By Natalie St. Denis
Since its start in 1989, The Claude J. Clark Learning Center has remained focused on serving the students of SUNY Plattsburgh through numerous services. These services were discussed Wednesday at a Zoom informational session put on by The H.U.B. (Honoring, Uniting, and Belonging). Claude J. Clark was a highly respected SUNY Plattsburgh College Council member and attorney. The Claude J. Clark Learning Center was named in his memory.
Tutoring is the main service offered at The Learning Center and many students take advantage of it to better themselves academically. All peer tutors are SUNY Plattsburgh students. Training and other requirements vary depending on the course and tutoring type. The staff are always well trained in the area in which they tutor. The Learning Center tries to match students with a tutor who they pair well with. They make sure to be open to feedback from students that utilize their services.
Content tutoring is for assistance in specific courses. Whether it’s preparing for a test, reviewing a certain chapter in the textbook, or just having someone other than a professor explain the content in different words, The Learning Center will provide a tutor to fit students’ needs. A session may be with one or two other students who also expressed a need for assistance in the same course.
If students need to do any sort of writing for a class, writing tutoring is readily available regardless of skill level. An appointment could be used to brainstorm ideas, work on citations, research, or simply understand the assignment.
“Writing is not a one-way street,” said assistant director and writing specialist Regan Levitte. “My degree would have not happened if I didn’t use writing tutoring.” Through this Levitte expresses the importance of utilizing writing services because even those who are good writers struggle at times.
General academic issues such as organization, note taking skills, or time management can be addressed as well. Setting up academic personal training appointments can help students get on track. These are always one on one and specifically tailored to the student.
Due to COVID-19, all appointments must be virtual, but appointments can still be made in the Learning Center on the provided computers or at the front desk. An appointment can be made through Cardinal Star found on the MyPlattsburgh portal. Cardinal Star also offers a more general “Request Help” option for students. Here, you can reach out for help in a number of areas such as, support with a financial hardship, librarian assistance, or bias/discrimination claims. The staff are there for students even in non-academic situations. This affable nature of the Learning Center is recognized by SUNY Plattsburgh students who take the time to find out what the Learning Center is all about.
“I think it is great that SUNY Plattsburgh provides students with so many resources for success,” said junior computer science major Rebecca Moore. “It makes me feel like the college really cares about me and my academic journey.”
During the Zoom information meeting Wednesday, The Learning Center staff still made sure to engage with students virtually. An activity called “Zoom Around The Room” got participants out of their seats to find a nearby object related to the category given. Everyone took turns sharing their item of choice. One category was something from your childhood. This offered a chance for those involved to feel connected, even through a screen.
Currently, The Learning Center is serving as a quiet study area, since in-person tutoring isn’t permissible. The Claude J. Clark Learning Center is located in the back of Feinberg Library.
But the main goal of the establishment still remains, “to make sure that students are able to be successful in their careers here,” said director Karin Killough.