Office of Learning Services – Because Sometimes Students Need a Helping Hand
Trinity’s Office of Learning Services (OLS) sees nearly one-fifth of the student body coming through its office on a yearly basis. With tremendous support from the administration, the OLS has grown and expanded its services under the direction of Nancy Kwasteniet.
“We provide academic resources which enable students to accomplish their goals,” Kwasteniet said.
All services are confidential and free to students. The OLS offers resources such as tutoring and academic coaching to the general student body. Students wondering about a potential learning issue can receive academic counseling and discuss the possibility of a diagnostic evaluation. Students with identified disabilities have the legal right to receive accommodations. The director of the OLS works closely with the student and the student’s professors to devise an individualized accommodation plan which may include things like extended time for testing and utilizing text-to-audio reading systems.
“Trinity’s small size proves beneficial as the OLS facilitates open communication between students and instructors,” Kwasteniet explained. Many of the professors “go above and beyond” in this “highly collaborative process,” she said, noting that Trinity’s faculty understands both the legal and ethical implications of supporting all of their students.
Tutoring and Academic Coaching
The OLS offers tutors, academic coaches, and help through the Writing Center. Students can request tutors for a specific subject or an academic coach to help them prioritize and organize their schedules as well as hold them accountable for their work.
“It’s also for really strong students who want to get the most out of their classes,” Kwasteniet said. The aim is to help students excel in all areas, so they reach their academic goals. She added that it’s not unusual for a student to serve as a tutor in one subject and to seek tutoring in another.
“I think it is also beneficial for the tutors,” said student tutor coordinator Jessica De Young ’13 of Waupun, Wisconsin, “because it gives them a chance to use their strengths in certain subjects to help others learn.”
A new program implemented in fall 2010 is Supplemental Instruction (SI), headed up by Lisa Kuiper, coordinator of student support services. Trained student leaders attend lectures and lead SI group study sessions each week. The leaders act as facilitators to help students process the course material and study more efficiently. SI is currently being offered for Math 151, Biology 205/206, Chemistry 101/102, and Accounting 221/222.
Students who have benefited from the help they received from taking part in the SI program say:
“SI is very helpful, and I would recommend it to anyone – it is nice to get a student perspective from the material. I think I do better in a group session, and it has improved my knowledge of the material.”
“I always came out of SI sessions with a clearer idea and understanding of the material. It was nice to have multiple SI’s a week, as well as [the SI leader] having office hours. I was able to approach my test more relaxed because I had been to SI.”
“[The SI leader] was wonderful! She offered so much help and time to us. She made me feel comfortable and adjusted to everyone’s learning levels and abilities. She definitely was a huge contributing factor to my grades.”
The OLS creates a supportive atmosphere where students can receive free and confidential help. With the number of students taking advantage of the resources steadily increasing each year, the OLS will continue to expand its services.
For a complete list and explanation of all the services provided by the Office of Learning Services, visit http://studentlife.trnty.edu/office-of-learning-services.html.
Director Nancy Kwasteniet explains the help available to students through the Office of Learning Services: