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Kathryn,

Thanks for your response. I appreciate the different perspective as I am always learning. I suppose I did not supply enough information in my request for the article. Allow me to do that now. We are a very small, private university (1000 students, but 1/3 online) who has an open enrollment policy. Over 80% of our students need at least one developmental course when entering, and nearly 60% of those students are nontraditional. I haven't read Dr. White's article yet, but I am hoping it will give me a starting point. After reading the article and considering what you've written to me here, I may change my mind and embrace the "fishbowl" idea. The space we are moving to is quite small and only has one area for tutoring (4 round tables with 4 chairs each in a 13' x 12' space) with one large whiteboard. I don't know if this information helps you understand more of my reasoning for additional privacy and less distraction, but I hope it does. I understand fully why it's important not to keep assistance "behind closed doors" and to remove the stigma that is sometimes attached to LRC's. I guess I'm trying to find a balance between keeping the environment learner friendly with few distractions along with keeping the president happy and program well advertised. Does such a balance exist? 

Again, I very much appreciate your willingness to share your perspective, Kathryn.

Kind regards,

Jen

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Kathryn Van Wagoner
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:45 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: desperately search for WG White article

Jen,

I'm a bit unsure how or if to respond, but I suppose my perspective
will... be another perspective.   When we built our new learning center
we insisted on having a lot of windows, a big open door, and a high
traffic area.   We wanted to show access to students.  Another thing we
did was a major marketing campaign where we promoted the idea (similar
to the NADE motto) that tutoring is for all students at all levels.  We
worked very hard to remove the stigma associated with tutoring.  Our
tutoring center is THE place to be.  As for the fish bowl concern, our
lab is pretty big, so it is more like an aquarium, I guess.  I
understand the concern about students having the courage to step in. 
Our faculty help break down that barrier by promoting our services.  I'm
sure there are a few who don't come due to fear, but we are NOT lacking
for student use.

I think the openness of our lab is more inviting than if we were
"behind closed doors."   I can't speak to Dr. White's or others'
research. However, when we were in the process of designing the lab, I
attended an NCLCA institute on designing learning centers.  Dr. White
was there and I consulted with him thoroughly.  I don't recall his ever
being concerned about our open-ness.

Your biggest problem might end up being able to handle the increased
use of your space due to better visibility.

Good luck.


Kathryn Van Wagoner
Utah Valley University
Math Lab Manager
801-863-8411
[log in to unmask] 


>>> "Jennifer Lindquist" <[log in to unmask]> 10/14/2009 8:31 AM
>>>
Dear colleagues,

I am trying to locate an article written by Dr. White, "The Physical
Environment of Learning Support Centers" (2004). Our institutional
library hasn't had any luck, and I'm running out of time! Help! Our
learning center is being relocated on campus, and while the space is
much smaller than what we have now, my main concern is the open windows.
Our new space will be located in the busiest building on campus with 3
big windows and a glass door that allows students, faculty, and staff to
peer in at will. In fact, we will be located right near the front door
so anyone coming into the building will have to walk past our door. Our
building houses the food service area, so it is a very popular area on
campus. I have been told our university president wants to keep the
windows open to show "students in action" (whatever that means). Our
president is a very capable leader who has made significant and positive
changes since he arrived here 3 years ago, but I shudder to think about
the!
 
  non-traditional student taking a developmental course who finally
musters the courage to ask for help ... and we place them in a fishbowl
and expect them to concentrate.

If anyone has any additional research concerning this issue, or can
help me locate Dr. White's article, I would be most appreciative.


Jen



Jennifer Lindquist, M.Ed.
Academic/Retention Coordinator
Thomas University
TRiO Student Support Services
o:  (229)226-1621 x163
m: (229)672-0263
[log in to unmask] 
Virtual office - http://tinyurl.com/jenlindquist 


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