OneUSF Tutoring and Writing: Supporting Students Academic Success
The Tutoring and Writing teams from the three USF campuses always have students’ best interests in mind as they collaborate and coordinate services. This passion for service is delivered to and felt by students who receive assistance through tutoring and writing consultations. Each student is surveyed, and 99 percent of those who respond report that they would recommend these services to their peers. The Academic Success Center (ASC), Tampa and Sarasota campuses, and the Debbie Nye Sembler Student Success Center, St. Petersburg campus, provide tutoring and writing support at USF.
“One thing I have truly enjoyed about working with this team is we put our egos aside and recognize that we may not be ‘experts’ on a particular topic, though our coworkers across OneUSF have their strengths to share and learn from. Because of this learning, we are better able to support our students,” said Bart Stucker, Assistant Director of Student Support and the ASC, Sarasota-Manatee campus.
All students can use the services at any campus. The Tampa campus offers in-person and online tutoring, writing assistance, and study skills mentoring by appointment. It also has a SMART Lab to assist students in completing assignments and provide immediate feedback for select math courses. The St. Petersburg campus center offers walk-in or asynchronous online writing support as well as online tutoring appointments and a Math Lab that provides the same support as the SMART Lab. The Sarasota-Manatee office offers face-to-face, online, and asynchronous writing support.
During the first six months of the pandemic, the Sarasota-Manatee campus began offering tutoring services from Tutor Me, a third-party vendor. This service provides online tutoring for any course that the university offers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is intuitive and accessible for students. Campus centers are unable to offer tutoring for every course, so this is a highly beneficial service. A post-tutoring survey was developed and students rated their tutors an average of 4.8 on a 5-point scale.
The ASC, Tampa campus, has hired a full-time staff member to create remote learning resources. This includes increasing the number of writing resources available on the website, creating videos and faculty resources, and training students as experts in certain learning areas. More elements will be incorporated as additional gaps are identified. This is a temporary position supported by the Covid-19 mitigation funding.
Beginning in Spring 2022, the math courses supported by the SMART Lab, Tampa campus, and the Math Lab, St. Petersburg campus, will require two hours per week in the lab. This is a new course requirement that has not been in place since the beginning of the pandemic.
The teams at each center recruit and train both undergraduate and graduate students as tutors, primarily in math and science. The Tutor Training Program is offered through the Tampa campus center and has three levels of certification through the College Reading and Learning Association. This program will soon be offered at the other campuses.
All staff from these centers have been meeting on a monthly basis since the pre-consolidation of the university. It is important for each staff member to have a voice in the consolidated Mission, Vision, and Goals of these centers. This team also leads the learning support POD within the Undergraduate Studies Strategic Planning efforts.