Tutor Training Certification: (ITTPC) International Tutor Training Program Certification
CRLA TUTOR PROGRAM CERTIFICATION….Consider the POSSIBILITIES!
CRLA Tutor Program Certification offers numerous benefits for individual tutors, tutorial coordinators, and programs. The following is a partial list of the opportunities/benefits that are possible with CRLA Tutor Program Certification:
Academic Success, Creighton University - Omaha, NE:
Certification has absolutely taken our program to a new level. Partners across campus allow us to train students who will be working peer-to-peer with others. The tutoring program has become much more organized, while also providing a product that is much stronger than it was 5 years ago when we began.
Enhanced Learning Center & Office of Student-Athlete Success, University of Arkansas, AR:
The certification process has provided a bench-mark reference for the development and delivery of our tutor training. The “TILR” expectation has helped us to make our training more interactive and, as a result, has had a positive impact on our tutors understanding of concepts and methodologies which were not intuitive to them. The inclusion of tutor projects for collaborative learning has not only provided a better sense of community within our tutoring corps but also reinforced the principles and approaches taught during our training.
Academic Support Center, University of New Mexico - Los Alamos, NM:
Our status as a certified tutor training program has contributed to a dramatic increase in usage of the center (314% over the past three semesters) and to a more competitive pool of peer tutor applicants. However, the greatest benefit of the program has been to ensure that my tutors and I regularly reflect on our tutoring habits, how we can best address common issues, and how we can help to address the challenges faced by our institution. We of course always did this at some level, but it has been enormously helpful to do so on a regular, formal basis and in a context where we can share experiences, ideas, challenges, etc. The program also brings new tutors “up to speed” much more quickly and greatly aids their development. I’d almost say that the very fact of having regular meetings and formal agenda has been more beneficial than any particular reading, topic, book, etc.
TUTORING CENTER, SOUTHERN STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE - Central Campus - Hillsboro, OH:
The certification process provided much needed structure, organization, and guidance to all stakeholders. The certification process forced us to implement tools necessary for tracking and documenting tutoring, tightening up FERPA practices, informing tutors about their roles and effective tutoring practices, and ensuring campus-wide that students would receive quality tutoring.
Before certification, tutors were simply told to report and often overstepped their bounds. They only dealt with the content matter and were not trained to assist students with learning strategies like time management, taking notes, and organization. The training prepares them to deal with these very real learning issues.
Some unexpected returns for pursuing the ITTPC include an enhanced our relationship with faculty who now refer students to tutoring knowing that the tutors are prepared and a better grasp of the issues and practices unique to adult learners who comprise a large percentage of our institution’s population. Adjuncts who serve as tutors have told us that the training they receive from our program is training that should be implemented for adjuncts who often do not have an education background. They have benefited from it as well.
CASA Tutoring Program, Texas A&M, Corpus Christi, TX:
The certification has greatly benefited the program as well as the tutors, the institution and myself. The program has the advantage of following a prescribed set of guidelines, which are aligned with national research and best practices. Tutors receive the tools they need to be confident and effective in helping students. They are given a syllabus of training at the beginning, detailing all the training and its rationale. Dates, topics, amount of time, methods, materials and readings are included on the syllabus. Tutors interaction with other tutors provide for a variety of viewpoints and ideas. Roleplaying helps tutors feel more comfortable and confident in their abilities when the time comes to work with students. Faculty incorporated in the training not only helps the tutor have a better subject specific understanding of knowledge, but also fosters a mentoring relationship, which is beneficial for career and/or graduate school advise and guidance.
Administration is able to say that our program follows the nation’s best practices guidelines for learning centers. They can be confident our students are given the best possible academic support a learning center can offer. This gives our program prestige on campus as well as in the Higher Education community. Personally, I feel assured that by following this certification I am covering all the areas tutors need to successfully help students. As a result, the tutors also grow professionally. Tutors build marketable skills, are challenged and given the opportunity to analyze and reflect on their own performance. They receive a strong training in a variety of areas, which can and will translate to future employment and/or educational endeavors.
In addition to the obvious benefits such as knowledge acquisition, learning correct form and the “way(s) of the tutor”, the actual certification (sausage making) process brought a number of stakeholders together for the first time to think through our mission, values and reason for being. It is such a detailed process that it focuses the mind on every aspect of our operation. We were able to identify weaknesses in the system as well as areas of strength. Even before we heard the magic words, “you are certified”, our tutors, program and institution had already greatly benefitted from our interaction with the process.
