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Center for Learning Resources is a Key for Student Success
Recognized as one of the best tutoring centers in the country, the University of New Haven's Center for Learning Resources assists students who might be struggling - with a concept or a course - or who are seeking some extra support.
January 16, 2019
By Jackie Hennessey, contributing writer
They gather four, five, or six students around a table in the Center for Learning Resources in the Peterson Library, and Chrissy Decker ’19, a master peer tutor, moves from student to student. Some are struggling with a course or are worried about a final, or they just need help untangling a concept.
One of those students is Kayleigh Blaszczyk ’21, a biology major. "Chrissy has helped me understand so many concepts," Blaszczyk says. "She never made me feel insecure about not knowing a topic, which is something I was worried about initially when I started getting extra help in biology. She takes her time, and, because of this, I did better than I thought I could in the class."
Blaszczyk says there were some days where she wanted to give up, but Decker would break a process down step by step, or draw it, so Blaszczyk could visualize it. "She kept pushing until I got it down," she said. "Her confidence in me and my intelligence is something I will never forget."
"Our peer tutors are brilliant people who are academic superstars in their own programs, all of whom have a genuine desire to help their fellow students excel in their own courses." Leon Weinmann, Director of the Center for Learning Resources
Annually, there are close to 20,000 student visits (including unique and repeat visits) to the CLR. "We see about a third to half of the student body in any given year," says director Leon Weinmann.
Nationally recognized for its successful student outcomes, the CLR – which has 14 professional and 24 peer tutors – received the Association for the Coaching and Tutoring Profession’s Program of Excellence award in 2016.
"This establishes us as one of the top tutoring centers in the country," Weinmann says. "Our peer tutors are brilliant people who are academic superstars in their own programs, all of whom have a genuine desire to help their fellow students excel in their own courses."
Decker is one of two CLR peer tutors who attained the national College Reading and Learning Association level III master tutor certification this year. She says the first step in the tutoring process is making sure students, who often walk in feeling unsure, become comfortable.
"We’re not here as teachers. We are here to explain things in a new way and to help them understand that new way."Chrissy Decker ’19
"I introduce myself, and we talk about ourselves," she says. "I tell them that I’ve been where they are, and that I still come to the CLR to get tutored. I let them know everyone needs some extra help sometimes."
A chemistry and forensic science double major, Decker says she loves working with her fellow students. "I’ve learned how to recognize people’s learning styles and to see by their facial expressions and body language how well they are perceiving things," she says. "We’re not here as teachers. We are here to explain things in a new way and to help them understand that new way."
She says she will draw on these experiences when she pursues a Ph.D. in chemistry and works as a teaching assistant.
"Chrissy embodies all the traits we are looking for in any tutor we hire," Weinmann says. "She’s an excellent student with a firm command of the material, but more importantly, she’s patient, self-effacing, and a good listener who puts the needs of her tutees first. And above all else, she’s curious about the world, which is the trait we hope to see in all our students."