Academic Success Center Tutoring Program: The Power of Peers

The News Magazine of HCU

HBU is known for its friendly professors, whose open-door policy helps ensure students aren’t lacking in academic support. But sometimes, a boost from another perspective is just what is needed to help students perform well in a course. The Academic Success Center Tutoring Program is about employing the power of peers.

Undergraduate or graduate students who need assistance in a subject or in a writing assignment may schedule tutoring via HBU’s portal for next-day appointments. Students may also visit the ASC, housed in the Moody Library, during library hours for walk-in appointments or to schedule a tutoring session in person. “When students come for a tutoring appointment, they’re learning from a peer who has taken the class, earned an ‘A,’ and received a professor recommendation,” explained Margaret Humphreys, director of the ASC. “Sometimes students are more comfortable approaching a peer for help instead of a professor.”

About 50 qualified tutors assist other students at the center. “Hiring effective tutors and partnering with our faculty are two keys to the ASC’s success,” Humphreys said. The center is CRLA (College Reading & Learning Association)-certified. The ASC’s services also encompass academic coaching, supplemental instruction, online tutoring, academic workshops and test reviews.

Biology major Oscar Benitez, Jr. comes to the ASC regularly for tutoring across subjects. “In high school, sometimes getting tutoring has a stigma. But in the college setting, you’re dumb if you don’t go,” he said. “I say to people who struggle in class: ‘Have you gone to tutoring?’ You have to take advantage of the resource.”

Tutors like Klaire Ansell, a philosophy major, benefit from the program as well. She is able to practice toward her goal of becoming a professor while having a part-time job on campus. “I love doing it; I like the people,” she said. “I would always recommend it to everyone.” In addition to the tutors, the ASC employs several student workers to facilitate appointments and keep the center’s 3,000 appointments per year running smoothly.

Students don’t pay a fee for the tutoring service, and are not limited in the amount of tutoring they may receive. The ASC, with its moveable furniture, Apple televisions, dry erase surfaces and private study booths – all made possible by donors – has become a learning and studying magnet for students.

For soccer athlete Malik Key, the community environment facilitates study groups and connections outside of formal tutoring as well. “That’s the great thing about being in the ASC. You have a lot of others in the same major whom you can go to,” he said. “If I need help, I’ll study with someone who’s about to graduate. Nobody judges you if you don’t understand the concept. Everybody here is welcoming.”

Humphreys said, “The ASC is one of students’ favorite places on campus. We are kind and helpful to students while also empowering them with the resources they need to be successful.”

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