One unintended consequence, yet critically important benefit was that certification raised the profile of our operation so significantly that it allowed us to face down a potential threat to the system when privately run tutoring facilities attempted to get an operational foothold into our institution. They promised the upper administration lower overheads, less staffing needs and access to all the technological bells and whistles that money could afford. Yet, the fact that our stakeholders were aware of the process we had endured toward CRLA certification allowed us to boldly articulate and defend our position with our upper administration and beat back the cleverly crafted and presented elevator pitch by the private tutoring company. This is a positive unintended consequence that every applicant should be aware of. This alone was worth the effort.
Stark Academic Success Center Tutor Training Program, Kent State University - Stark, OH:
The benefits of CRLA certification have far outweighed any challenges we have faced! Overall the certification process has helped us to focus appropriately on the training process that we want to provide for the benefit of the tutors and the students we serve.
From a purely practical standpoint, developing a tutor training program was one of the goals with which my boss charged me when I was hired. Developing and implementing a program that has now earned CRLA certification allowed me to demonstrate that I had not only met that goal but had created a program of high quality that adheres to respected external standards.
...Kent State students must complete an Experiential Learning Requirement in every degree program. The CRLA-certified training is an option for our tutors to use for this requirement. Working with the faculty member who recommended the tutor, the tutor can demonstrate that the experience of becoming and serving as a trained tutor enhanced his or her education...
I am able to reward tutors for gaining training and experience because of the certification we have earned. Our Campus Dean agreed to raise our tutors’ pay from minimum wage by $.25/hour as a tutor completes the ten hours of training and accumulates the 25 hours of contact time tutoring with students...The CRLA certification was a strong factor in my being able to convince the Dean of the wisdom of implementing this tiered pay scale for our tutors.
...when I talk about our tutoring program, I can now lead with the fact that our tutors and students benefit from a CRLA-certified training program. It increases the confidence our faculty, students, and staff have in our tutoring program. I believe that having a certified program leads to more recommendations to use the services and a greater degree of pride in our tutors for achieving levels of certification. I feel that the Academic Success Center Tutor Training Program commands respect and helps us to be regarded as an exemplary program in the Kent State University system.
Academic Success Center TRiO SSS, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR:
Two of the most outstanding benefits of the certification process for our program are 1) a more focused awareness and effort by our program staff of the need for both organized and consistent training of our tutors, and 2) the resultant provision of better-prepared and eager tutors for our students.
...the end goal of a tutor is to assist a student in developing his own critical thinking skills – all of these are vital pieces to the bigger puzzle of what it means to be a tutor. Since the implementation of our training program – based on the guidelines and information learned and applied while preparing for certification – our tutors are learning these key facets of tutoring and more. They are far better-equipped to serve our students fully, and they draw motivation from being trained. Win-win-win! The program, the students, the tutors – all benefit by having a quality training program.
...We just can’t say enough how grateful we are that we undertook this process, learned from experienced professionals at conferences and such, and sought to lift the quality of our program services by establishing this training program.
...The institution benefits along with tutors, students, and our program. Students stay more engaged when supported by tutors. They tend to make better grades in their coursework than before they received tutoring. Retention through graduation is also increased for our students who take advantage of tutoring. Our program has a higher graduation rate than does the university-at-large student population, thanks in
Writing Support Services Writing Resource Center, Western New England University, MA:
Receiving CRLA certification seems to serve as an incentive for students (especially new English majors) to apply for work at the Writing Resource Center. Since we received CRLA Certification, we have noted that a significant number of instructors and program directors have registered assignments and required their students to use the Center as part of their course grade. Our Admissions Office has incorporated our CRLA certification as part of their campus tours/programs, and it does appear that entering students are, more than ever, aware of the services provided by our English Department. Faculty members who teach our introduction to college class, Freshman Seminar, are now more apt to call on the Writing Center tutors to visit their classes and talk about our services. All in all, this certification has served as validation for the importance of the work we do at the Writing Resource Center.
