Campus / News / October 2, 2008

CTL: a place for help on campus

Right up there with the fraternity houses, the Center for Teaching and Learning [CTL] is one of Knox’s most-visited houses on campus. Set in a red brick bungalow at 466 S. West Street, the CTL sees hundreds of students and offers a number of programs to address the academic needs of the campus.

Originally only the location of the TRIO Achievement Program, the CTL was created in 1998 to provide academic help for all students on campus. Amongst the offerings are tutoring services, classes, and workshops as well as employment opportunities for students.

In addition to housing the CTL’s offices, several of these services are provided directly in the bungalow. Here, writing instruction is usually given on a walk-in basis (although appointments are encouraged near the end of each term), every weekday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Any type of writing is fair game. As junior Meredith Noseworthy. one of over a dozen writing tutors at CTL, said, “I’ve helped with reviews of plays to biology lab write-ups. Really, any type of paper, I’ve probably seen.”

Writing tutors are available for students of all abilities, from freshman writing their first FP papers to seniors polishing off their honors projects. Someone is always available to help with every step of the writing process, from crafting a strong thesis to perfecting the final draft. It is an especially valuable resource for students leaving the world of high school essays for college papers.

Some students who have used the CTL for its writing services think highly of the program, saying it is a great offering.

Freshman Cameron Posey said, “The people here are a great resource, and I can go to them at any time.”

The CTL also features the Academic Accommodations Program, which is intended to help students with documented learning disabilities. Its goal is to ensure that all students receive appropriate academic help and succeed in college.

Another aspect of the CTL is its variety of courses. Classes are offered for business and technical writing, ESL instruction, advanced composition, as well as mathematics. Each of these classes represent the accessible and boundless help made available to students by the CTL.

One of the off-site programs is Red Room tutoring, located on the second floor of Seymour Library, which features peer-tutorial instruction in mathematics, foreign languages and the sciences. Help is offered for 14 subjects on a walk-in basis every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Some of the latest subjects included are Computer Science, Chinese, Psychology, and Environmental Studies. Tutors here are usually majors or minors in the subjects they tutor and can offer assistance for beginning and intermediate courses. The tutors here are often enthusiastic, supportive, and willing to provide instruction for all students. Some man the Red Room tables, and others meet students one-on-one.

However, tutoring is not the only service provided. This fall, Sharon Trotter-Martin, the CTL’s writing coordinator, is preparing to offer three reading and writing courses, which she hopes will become a regular feature of the CTL. Students should be receiving information about them soon.

“The idea is to have tutors leading workshops,” Trotter-Martin said.

Student-led tutoring is a major facet of the CTL. With over a dozen writing tutors and 50 subject tutors, they are able to cover the full spectrum of courses at Knox. Each of them is trained and they must have taught their subject, work well with others, and demonstrate a mastery of their chosen subject.

John Haslem, director of the CTL, said, “[The CTL] is not just a resource, but an opportunity for students who want to be trained to teach their favorite subjects.”

He emphasized that these students bring energy and passion to the CTL as well as improve existing procedures. The tutors themselves also benefit from the programs, as they learn more through teaching their favorite subjects.

Devinne Stevens


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