Editorial Board

Syracuse University was wise to create a centralized tutoring center, but needs to publicize it

Syracuse University’s establishment of a centralized tutoring center in E.S. Bird Library — the campus’s studying hub — will increase students’ access to tutoring resources and also make students feel more comfortable when seeking tutoring. But in order for the tutoring center to succeed in making these services more accessible for students, it must be better publicized to the campus community.

SU recently moved its Tutoring and Study Center to the third floor of the library and created a new Center for Academic Achievement within the TSC, which will offer free tutoring services to students in high-DFW courses — that is, classes that have high numbers of students who receive a D grade, fail or withdraw. The provision of free tutoring for high-DFW courses will ideally take the burden off of other free tutoring centers on campus, including the Writing Center or the Math Clinic.

The current plan for the standard tutoring center is to continue offering fee-based one-on-one tutoring while the CAA’s advisory group plans more free academic assistance programs for future semesters, said Margaret Usdansky, director of the CAA.

The university’s efforts to consolidate and provide additional tutoring services is worthwhile. But with insufficient advertising to the campus community, it is difficult to imagine that the relocated tutoring center will gain much traction. To promote awareness for the new tutoring hub, professors should be mandated to provide information about available resources — including the hub — on their syllabi and verbally tell their students about tutoring in other realms besides the classroom and office hours.

Students who need additional help with coursework may be more inclined to seek out support if they are told it is out there. Some students may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to try to find a tutor, and more publicity about the tutoring center would go far to make students feel at ease when seeking out additional academic support. The center’s new location in Bird Library is also a convenient and accessible location for students, and a comfortable space for them to approach. The center’s new home in the library establishes a culture of non-judgmental learning.

SU has served up a proper response to resolve areas of impacted resources by making tutoring a more accessible service on its campus. But it’s time for the university to reach out to the university community and inform students about the services available to help them succeed.

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