Academic Resource Center Tutor Professional Development Program, Massasoit Community College, MA:
[Just added Level III and was responding to the benefit of having a certified Level III]
The Level III Certification process has provided multiple benefits! It has certainly provided new opportunities for veteran tutors. The Level III component has energized these tutors and allowed them to set new training and certification goals for themselves. The new component has also enhanced tutoring services by providing veteran tutors a renewed focus with new Level III training topics. The change has even positively impacted newer tutors by strengthening veterans’ skills in training and mentoring new tutors. For example, Level III certification has allowed us to incorporate more veteran tutors into facilitating training for the newer tutors, bringing an additional level of credibility to the trainings, and providing professional development opportunities in teaching and mentoring for veteran tutors. Finally, the Level III certification process has enhanced the integrity of our program with students, staff, faculty and administrators as they see our commitment to well-trained tutors.
We will certify more tutors at Level III in the coming year and fully expect this cohort to grow, including incorporating tutors from other areas.
SOAR Tutoring Services (STS), Shelton State Community College, AL:
We have experienced many benefits of being a certified program. One of these is having the ITTPC guidelines to ensure that we are meeting a standard that will provide training and expectations that are held in high esteem among professionals in our field. Being certified has also provided increased respect for our program. Due to the way tutoring was managed before, there were many skeptics on campus. There is a newfound admiration for the program and our efforts. Another benefit has been terrific publicity for the College as we are the only two-year school in our state with this credential. We have received numerous accolades for reaching this standard and we are committed to maintaining what we have begun, as well as improving! Many schools have come to visit our campus to learn more about our program. We also presented at the NADE 2014 conference about our tutoring program and included information about the certification.
The Center for Academic Excellence - Ivy Tech Community College, Elkhart County Campus, IN:
The Center for Academic Excellence’s tutoring team is very proud of our certification. Many of my team members cheered on the previous coordinator as she worked through the necessary paperwork to begin the process of becoming CRLA certified. Certification gives all of us a sense of accomplishment. We know our contribution to student support services holds substantial value.
The certification process has brought the tutoring program a lot of respect and support from administrators. In 2011, one of our accreditors named our certification as being an Exemplary Practice...the Provost and the Dean of Students, are aware, proud of, and extol the selection process, training, and preparation that our tutors go through. It has certainly generated a great deal of interest of students applying to work as a tutor; we have many more applications than positions available year after year...
The Learning Center - East Central College (at Union, Rolla, & Sullivan), MO:
CRLA certification benefits tutors by increasing the legitimacy of their work experience and firmly establishes their credibility through a certification from a professional organization of peers dedicated to college learning. CRLA certification benefits our Learning Center by ensuring that our tutors are engaged in their field and maintaining a level of performance suitable to the institution. The certification also provides a degree of recognition for our Learning Center from the institution to which we belong. The CRLA certification benefits the institution by meeting and maintaining the level of excellence we strive for as an institution of higher learning...
...The certification process has benefited everyone by creating more consistent tutoring from all of the tutors...also created a more professional atmosphere which has aided in collaboration between faculty and tutors...
...Meeting these standards gives the tutors confidence to assist the students and recognize each other as an Educational Professional...
...The certification process also allows new tutors the opportunity to hear from experienced tutors on what has worked for them and gives new tutors the opportunity to implement these ideas in their tutoring sessions.
Tutoring Centers - Northwest Region, Ivy Tech Community College - Northwest Region, IN:
The CRLA certification process has benefited us across the board, by providing standardization in tutor training to all four of our campuses. This, in turn, lends itself to the tutors using similar methods to deliver services to our students. This also means that an Ivy Tech student can seamlessly walk in to any of our four locations and expect a similar tutoring experience. In our efforts to follow the CRLA training requirements, our tutors become better prepared to facilitate learning with their students, and also know what to expect over the course of their tenure. The CRLA requirements for our training are also extremely motivational for our tutors. It gives our tutors praise and recognition for participating and acquiring skills that will benefit them not only in this position, but also in any situation where they are dealing with people. This accountability to an outside entity is proof that they are successful in their efforts toward professional development and their own education.
The Academic Learning Center - The Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago - Mart
First, certification by the College Reading & Learning Association has contributed to the Academic Learning Center reputation...
Second, and as far as our internal administration, seeking CRLA Level II certification has helped us grow in the right direction. Considering the CRLA Level II certification and then applying for it makes one reflect qualitatively on the tutoring services offered and its administration. It also works as an assessment tool, which is necessary, especially when facing growth without knowing how to tackle rapid change to take the center to its next stage of development. The CRLA level II has been a stepping stone in the Academic Learning Center evolution.
