The mission of the Association of the tutoring Profession is to provide a communication platform linking tutors, tutor coordinators, and administrators who are committed to the development of the independent learner. To embody this mission, ACTP provides support and opportunities for professional development of tutoring and supplemental instruction programs, the support centers that house these programs, and the tutors, students, staff, and coordinators that are instrumental to the success of these student support systems. One way the organization offers support is through annual awards. This year’s included a Research Award, a Peer Tutor of the Year award, and a Program of Excellence award. The ACTP awards committee is proud to announce the following 2016 winners.
1. Peer Tutor of the Year: Alison Schriro from The University of South Carolina
Alison, a senior Math major with a minor in Education, began her journey as a tutor at the University of South Carolina’s Student Success Center in January of 2014. At the time, while only being a sophomore, it quickly became apparent to her supervisors that she was to be an influential part of the peer tutor program. Her career goals of Mathematics Education have no doubt inspired her passion for learning, which has been invaluable to her tutoring sessions, as well as the program as a whole. Alison has the ability to both make her students comfortable while still pushing them to the limits of their learning. She is often cited as going above and beyond her expected, and her mentors have no lack of praise for her ability to promote independent learning. However, what sets Alison apart as a qualified recipient of this award is her investment in the improvement of the Student Success Center’s programs, as well as her embodiment of peer leadership.
Elizabeth Belle, the Coordinator of Tutoring at USC, attributes much of the recent growth of the Student Success Center program offerings to the assistance of Ms. Schriro. Alison has contributed to the expansion of the online tutoring resources of the Student Success Center, dedicating her time and ideas to the online presence of the program. In addition, she directly assisted in the establishment of a formalized mentor program to help her fellow tutors excel in their positions. She also played an important role in training activities with her colleagues, further displaying her leadership qualities and dedication to overall student success. Even with her many activities within the world of tutoring, Alison continues to embody peer leadership through excellent academics, and even through assistance in college preparation courses during the summer. Rachel Brunson, Assistant Director of Peer Learning and Ms. Shriro’s supervisor during this summer bridge program, stated, “Allison’s passion for learning is unmistakable.” This passion and dedication is evident not only in Alison’s own endeavors, but also in her work with other students, and her overall commitment to enhancing the learning experience of everyone she is involved with. It is this quality that embodies the characteristics of the recipient of the ACTP’s Peer Tutor of the Year Award. While she was unable to attend the conference in person, Ms. Brunson was proud to accept the award on her behalf. We wish Alison the best of luck as she continues her studies.
2. Program Award of Excellence: University of New Haven
This year, Debbie Malewicki, Director of the recipient program, had the honor of receiving the ACTP Program Award of Excellence on behalf of the University of New Haven for the efforts of the University’s Center for Learning Resources
(CLR). Over the past seven years, the CLR has undergone a rigorous alteration in format and implementation, which has resulted in a number of positive changes in the entire program. This was accomplished by requesting and implementing changes according to the feedback of students, faculty, and staff. These changes included increasing Peer-Tutoring accommodations for night and commuter students, improving the online presence of the CLR through an up-to-date website and detailed social media outlets, and an increasingly interactive relationship with faculty. Professors are now able to request weekly notification of their students’ tutoring attendance, keeping them engaged and interested in the program’s activities and efforts. In addition, the University itself has committed to funding the Tutoring program through the year 2020, enabling the CLR to no longer rely on the original donor gift to support its efforts. There is continual work to hire the best and brightest students and staff for the program, while giving them the resources necessary to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Through these many efforts, and more, the number of visits to the program has increased from 4000 to over 24000 per year, and the number of staff has also increased to just over 70. Statistically, the CLR has a 92% success rate with the students that utilize the resource, and these students who utilized the program make up more than half of the populace of the University. Yet, the program has no plans to stop there.
In the coming years, facilitators of the program hope to encourage greater personalization and outreach to those students struggling the most, as well as provisions of summer resources to help students get an additional leg up. Feedback is continually solicited from staff members and students to enable constant evolution of the program to suit the needs of those involved, and the dedicated members of the University of New Haven’s CLR look forward to continued improvements. Congratulations to the incredible members of this deserving program!
3. Research Grant Award: Stacey Thornberry (Birmingham-Southern College)
This year’s recipient of a Research Grant Award was Stacey Thornberry from Birmingham-Southern College. She was able to attend the conference and receive this honor for the purpose of evaluating the reasons why students identified as benefitting from tutoring elect not to participate in the program. The research hopes to identify why the majority of students, identified as those that would benefit most from tutoring, never take advantage of tutoring when a direct link is sent to them. This is to be done through surveying of all students in those classes and grouping them into four groups; those students that never utilize tutoring and are never referred, those attend tutoring without a referral, those that attend with a referral, and those that are referred but do not utilize tutoring. The data will be compiled and cross-referenced with data from the existing retention and tutoring programs. Ultimately, Ms. Thornberry hopes that the results of this research will enable the college to improve the tutoring referral program.
In addition to the above awards, the ACTP has awarded the Hunter Boylan Tutoring Research in Developmental Education Scholarship. This year it was not given, but the ACTP looks forward to future years and nominations! Thank you to everyone who applied for the awards, for many highly qualified and impressive applications came through. Continue the hard, impressive work!