Tutoring offerings expanded to students

Written By Alexander Popichak

Point Park’s Center for Student Success (CSS) announced Jan. 18 via email that its tutoring services have expanded this semester. Previously, tutoring services were limited. 

“Last semester, we had one drop-in center that also used one-on-one and group tutoring services, and that was primarily the writing center,” said tutoring services coordinator Natacia Owens. “So when that email went out on Monday [Jan. 18], it was just explaining that instead of just having one drop-in center, we had multiple drop-in centers for different high-demand subjects.”

One-on-one and group tutoring services are structured as weekly meetings with tutors for the courses a student designates on a request form. These forms can be found by contacting the CSS office. Drop-in centers, as the name implies, are advertised and open tutoring sessions in specific subjects with no appointment needed. 

“I think it’s a great idea, I really do, it’s going to be important that the students have a resource to use that can be very spur-of-the-moment if they need to,” said Phil Gertz, senior mechanical engineering technology major and student tutor. “Not everyone needs week-to-week tutoring so… it can be helpful to get a second set of eyes on [a problem].”

This semester, the CSS has responded to popular demand by expanding the drop-in sessions from strictly writing centers to math and science.

“For the high-demand subjects, especially for the maths and sciences, I try to have at least two [drop-in tutoring sessions] per week,” Owens said in her office Thursday.

Gertz is available to students specifically during the Thursday 4:30-6:30 p.m. drop-in session in statics and dynamics, which he describes as a “higher level of what you might have learned in a high school physics course.”

“I think it’s a good tool,” Gertz said at the CSS office Thursday afternoon. “I think that’s what the drop-in center is going to be, as opposed to like the one-on-one sessions. If you know you want extra help every week that’s one thing, but it’s a good tool to have, as a student, just like any other resource.”

The calendar for drop-in sessions, as well as a listing of the subjects, covered is posted in the CSS office on the fifth floor of West Penn Hall.

“As long as we’re getting more tutors and we’re getting recommendations from faculty for tutors, and having more people sign up [we can continue to grow],” said Owens. “As we’re keeping [our options and services] on the expanding realm we want to make sure that we’re serving the students, but it’s based on demand…We want to serve the students as best we can.”

New this semester in the tutoring request form is a listing of terms and conditions students must sign, including an agreement on attendance.

“This [new section of terms and conditions] was added more as a protection to make sure that the expectations of our tutors were matched with what is expected for the students,” Owens said.

Students interested in being hired as tutors should also contact the CSS. The positions are paid and require the recommendation of a professor endorsing proficiency in the subject for which the student will be tutoring. That being said, the experience is rewarding.

“There’s nothing like helping someone with a concept they didn’t understand and they come back and they say I did really well on the test or I really feel confident about that last test I took,” Gertz said. “We always tell people we don’t want you to come in and say ‘my goal is to pass this class.’ I want you to get the material, I want you to understand what you’re doing, and if you do, you’re going to pass the class, it’ll happen naturally.”