Since being granted CRLA Level II certification, our operation has flourished. We went from having a peer-tutoring team of eight to now 11 tutors. As of December 2012, we had an average of 15 faculty tutors who work in the Academic Center on a regular basis. We now have over 20 faculty tutors who work an average of four hours per week, every quarter...As aforementioned, the CRLA Level II certification has pushed us to rethink some of our processes. One of them was how we communicated tutoring services to the Ai community. Was it done efficiently? How could it be improved? After reading some of the CRLA level II materials and testimonies, we saw an opportunity to develop our communication...Finally, peer-tutors have been conducting in-class ALC presentations at the beginning of each quarter. This communication campaign has been fruitful as confirmed in our data analysis. Tutoring visits have increased 20% over the past year and tutoring sessions by 13% since 2012.
As the tutoring manager, I have also been integrating the CRLA level certification in the hiring and training process. I discuss with candidates how the certification holds us to the highest tutoring standards. Consequently, I strive to hire the best tutors and I make a point of sharing this with my candidates. I also emphasize that being certified as a tutor is a resume builder in terms of hard and soft skills. The tutoring hiring process is well-known and highly respected in our school. More high-achieving students are approaching me about tutoring positions or are recommended by instructors or Academic Directors. Being a certified tutor has become somewhat of a status builder for high-achieving students who work in the Academic Learning Center. It has invigorated their sense of pride, performance and accountability.
Albany Tutoring Centers (Tutoring Center & Writing Center) - Linn-Benton Community College, OR
As the coordinator of the program, the certification process has benefited me, in that, it gives me a chance to stand back and reflect upon what we are doing as a program. How are we supporting our staff and consequently, our students? If I am able to provide my staff with a strong foundation in tutoring skills, they are better equipped and able to help students succeed. When I look at our training program, at both 1evels, through the lens of CRLA, I am able to look at areas where we need to strengthen our knowledge base and ultimately help students succeed. The addition of the Diversity training about poverty is an example of this. I was able to reflect and even though we have already met the requirement, I can ask: What else can we do? What aren’t we doing? What holes or gaps exist?
I notice with each training, each hour tutored, each level acquired my tutors grow in confidence and professionalism. In much the same way confidence is integral for students receiving tutoring, it is essential for the tutors. As they reach certification, I can see them settle into their roles and knowledge a little more comfortably. They are, for the most part, thankful for the training opportunities and glad we don’t just “throw them in the water.” I also think a key part of confidence building comes from the evaluation process. We have it built in so the tutors are able to get feedback from myself and students. I feel it’s important they hear the positive, truly good work they are doing. We treat any type of negative feedback as constructive feedback. We try to learn and grow from it, as individuals and as a program. We seek out new training opportunities to strengthen areas where we might need help.
I think the program and institution have benefited from certification by the credibility and consistency it adds. Students have remarked to me that they can tell each of our staff, although they have different tutoring styles, have received the same training. This speaks volumes to me. Having this consistency helps get our name out in a very positive manner. In my opinion, you can’t ask for better marketing, or branding than that!
As I mentioned, tutors have always been very appreciative of the chance to strengthen their skills and gain some footing in a field where for many, it is their first foray. Here are some quotes from some of our staff on how they feel training and certification has benefitted them:
“The training has helped me to recognize my own successful learning techniques, which in turn helps me to articulate them to my tutees. I haven't been certified in anything, yet, so I can't speak directly to how certification could potentially help me.” – Anna, Psychology Tutor
“As an older student returning after an eight-year break, I've come to a hard realization that some of my study skills are rather rusty. I think our study skills training not only made me better able to aid the students I'm tutoring, but also helped me make better use of my own study time.”
“I enjoyed the training because it gave a fresh perspective to things and opened up conversations with the tutoring coordinator that has helped me in other jobs.”- Sonya, Psychology Tutor
“I find that the training has helped me to better understand how adults learn, and how I can use that understanding to assist adult learners. The training also has helped me to understand the ways in which a person's background can affect their learning.”- Josh, Math & Chemistry Tutor
“As a supervisor, the certification process prompted me to review, in depth, my prior training processes and topics and to take the opportunity to revise them. This process was a creative one and also enhanced collaborative training sessions with the Tutoring Center and the College Skills Zone. In depth and ongoing training is critical for the Writing Center because we work with student writing across the curriculum and because the students we assist are diverse both in their backgrounds and their communication skills. Participation in CRL requires ongoing reflection about training topics, those that are needed to create a foundation and those that allow flexible responses to new issues. For my tutors, certification has been a way to recognize their skills and dedication and to strengthen their resumes. Certification is an achievement we can also use to further educate faculty and staff about the high standards of our programs and tutors.”- Victoria Fridley, Writing Center Coordinator
The Certification process has been a positive experience on many levels. It has given our tutorial program a sense of accomplishment and of being “official,” and it has provided our tutors with a sense of professionalism and pride. The guidelines are well-defined and yet simple enough that we were able to make sure our training is in line with CRLA and ITTPC guidelines. Simply stated, it makes us look good to the campus administrators, faculty, and students. We are very proud of our certification and look forward to attaining Level II certification.
