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Project Title:The Learning Center (TLC): Developing Skills for Academic Success/Academic Advising and Retention CenterInstitution Name:Western Kentucky University (WKU) Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:Jessica G. Staten, Contact Information:(270) 745-5065, Jessica.Staten@wku.eduWebsite:http://www.wku.edu/tlc
Project Description:The Learning Center (TLC) provides WKU students with vital academic skills necessary to become successful learners. Undergraduate students are provided free peer-to-peer tutoring in over 200 WKU courses, as well as academic skills tutoring. Through the Tutor Training Program, tutors are trained with Level I and II College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) certified training programs. Through the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), students who have previously taken courses, commonly large-enrollment 100-level courses, are trained to tutor for group study sessions. The Academic Advantage Series: Workshops for Success (AAS) is a supplemental program offering a series of presentations designed to help students succeed academically. TLC also offers quiet spaces for individual or group study and a 32-machine Dell computer lab with printing.
Objectives:
  • Provide resources to the WKU student population to facilitate academic growth and lifelong learning
  • Increase awareness and availability of supplemental education programs to the WKU campus community
  • Consistently evaluate TLC programs to provide the best services to its constituents
  • Expand the student usage of TLC to include a balance of probation and non-probation students
Outcomes:
  • Created satellite locations of TLC in residence halls; in 2009/2010, reached an additional 1,112 students.
  • Increased tutor utilization from 58% to 82% in one calendar year. Tutor surveys revealed an average 97% satisfaction rating (based on a calendar year).
  • Realized significant correlations of success in 30% of courses offered; students who attended PASS study sessions in a specific course received higher grades than those who did not attend.
  • Increased participation in Academic Advantage Series by 69% in one academic year. Surveys revealed a 92% satisfaction rate.
  • Attendance of students on academic probation decreased from 99% to 82% of the population using TLC – thus reaching more students in good standing.
Challenges/Problems Encountered:The biggest challenge that we have faced is creating awareness of our services to the entire WKU student body located on five campuses. By working with our Office of Distance Learning, academic advisors on respective campuses, and a comprehensive marketing plan, we have overcome this hurdle, but this is an ongoing battle that must be addressed. A second challenge is dispelling the stigma associated with tutoring; CRLA certification requires that we conduct a training program that addresses this issue.
Evaluation Approach:The Assistant Director of Supplemental Education is responsible for the ongoing evaluation of all TLC programs. Surveys are administered to the various programs of TLC on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis. This survey information is used to modify existing programs and create new ones.
Potential for Replication:Learning Centers are established at many universities. WKU is fortunate in that TLC is housed in the Student Success Center within the Academic Advising and Retention Center. In order to be replicated, universities should consider the student population, needs of those students, and financial resources available to fund a learning center. 
Additional Resources:Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) http://www.wku.edu/pass 
Peer Tutoring http://www.wku.edu/tlc/peer_tutoring.php 
Academic Advantage Series: Workshops for Success (AAS) http://www.wku.edu/tlc/workshops.php 
College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) http://www.crla.net 
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Gary A. Ransdell , Presidentpresident@wku.edu
(270) 745-4346
Date Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2011