A Closer Look At QU’s Learning Center

Mary-Catherine Dolan

Making the most of one’s dollar bill is something nearly everyone appreciates- especially with today’s economy. With the hefty tuition price that comes along with being a student at Quinnipiac University, so do many other amities and services that often go unnoticed.
The Learning Center at Quinnipiac University is arguably one of the greatest perks a student has at the school. For no extra cost, students can attend weekly learning seminars or get privately tutored by a student who had an A in the exact same class.
“Every week last semester, I would sit in my math class and know I could only understand the material with the help of my weekly learning center sessions,” said sophomore health science major Courtney Stellwag. “The tutors are really helpful, and going there helped me pass my tests.”
Sessions in the Learning Center vary every week in topic but are held Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. in the heavily traveled Tator Hall. The Learning Center leaves next to nothing untouched in the world of academia. Skills seminars such as, “What’s your learning style?” “Reading in the margins,” “Time management,” “Note taking,” “Coping with test anxiety,” and “Surviving Finals Week,” are all accessible to students of any grade.
Ask assistant director of the Learning Center Bernard Grindel what he thinks the center provides students with and he will give you a single answer: “Autonomy.” The idea of students becoming more independent and self-sufficient through attending the sessions in the learning center is not just an idea he embodies but one that he actually sees being brought to life.
“We are an arm of the university,” Grindel said of the program, “The learning center is the student’s first line of academic assistance.” Indeed, when students feel as if they do not comprehend material or have an assignment coming up they need help with, all they have to do is sign up for their particular class on the board for a one-on-one study session.
During those study sessions, guided by tutors hired with professor recommendations and A’s in their courses, students can choose between a 30 minute or one hour session. The 30 minute sessions allow for the student work on things with the tutor, go back independently and look over the material then come back for the following session for a recap of what he or she actually retained.
As far as the learning skills seminars go, “We see more people in the fall semester, and a lot of freshmen in general,” said Grindel. Seeing groups for the seminars range between 75-80 students and faculty some weeks and 15-35 on others is common. Grindel said the learning seminars are decided through factoring in attendance and a need basis for the particular skill. “We program in the ones that seem to make sense.”
When asked what he thinks the most challenging aspect students face with their learning today, Grindel said, “Time management is a universal concern.” “But the number one challenge I see is students not being able to make a transition from the student who has been guided by teachers to an environment where they live by their own rules.” Simply putting it-Students aren’t adjusting well to the learning styles of college.
“Students need to realize that their professors are scholars and they are scholars. They are engaged in the same thing-everyone is looking for knowledge,” said Grindel, “For higher education to be worthwhile, they must realize that.” True to his statement, the learning center teaches the student to reach out to the professor, to reach out for help in general. Everyone is willing to make it work.
Want a short and sweet reason to start making appointments at the learning center? “Students who do use [it] have higher GPA’s than those who don’t,” said Grindel. “We get feedback from students saying how much more independent they are, so what we’re aiming at is happening.”
Believe it or not, midterms are right around the corner with finals following closely on their trail. If you are a student who wants to take charge of your studies, the learning center is freely and readily available. If nothing else, just try it-“It’s very low risk,” said an assured Bernie Grindel.