it can improve and grow. Like the academic support centers in residence halls, tutoring in the culture centers is about going where the students are, she said.

With five culture center locations, Robinson said the centers can cross promote and tutoring can be around the times student organizations meet so students are already there.

“A lot of it is about convenience,” she said.


Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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