Normal!  Unfortunately, it does seem to be normal.  I started at my institution with two programs and services.  Now, it houses eight. I did some research on Learning Support Centers a number of years ago. I asked for some qualitative data from Learning Center directors. Here is one  powerful quote I received:


We are restructuring  our Learning Center, given inadequate professional staffing, I am  interested in your survey results.  To me, there should be more consistent standards and goals for Academic Learning Centers; it seems to me these areas all too often become temporary places to “house” various functions sometimes unrelated to learning activities…………temporary functions become permanent,

And the true function of the LC is diluted (Grimord, 2006).


Brainstorming: I am wondering if it’s appropriate to use your funding to augment your already existing program in the form of professional development for your staff and tutors (without knowing the nature of the tutoring programs that were suggested). For instance, if you could save some human resource hours by using on-line training materials like tutor lingo, and then your personnel could focus on other projects . Send your tutors to a professional conference? You could also hire an instructional designer with the money and design some on-line instructional videos for your high risk courses to use for the future?  We did that with our statistics class here for a few modules that students kept getting stuck on… in-house Kahn Academy of you will.  Your tutors could make the videos. Just a few thoughts………






From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jen Nguyen
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 11:56 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: An "Is this normal question" -- Higher ups "placing" new programs in the learning center without consultation


Hi everyone,


I'll pose this as an "is this normal question?" because this has happened more than once at my university and I'm unsure if this is a standard part of a learning center director's job:


At my university, our learning center is housed in Academic Affairs.  This has worked well for us and I answer directly to the Dean of Libraries since we are located in the library.


The downside of this is that administrators in Academic Affairs sometimes "place" new programs at our center without consulting with us beforehand.  This has happened with 5 different programs -- when I first came on board, a course embedded writing tutor program was placed under our center's jurisdiction even though faculty members and administrators outside our center wrote the proposal.  Then a remedial math program was placed in our center without our consultation - luckily, the math department and I felt that this would be best housed in math.


Yesterday, one-time funding from our Chancellor's Office was given to our university and our provost proposed 3 different new tutoring programs to use this one-time funding for this year (as in we have to implement and spend down by June 2017).  I know that this should be a good problem to have (more funding!), but a lot of these programs come with no personnel costs taken into consideration and we're already well into our first quarter of 16-17.


All of these programs come with really great intentions, but high quality programs take a long time to build and recruitment can be difficult, especially in the middle of the year.


So basically what I am asking is -- is this normal?  Is there a strategy that I should employ should this happen again in the future?  Turning away the programs always looks bad politically, but doing bad, rushed programming looks bad in general -- and isn't so great for students.


Thank you!



Jennifer V. Nguyen

Director of the Student Center for Academic Achievement

510.885.4759   |   [log in to unmask]

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