Academic Success Center, Avarett University - Danville, VA:
Learning Commons, Tallahassee Community College, FL:
Our training program helped tutors become more effective and gain confidence as they acquired new strategies and techniques. The program helped eliminate barriers that naturally exist between supervisors and subordinates, creating a more collegial environment and empowering tutors to seek advice after encountering difficult situations. Participating in our training program also helped tutors feel a greater connection to the institution and its mission. In addition, the topics in this level enabled tutors to develop diverse strategies to assist students and then share those strategies with their colleagues. “Probing Questions” was probably one of the most beneficial Level II topics because it allowed tutors to avoid the temptation to “fix” student errors. As the tutors gained maturity and more experience throughout the training program, we found that they did not need as much support from the permanent staff, giving specialists time to liaise with faculty, conduct workshops, and update area resources. Furthermore, a more mature, trained staff enables us to maintain high tutoring standards for our students; consequently, the faculty’s faith in us remains high.
As an added benefit, our building-wide training program became more organized during this level. The permanent staff members in the Learning Commons have worked together to streamline many administrative processes, which should make tracking and certification easier in the future.
Mary Stangler Center for Academic Success, St. Cloud Technical and Community College, MN:
Customer satisfaction has steadily increased since implementing the tutor training program. Looking at the three semesters we had data before tutor training was implemented, an average of 80.9% of students said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the CAS. In the 4 semesters since training was implemented (including Spring 2013), an average of 84.1% of students said they were very or somewhat satisfied. We are able to advertise our certification and satisfaction data as shown above, which has instilled confidence in College faculty, staff, and students that the CAS is a professional and academic resource. A possible result is increased usage of the CAS. For example, the number of total recorded logins for the CAS increased from 5,669 in Spring 2012 to 7,032 in Spring 2013.
Academic Success Center, Austin Peay University, Clarksville, TN:
Student Success Center Tutoring Program, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN:
Campus Tutoring Copperative, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL:
As a result of an improved tutor training program, we can provide a higher quality of tutoring services to FSU students which ultimately has a positive impact on student retention and graduation rates.
The Learning Services Peer Tutoring Program, Mount St. Mary's University, Emmitsburg, MD:
Another main benefit has been experienced by our Peer Tutors. First of all, the implantation of the CRLA standards has provided our Peer Tutors with the proper amount of training, supervision, and evaluation needed for them to flourish as tutors. Many of those tutors who were here before 2010 have expressed to me and to my Director how much better things are now than when they first started tutoring. They feel supported and better equipped to help their peers, which is a great thing to hear. In addition, the Peer Tutors who have been able to reach Level I certification as individuals have received the benefit of that recognition as well. Many of them are applying to graduate school and jobs after they graduate, and the Level I Certification looks great for them in those processes, especially for those who are pursuing careers related to education. I can also tell that this certification now gives them something to work towards as Peer Tutors. They would all tutor without this benefit, but I can tell that they appreciate the concept of getting an individual certificate after they have spent a certain amount of time dedicated to their fellow students.
The Peer Tutoring Program, Wheelock College, Boston, MA:
Since our training has become certified by CRLA, there has been an increase in the number of applicants, which has given us a larger pool of stronger applicants to choose from.
Certification has provided our program with a valuable way to promote our tutoring program to university administration and to the rest of the campus. It has allowed us to demonstrate the time and effort that goes into the training component of tutoring, and that tutoring is a professional role that involves in-depth training in pedagogy, communication, and other skills.
Our Division of Student Development recognized our level 1 certification has a significant achievement within the department of academic support. Our Vice President of Student Development made sure that news of this accomplishment reached the President, and the President has subsequently noted the tutoring achievements within his monthly messages.
