Grand Valley Unveils New and Improved Math and Statistics Tutoring Centers
In Fall semester, 2011, Grand Valley State University opened new, larger Math and Statistics Tutoring Centers to help meet student demand for help in their mathematics and statistics courses. The new centers are over three times as large as the previous tutoring spaces and boast white board tables, computers, and plenty of space for individuals and groups to work on mathematics and statistics.
Mathematics Center tutor Ellen Borgeld states, "We have a lot more students utilizing the math center now that the space is larger. Students will come in and work in groups. Working in groups as well as having tutors available is especially useful for students. We didn't have the space for this in the old center. Students would walk by, decide it was too busy, and leave."
Fellow mathematics and statistics tutor Trisha Mayo adds, "I enjoy the plethora of white board tables. It aids both the tutor and the student. The larger space has also provided a more personal feel when tutoring one-on-one."
The old math lab
The new math lab
Student usage of the new space has increased dramatically. In Fall 2010 (in the old lab space) approximately 4300 hours of student use was recorded. In Fall 2011 (the first semester in the new lab spaces) student use topped 8000 hours! The new spaces are staffed with 25 undergraduate tutors, several biostatistics graduate assistants, and numerous faculty volunteers. During Fall 2011, faculty volunteers contributed 20 hours of tutoring per week, allowing the math and statistics centers to handle the increased student volume with no increase in budget.
The approval, planning, and implementation of the upgrades to the tutoring centers took almost five years, cost about $180,000, and involved a large number of people. Department of Mathematics Unit Head Edward Aboufadel states, "This project would not have happened without Amy Stone, who is the director of both centers. She did a fantastic job explaining the need for the expansion to administrators, using data on student traffic in the old lab, and doing the primary writing on the proposal." Other key players in making the upgrades a reality include Aboufadel, Associate Vice Presidents Joe Godwin and Jon Jellema, Assistant Vice President for Facilities Planning James Moyer, Vice Provost Chick Blue, and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Fred Antczak.
Beginning in Summer 2012, the math and statistics tutoring centers will have a new director. Marcia Frobish will take over for Amy Stone as the director of both centers. Under her leadership, the improvements to the Math and Statistics Tutoring Centers will continue to affect Grand Valley students over time as we strive to educate students to shape their lives, their professions and their societies. Stone comments that the improvements make the tutors "feel like [they're]taken seriously...that [they]are providing a service the university values." Aboufadel adds, "We are committed to student success in our courses, and the tutoring center is one component of our commitment to students."