Cal U offers a paid job opportunity to become a tutor


Christopher Girardi, Contributor

Applications to become leaders in the supplemental instruction program are now open to students to assist in improving selected courses through tutoring for the spring semester.

Supplemental instruction is a tutoring program whose main goal is to help students in historically difficult courses with particular learning and study strategies, note-taking and test-taking skills, as well as the opportunity for structured study time with peers. Tyton Brunner, the director of supplemental instruction, said coordination with professors is an important component of our academic tutoring, especially for the leader, who are academically inclined students.

“Our leaders lead weekly out-of-class group study sessions in targeted courses that they have completed successfully in the past,” Brunner said. “Leaders use collaborative learning techniques and learning strategies to ensure peer-to-peer interaction in small groups, integrating “what to learn” and “how to learn.” Our leaders are expected to attend lectures for the course they are supporting and to meet with the professor on a regular basis to clarify course content and material. They must plan and carry out their sessions, guiding students through the most difficult course concepts and sharing the strategies they used to succeed in the course.”

Brunner said a class’s grade rates in D’s, F’s, and withdrawals determine if they receive tutoring assistance from the program.

Sarah Finley, a senior with a major a secondary education and leader for chemistry courses, said at the beginning of the spring semester, tutoring leaders will attend very beneficial training sessions with the wonderful Vulcan learning commons staff.

“The learning commons staff will provide several different teaching techniques and strategies that leaders will be able to utilize in their sessions,” Finley said.

Finley said that since leaders also attend class, students will become comfortable asking them questions and leaders will know exactly what the class is covering every week.

“While the students work on problems or in the lab, I walk around and answer any questions they may have,” Finley said. “While the students take quizzes/exams, I walk around and make sure all students are following the University’s Academic Integrity policies. In my sessions throughout the week, I use extra practice problems that are provided by the chemistry department, that reinforce what the students are learning in class. Since I attend a class every week, I know exactly when the student’s homework, labs, quizzes, and exams are due.”

Students who have previously taken the course and received an A, regardless of major, are eligible to become a leader for academic tutoring. Brunner said students who apply must also have a 3.0 GPA or higher, a passion for the subject, and a desire to help their fellow Vulcans on campus.

Students can find the online application on the announcements page in their Cal U email. Brunner said they are offering 33 courses in the spring semester and the application for leaders will remain open until filled.

“There is no capacity to the number of applicants that can be accepted,” Brunner said. “Applicants are open to all students who fit the qualifications.”

Brunner said there are many benefits for students who go on to be leaders.

“Leaders gain leadership skills, knowledge of group work, letters of recommendation,” Brunner said. “They’ll get to review content that can help them in their upper-level classes from prerequisites in the past. Leaders are also compensated $13 an hour for eight hours of work per week.”

Brunner said when working with instructors whose courses offer academic tutoring, data has indicated that students who attend have higher mean exam grades than those who do not.

“According to student testimonials in surveys that we conducted; students find our academic tutoring to be an extra source of help outside of class,” Brunner said. “Students can earn a half or whole letter grade higher in their course by attending 10 or more sessions.”

Finley said becoming a leader has been extremely beneficial to her both personally and academically.

“Becoming a leader for supplement instruction, has helped me hone my own time management and social skills as well as helped me master many concepts and topics in my major,” Finley said. “Working alongside the professors in my department has helped me build great relationships with them and has helped me prepare for my future career. I would recommend becoming a leader to any student that has a passion for helping and a passion for their degree!”