NMSU success centers offer students free tutoring, learning strategies

Feb. 5, 2009 by Audry Olmsted NMSU News Center

Kaiya Ahrens, a tutor at the Student Success Center at Zuhl Library, helps David George with one of his assignments. George is working toward a bachelor’s degree in microbiology. (NMSU photo by Audry Olmsted)

Kaiya Ahrens, a tutor at the Student Success Center at Zuhl Library, helps David George with one of his assignments. George is working toward a bachelor’s degree in microbiology. (NMSU photo by Audry Olmsted)

It’s OK to ask for help. It might actually be “cool.” That’s the message coordinators of the newly opened Student Success Center at the Zuhl Library want to get out to New Mexico State University students.

The new center expands on services offered at the Student Success Center at Hardman Hall and aims to engage students in everything from tutoring assistance to helping them develop good study skills.

“We decided to offer free tutoring for all students because there’s never been free tutoring for all students at New Mexico State,” said Terry Cook, assistant vice president at the center’s Office of Student Engagement.

Students can get individualized tutoring within their academic programs, Cook said, but the student success centers offer a wide variety of services and are a good place to start if you do not know where to go to get help.

At Hardman, students can receive assistance in studying and learning strategies. Free workshops are offered weekly on such topics as time management and test-taking strategies. The center also offers mid-semester courses to help students stay at a full-time status as well as other credit courses that help students do their best from their freshman year to graduation. Students can also get help preparing for standardized tests.

The new center streamlines cross-campus advising, helps students connect with different people at the colleges and assists them with administrative concerns.

“We wanted to create an office where students could go who had questions about anything, even if it’s academic advising that wasn’t connected to a college,” Cook said.

Their role is not to take the place of a student’s adviser but to work in collaboration with college and career advisers. Many times, Cook said, they refer students to their advisers.

“One of our big outreach efforts is really to try to educate students that they are expected to need assistance (at some point),” said Judy Harmon, program coordinator.

Through the center, they hope to foster the mentality that it is OK to ask questions and get help and that it is a team effort to have a student be successful in higher education. Harmon said it also helps that they employ students’ peers to work as tutors.

Not only do students get tutoring assistance, they can also get help on developing effective learning strategies so they can figure out the problems for themselves in the future.

The coordinators and tutors also follow up with the students to help make sure they are on the right track.

Cook said that since they started operation in the middle of September, they have had a steady flow of students. The center has also received positive feedback from those who have taken advantage of its services.

As the Student Success Center-Zuhl gets more established, the coordinators plan to look into other possibilities to reach as many students as possible, including setting up tutoring in the university’s Corbett Center Student Union or having online tutoring sessions.

“The bottom line is, we’re facilitating students to get on whatever path it is they’re really wanting to get on,” Harmon said. The students may not know what path it is they wish to be on, she added, but their aim is to help them establish goals and find out what avenues are available to them.

The Student Success Center at Zuhl Library, located on the second floor, is open Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 6 to 10 p.m.

Tutoring is also offered at La Vista Learning Center located in the Garcia Residence Hall.

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