By Skylar Cohen
Students are now receiving subject and writing tutoring in dining halls through a joint effort from the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) that replaces the previous model of assigned resident tutors in dorms. After one full quarter of implementation, the new program has alleviated some of the crowding concerns brought on by the previous program.
According to Tim Randazzo, assistant director for Tutoring and Teaching Programs at CTL, the resident tutor program struggled to enlist sufficient members. Randazzo attributes this to the commitment the position required in which students served as both tutors and dorm staff.
“I think it’s two skill sets that don’t always match up,” Randazzo said.
Another problem with the previous system, according to Randazzo and Julia Bleakney, director of the Hume Center, was the fact that resident tutors went through a matching process that sometimes led to uneven distributions of tutors. Some dorms would end up with multiple tutors in one subject while another dorm had none. In addition, a single tutor was often required to deal with multiple students at once, leading to a crowding issue.
In response to this precedent, Randazzo said an effort is being made to have multiple subject tutors available at the same time in the dining halls. In the most recent end-of-quarter evaluations, Randazzo did not see any complaints regarding overcrowding in dining hall subject tutoring.
Vincent Su ’16, a current dining hall tutor, said the current set-up of group tutoring in the dining halls requires a different skill set relative to private tutoring, comparing it to work he had done at the tutoring firm Mathnasium.
“It’s kind of similar in that you have to deal with a relatively large group of people, so it’s not as one-on-one [as private tutoring], you have to make sure that you prioritize getting to everyone,” Su said.
Caroline Soane ’18 found the group atmosphere conducive to learning.
“I think one of the biggest things is being with other people who are looking for help in your class, and even if you aren’t working with a tutor being able to work with them is helpful,” Soane said.
To increase accessibility, tutoring in writing and several subjects is offered Sunday through Thursday nights, according to Bleakney and Randazzo. For almost every subject, tutoring occurs at either Stern or Wilbur, as well as Lagunita or Ricker Dining, to ensure that students from across campus can reach the sessions. Writing tutoring is offered five nights a week as well in many locations; in contrast to subject tutors, writing tutors focus on one student at a time, Bleakney said.
Contact Skylar Cohen at skylarc ‘at’ stanford.edu.