BY LAYTH ISMAIL
The Quantitative & Science Center (Q&SC) opened this semester in Martin Library of the Sciences to help students with quantitative elements in any course they may be taking, not only in math or the sciences.
According to the Ellie Rice, interim director of the Q&SC and visiting professor of biology, the center and its tutoring initiative have developed through consultation with faculty members over the last two years. People at the center employ a responsive and flexible approach driven by department-specific concerns, which, according to Rice, is still undergoing revision.
“For the near future, we are entering a pilot phase where we welcome feedback on the plans we put into action,” Rice said.
The center broadly supports development of quantitative, scientific, and problem solving skills in the F&M community.
“Our first initiative is to broaden and strengthen peer tutoring for science and quantitative disciplines,” Rice said. “The overall goal is to improve student learning outcomes through peer-to-peer guidance.”
In order to achieve its goals the Q&SC is launching new programs, including quantitative fellows, individual tutoring, and supplemental instruction, in addition to supporting their existing drop-in tutoring. Students work one- on-one with a quantitative fellow to solve problems for courses across the F&M curriculum. In individual tutoring, students work directly with a tutor or in groups to ask questions and receive help in difficult areas. Lastly, supplemental instruction tutors run voluntary work-sessions to help students master study skills. Drop-in tutoring is available in biology, chemistry, math, computer science, physics and astronomy.
There are about 30 tutors working in the Q&SC in addition to another 12 available in Stager Hall, who work on math and computer science. Additionally, according to Rice, the center is looking to hire tutors for 2014-2015.
There currently exists some coordination between the Q&SC tutoring and tutoring offered by the Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs (OMCA).
“OMCA tutors are also Q&SC tutors; they hold hours in both loca- tions,” Rice said.
Drop-in tutoring hours are from Sunday through Thursday from seven
to 10 p.m., though specific subjects are only available on certain days. Moreover, individual appointments are scheduled at a mutually convenient time for the student and peer tutor. These appointments are scheduled by filling out an application to request a tutor. Then, students are matched with a peer tutor by the Q&SC. Students can get involved by visiting the center for assistance and by applying to be tutors for next year.
“Faculty and students can help the center by spreading the word to students who are seeking help in any of the supported courses,” Rice said.
For more information on the Q&SC, visit http://www.fandm.edu/academics/quantitative-science-center.
First- year Layth Ismail is a contributing writer. His email is lismail@ fandm.edu.