February 5, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 28°F


Tutoring shortage strains campus

Ithaca College students still wishing to receive tutoring for the fall semester may need to seek other outlets for academic assistance.

As of Nov. 2, the college’s Academic Enrichment Services has not accepted any requests for peer tutoring. Yolanda Clarke, director of AES, announced the majority of student tutors are booked at capacity and are not able to take on more students.

HENDERSON said students need to think ahead when requesting a tutor.

Clarke said in her announcement that the program received the highest number of student tutoring requests this fall semester that it has had since it began offering peer tutoring in Fall 2009. To accommodate student needs and make room for student tutor hires for more popular courses, a few classes have been eliminated from the list the tutoring center offers.

Clarke was not available for comment.

Carol Henderson, associate provost for accreditation assessment and curriculum and oversight administrator for AES, said the earlier deadline may encourage students to apply for academic help earlier on in future semesters — if AES chooses to implement a permanent request deadline in the future.

“A lot of what happened in previous semesters was that students were waiting way too long to benefit from tutoring,” she said. “They were calling two or three days before an exam asking if they could get a tutor. If a student wants or needs tutoring in order to succeed, the sooner they seek help, the more they’re going to benefit from it.”

This is the first year AES has implemented a deadline for tutoring requests. However, Henderson said it will not apply to students with learning disabilities who require tutoring services as part of their academic experience.

Students will be able to request peer tutoring again for Spring 2013, as AES is always revising its tutoring list based on the course offerings for the given semester.

To meet the influx of student requests for the semester, AES is also looking to hire student tutors for courses like Financial Accounting, Business Systems & Technology, Statistics for the Health, Life and Social Sciences, Microeconomics, Motor Skills Development and Principles of Marketing. A few of these courses, particularly the sciences and mathematics classes, are what Henderson said are “barrier courses” for students, or classes that have proved to be the greatest obstacles for student success and prevented them from making progress toward their degrees.

Senior Bianca Nicolosi, who has been tutoring students in Spanish and Italian since the beginning of the semester, said she is experiencing the effects of the record request numbers.

“Right now I have five student tutees, and I tutor six days a week,” she said. “I mean, personally, I know that at this point in time I would not be able to take on anymore students.”

For some students, however, the deadline presents a serious academic roadblock. Junior Noah Delin said he has repeatedly reached out to AES for a tutor to help with his Personal Finance class and has yet to receive his desired response.

“I was told they couldn’t process my request for a personal tutor because they were all booked up, but they told me to follow up,” he said. “So I called them two separate times after that, and they haven’t responded to me yet.”

Delin said reaching out for a tutor was a big step for him, as he is someone who doesn’t usually seek academic help. He said he hopes AES will be able to provide him with some form of assistance before his exams.

“Currently I am cramming for my exam by myself,” he said. “I’m still hoping I can get a tutor at some point.