Level 1 certification validated our program. It was a great advantage to our college’s application for Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation. When the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) team visited our college, they singled out our program as being an asset to our college.
Certification was used to showcase the professionalism of our tutoring center. Also, creating the actual documentation was useful to see how wonderful we are.
University Center Rochester (UCR) –
The certification process has allowed us to market our unit as one of the more professional and effective departments on campus. Having an external agency certify our training of student workers is very important to us as a department, but also important to the tutors themselves. They gain confidence in knowing that their training process is thorough, standardized, and comprehensive.
Crafton Hills College Tutoring Center, CA
The tutors who have earned their Level 1 Certification are significantly stronger tutors than the tutors who complete Plymouth State University’s basic tutor training workshop.
The certified tutors are role models for those who are not certified, and they have generated quite a buzz on campus about the strength of our tutoring program. Students ask for our certified tutors by name, and professors appreciate the dedication these tutors have to their work.
The CRLA certification process has added much needed structure and legitimacy to the ASSA Tutor Program.
The ASSA tutors have benefited from the certification because upon completion they are eligible for a raise and or promotion.
The increased attention to the tutoring program has had a direct impact in our student-athletes academic performance.
...The tutors stated that the peer tutor training has greatly helped them to improve their tutoring skills.
One of the mathematics faculty, who observed one of the face-to-face training sessions, said that the training was very thorough and she felt more confident in sending her students to receive tutoring assistance from the trained peer tutors.
Parkland’s Center for Academic Success has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a model program for providing academic support for developmental students. The fact that the peer tutor training program was CRLA-certified was emphasized in the report to the U.S. Department of Education...
..For us, implementing CRLA Certification as a requirement for our staff has created a more customer/student-centered, service-providing atmosphere.
Carol Bond, the Student Learning Center Manager for all Palm Beach State College campuses states,
“CRLA certification has significantly added to the prestige and professionalism of our Student Learning Centers’ tutoring component.
As our tutors strive to reach Level III certification, they become role models to new tutors and certification achievement has become a greater focus in each of our labs.
The Student Learning Center Cluster from all four campus locations also included CRLA certification as a focus for our Learning Outcomes.”
Tutors often continue with us for several years, and one challenge we have faced is how to keep returning tutors interested and engaged in training that they have already completed during the prior year.
Our solution... during the spring semester (..Level 2...for first-year tutors)...tutors themselves would plan and lead the training modules. Tutors select...from the list of Level 2 training modules, plan the training during their...team meetings, then meet with the tutor trainer to finalize their lesson plan. This approach has allowed us to continue to cover the Level 2 topics, but often with a fresh approach each year and in a way that keeps returning tutors engaged in the material by helping to lead the training themselves.
Certification has given our program a new level of credibility with faculty and administration. Our tutors are also excited for the opportunity to achieve the requirements of certification; especially those who are pursuing a teaching degree.
Tutors had some very positive things to say about this new opportunity:
The pros to having certified tutors on our campus are immeasurable.
Salish Kootenai College has a high level of students needing additional resources to succeed in their college career. Many of our students are displaced workers and non-traditional students, who have not been in school for many years. Approximately 70% of our new incoming students, each year, need some type of developmental course before they can enter their programs of study. Many of those students need extra help in writing. Therefore, having access to certified tutors has been a phenomenal asset to our campus.
After a year of students receiving certifications at levels one and two, we have not run into too many concerns. The original program director and those who helped her organize this program did an excellent job. The tutor certification courses run very smooth, and the tutors find this experience both rewarding and grasp the chance for growth in their own writing and interpersonal skills.
When Salish Kootenia College’s Writing Center began in September 2009, it hit the ground running. There was immediate use of the tutors and the center. This has continued to grow each successive quarter. This in and of itself is a good thing; however, we have almost maxed out our resources in just one short year. We have a healthy staff of certified tutors, but due to a shortage of financial resources we struggle to keep up with student demand. The money we had for the initial group of six tutors was sufficient. We want to keep the tutors on after the completion of level 3 training, but there are no more volunteer hours once they complete those levels. We need to find funding for those tutors who have put in the time and energy to become such a valuable resource to our campus. It is an issue we are working to resolve by the end of this year by networking with other departments and actively pursuing outside funding sources.
