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April 18, 2014

RSU Expands Tutoring Options

RSU student tutors another student with his homework.Rogers State University has strengthened its commitment to student success by adding tutoring and advising staff at all three RSU campuses as well as online. The free services, which have been rolled out during the past two years, are available to all students.

RSU provides an advising and retention specialist in each of its three schools to manage entry-level student advising, distribution of basic career and graduate school information, graduation checks and other associated duties for students with less than 24 credit hours. The advising and retention specialist also coordinates a tutoring center within each school manned by professional and student staff.

In addition to the advising and retention specialists, RSU has hired a student support coordinator to help undecided students that have not declared a major yet. Caleb Leggett was hired in 2013 to help students navigate the different resources available across campus and online.

"We're always looking for new ways to connect students with the many resources on campus," said Leggett. "Whether it's through a new campaign called 'Don't Cancel Class!,' which is a university-wide effort to bring resources directly to the classroom, or through the Peer Mentor program, which is currently being revamped to better connect new students with established peers, we're constantly working with the individual departments and resources to better help RSU students."

Tutoring also is available to online students and afterhours for those on campus. RSU has partnered with Tutor.com to provide assistance from any internet-enabled computer or mobile device. Tutor.com offers 24/7 online tutoring that connects students one-to-one with a subject expert in algebra, basic math, biology, calculus, Earth science, statistics and trigonometry.

The RSU Writing Center, in its current form, has been active since 2010 and has averaged more than 1,000 student sign-ins per month. At the Writing Center, students are able to sit down with writing consultants (tutors) one-on-one and discuss their papers. Writing help is available over the phone and online via email, instant messaging or video chat. Consultants help students with issues such as organization, citation, and grammar. The Writing Center offers a full computer lab to type papers or to edit them after meeting with a tutor.

"Many students already take advantage of this and are benefitting from this program," said Dr. Sara Beam, Writing Center coordinator. "We have many regular students who come in for help or just to work on the computers."

The School of Liberal Arts has the majority of the general education courses offered at RSU. Four tutors are available to assist students in these courses as well as other liberal arts courses. "Our tutors' main objective is to help students in their understanding of the course content," said Jennie Gates, advising and retention specialist with the School of Liberal Arts. "They also assist with study skills, research strategies, and brainstorming as well as hosting study sessions prior to exams."

The School of Mathematics, Science and Health Sciences has several tutors available to help with any math and science courses. "Our tutors are a mix of both student tutors that were referred by faculty and professional tutors with degrees in science or math," said Colleen Wilson, advising and retention specialist with the School of Mathematics, Science and Health Sciences. "Our tutors are friendly and eager to help students reach their full potential. We are lucky to have a room dedicated to tutoring and students are welcome to drop by anytime during lab hours."

Bea Chang, a medical/molecular biology senior from Collinsville, has been working as a biology tutor for three semesters and has seen students impacted by this free service.

"We have students come in weekly and some that have occasional questions," said Chang. "I think it benefits the students to know there are other options besides dropping or failing when they are struggling."

The School of Business and Technology tutoring center currently has two tutors assisting in subjects such as Microcomputer Applications, Programming I and II, Finance and other subjects within the college.

Help is also available to students at the Stratton Taylor Library. Reference librarians offer one-on-one assistance in researching and preparing for major papers and research projects, especially capstones. They work closely with the Writing Center to help students improve their papers/projects. This assistance is available in person and over the phone.

RSU also has assistance available for students taking developmental courses. Math tutoring for elementary and intermediate algebra, as well as reading and writing, is provided through the Developmental Studies Tutoring Labs. "We want every student that attends RSU to do well, no matter their skill level," said Dr. Brenda Tuberville, RSU Coordinator of Developmental Studies. "We have statistics that show that students in these classes who regularly use either or both of these labs generally have a better chance at passing their courses than those who do not." The Basic Writing/Developmental Reading Tutoring Lab is located in HS227, while the Elementary Algebra Plus/Intermediate Algebra Tutoring Lab is located in HS246B.

More information is available at www.rsu.edu/tutoring/