In the next few semesters, imagine seeing Western achieve an increase in retention rates and a decrease in students enrolled in the freshman level reading, math and English courses. Picture Western with an increase in overall GPAs and possibly even a higher graduation rate. This won’t be due to any magic or super intelligent genies that decided to land on our campus. It will be because the Center for Academic Support, Western’s tutoring center, has grown in membership, services and certifications.
In October, the CAS was re-certified for another five years. This re-certification, through an international organization called the College Reading and Learning Association, promotes a tutoring program with special skills and assets that can be beneficial to every student at Missouri Western.
Assistant Dean of Student Academics, Corla Dawson has been at the CAS for over 15 years. She is currently the CAS director and writing coordinator. She helped push the certification process through and is very excited about the CAS’s hopeful future.
“If we follow CLRA guidelines to train our tutors and to certify them, we think we get high caliber tutors as a result,” Dawson said. “It allows us to offer a lot of training when we hire tutors, especially math and writing tutors. We put them through the certification training process as a result of the certification. Then, as they complete level one or level two, they become more highly trained, and, as a result, it benefits the students that they work with.”
Dawson also explains that the re-certification process this time was a lot more difficult then in the previous five years. Only 800 programs are currently certified in the U.S. and eight other countries.
“They required a lot more documentation,” Dawson said. “We were waiting and waiting to hear. I think we had everything probably in May, and we just learned we were re-certified in October.”
CAS Administrative Assistant Karen Luke feels that in addition to more proficient tutoring, the certification will also keep the tutors and program in check.
“Their program is set up to where they give us good guidelines and expectations,” Luke said. “It keeps us in line with what we need to be doing as a good qualified program. The training and the workshops we provide are geared to what tutors need to be focusing on to provide the best services possible to our clients.”
In addition to the certification, the CAS also received comments about the center and their tutoring services.
“One of their comments was that they felt our tutoring program was very solid,” Dawson said. “That was good to hear. They were very complimentary with their comments. That further validates the re-certification.”
Veteran tutor senior Gary Weidemann has been tutoring at the CAS for three and a half years. He feels the certification gives students a better knowledge in the program they need help in.
“It allows [tutors] get more in-depth on certain aspects and gives them more qualification,” Weidemann said. “They should know that we are here to be used as a resource. We can provide them with the help they need.”