The certification process has benefited the Salish Kootenai College students and faculty in numerous ways. Since the original certification in August 2009, we have served over 400 students, with a total of 4341 visits in one year. This is quite an accomplishment with only 16 tutors. Salish Kootenai College averages an enrollment of approximately 1100 students, so almost half of this population utilized the Writing Center in its first year. The students and faculty are seeing the benefits of our services and repeating their use of the center and its tutors.
The faculty is seeing improved writing on campus and are asking for more workshops and sending more students in for tutoring every quarter.
CRLA certification has provided students with trained tutors who are prepared to meet student needs. Tutors gain improved writing skills, job skills and interpersonal skills. The SKC Tutoring Program improved retention of students and completion rates in composition courses.
Our institutional support of CRLA tutoring training has had multiple benefits. First, during the year 2009-2010, our retention rate increased by 2% and the College President and his leadership team partially credited this positive gain to the incredible work of our centers. This was substantially accomplished through tutor training which gave tutors the tools and conditions they needed to excel in their role and targeted outreach to the college community. More advanced tutors (which was defined by number of semesters tutoring) were trained on delivering class presentations to promote the services of our centers. For the last 3 semesters, approximately 60 class presentations have occurred each semester which has translated into a steady increase in the sheer number of tutor requests. We also worked with our College Relations department to develop a poster campaign to market our services. We created 6 publications during the 2010-2011 academic year, redesigned the ALC website presence to include the faces and experiences of our tutors which also highlights CRLA certification status, and were interviewed and featured in 2 separate articles in the Reporter, our alumni magazine.
Second, our peer tutor program was developed into a student leadership model. Our Tutor Managers were typically co-presenters in all tutor trainings; they coordinated subject area specific trainings 4 times during the 2010-2011 academic year, and designed many new tutoring resources and handouts for their fellow tutors.
Third, certification facilitated the need to have a solid methodology for tracking tutoring issues, developing a learning partnership philosophy between the tutee and tutor, and empowering the tutors with dozens of strategies to keep the tutoring relationship learner centered and based in practice, review, and study skills instruction. We have developed so many new forms for evaluations, timesheets, tracking tutee progress, a tutor contract, a learning partnership agreement, peer observation forms, and multiple role plays and skits.
Fifth, the status of our certification really enhanced our tutor recruitment process and student satisfaction level. We moved from a place of begging students to apply for this leadership role to receiving many more applications than available positions. This role has evolved into a competitive and selective process on campus. We began tracking the demographics of students using our services and analyzing the results of their evaluations of their tutors. The results have been significantly positive and demonstrate that Albright students are very satisfied with tutors.
Finally, our certification status has significantly enhanced the reputations of our centers on campus. Our senior leadership, specifically the academic dean, provost, and President have made an investment in the intellectual and social development of our students. We have provided substantial data and student testimonials that continue to demonstrate the impact of tutoring on student success. And our tutors repeatedly remark during their performance review that they cannot imagine being a Peer Tutor without the support of tutor training and the mentorship provided by their supervisors. Our faculty continue to volunteer support to our efforts. This has been a wonderful experience.
Our tutors have taken an active role in continuing education. They not only attend conferences, such as the Georgia Tutoring Association (GATA) conference, but often present workshops at these conferences. Of our large group of tutors attending the GATA 2011 conference, at least nine presented workshops. Being certified tutors from a CRLA certified program lends greatly to presenters’ credibility.
As Charity begins at home, our college president made a point of announcing during the annual commencement ceremony that all GPC tutoring centers are CRLA certified. This announcement paved the way for a write up in our college newspaper. Publicity of CRLA certification has bolstered our visibility and credibility among the faculty, who are sometimes dubious to what our tutoring centers are all about.
Our marketing tools (website, bookmarks, and brochures) have been updated to reflect our certification status. Also, our tutors who have become certified by meeting the minimum 25 hours of tutoring and 10 hours of training are honored with a pinning ceremony in which they receive a CRLA pin, a certificate, and an upgraded name badge embossed with their new title: Certified Tutor. These ceremonies not only boost morale and camaraderie, but also draw the attention of our PR department who provides media coverage of these events. To date, we have certified 78 tutors.
Finally, our new student (& parent) open houses / orientations give us another opportunity to spread the word to the community that our tutoring center is CRLA certified...
The ITPC certification process has provided a systematic method of program evaluation and development this year. Benefits associated with the training program include increased tutor commitment and confidence, recognition of quality tutoring services on campus, and improved professional communication among tutors. In addition, certification required the learning center and its tutors to become aware of ineffective administrative processes and program needs. For example, as tutors began certification requirements, we realized the need for a better method of keeping records on tutor performance. Providing adequate and timely feedback on submitted assignments was also difficult. These challenges prompted us to promote one of our lead tutors to help coordinate the paperwork and record-keeping tasks of the training program.
A second challenge that we met implementing the training program this first year was meeting the training needs of tutors at different levels of tutoring experience. We wanted all of our tutors to attend Level 1 tutor training so that all employees had a similar knowledge-base of information. Feedback received on our training survey indicated that all tutors believed tutor training was important but some of the more experienced tutors felt the information was too basic or redundant for their level. The experienced tutors added valuable information to the training discussion. Therefore, instead of exempting these tutors from training in the future, we hope to draw them out as discussion leaders or co-trainers to keep them engaged. As a program, we also hope to receive certification in Level 2 and 3 tutor training by the end of this academic year in order to offer more diverse training options for our diverse tutors.
The certification process has inspired me as a director to be more focused and purposeful in planning professional development for tutors in Learning Support Services. Creating the training curriculum has also illuminated areas of weakness in my own professional development. For instance, in preparing materials for training on tutoring students with disabilities I discovered that I have only a basic understanding of this population. Self-awareness and discovery prompted me to seek out answers and resources to fill in these gaps. Lastly, the certification process helped me to anticipate tutor concerns to address in training which reduced my time counseling individual tutors on commonly encountered problems or issues in tutoring.
Upon implementing the certified tutor training program, our tutors have become more reflective during the tutoring process, better able to regulate and advise each other on tutoring issues, and approach training in a more serious manner since they feel as though they are working towards a goal and not just attending another meeting. Focused tutor training also provides an opportunity for tutors to learn from each other. One tutor commented at the end of training that professional development often presents information that is familiar but perceiving that information from different student perspectives is invaluable.
For the tutors, it [certified training] has provided them with two useful components: a vocabulary for those aspects of tutoring for which they already had an intuitive knowledge, and a deeper understand of topics for which they were not as familiar.
I frequently tell my tutors that what training gives them is a vocabulary for what they already know. They see this very clearly when they do training sessions such as the 12 Steps of the Tutoring Cycle and realize that what they had to piece together (it is literally a puzzle/ordering activity that they do together) is what they naturally do when they sit down to work with a tutee. Not only does this bolster their confidence in their own abilities, but it allows them a common, professional vocabulary when discussing tutoring sessions with their fellow tutors. This greatly enhances and deepens their discussion of tutoring situations and what a tutor’s options are when faced with a challenging tutoring moment. It also allows them to reflect more deeply on tutoring sessions that went exceptionally well, and to analyze more thoroughly why such sessions were more successful.
Level I training also gives the tutors opportunities to learn more about topics, such as learning styles or learning differences, for which they may have only had a glancing knowledge. During interviews, all of my current tutors, when asked, said that if assisting a student with one method did not work, then they would try another way to present the materials until they found something that made sense to the student. While this is a good beginning, learning styles training gave them the tools they needed to try an even wider array of presentation methods, and also clarified the best ways to work with learners who are predominately one style or another. In the same vein, learning differences trainings allowed the students to hear from other students (via video presentation) what it was like to be in the college setting with a difference or disability. It gave them the opportunity to learn what it was that the students themselves needed and felt important that they experienced for their academic success. Again, the tutors walked away with both a deeper understanding of the topic and concrete methods to use when working with students, all of which enhanced the actual tutoring sessions.
Benefit to Tutors:
Benefit to Program:
Benefit to Institution:
The certification process has been extremely helpful in the director’s growth as a higher education administrator with report writing, learning about program evaluation, and to allow structured reporting to upper administration. The process has helped our tutors to see their tutoring job as a possible tutoring profession and true academic domain (and has helped them in securing jobs and internships as they list CRLA Level 3 Certified on their résumés). Being certified at Level 3 has given our program stronger advertising power as we recruit students to our institution and in comparison to other programs on our campus and institutions in our state. It has allowed us to share our quality training program with other tutors on campus and been a role model for 3-4 other learning center directors at neighboring institutions. Mark Walvoord, University of Oklahoma - Norman, Student Learning Center.
The process of becoming CRLA certified at TCC has, in most all aspects, been a positive one for us. It has opened doors to important conversations among the staff and tutors about our tutoring program and about how we have improved our organization and development. The following points represent our discussions about the benefits of the program: