In reference to Paulette's colleague who claims that "better" schools
are eliminating learning centers:

I do not currently run a learning center (although I have in the past)
but a few years ago I worked as a Cognitive Skills Specialist at one
of New Jersey's medical schools.  Cognitive Skills was a department
that trained medical and physician assistant students in advanced study
skills.  We all had backgrounds in cognitive psychology and, individually
and in workshops, helped students develop conceptual frameworks and
maps of the extremely detailed material they had to learn, helped them
with memory strategies, and helped them develop applied diagnostic
problem-solving skills for courses and certification exams.  This
was NOT a remedial service, and our students were the top students
in their high schools.  There is a growing recognition of the value
of this service for educating professionals, and over the last 15
years or so it has become a growing field in medical education.
If anything, schools are *expanding* these services, not eliminating
them, because they appreciate their value in developing active
professional skills rather than simply unapplied book learning.

My personal opinion may not convince your colleague, but I also believe
that having questions is part of the learning process and every student
has a right to have a place to go with their questions.  Faculty often
don't have the time or the patience to provide enough of that.  As others
on the list have pointed out, learning centers provide other services
as well that are designed to strengthen independent learning and
critical thinking.

I suspect your colleague is motivated by a combination of narrowminded
prejudices and budgetary rivalry.  The advice to look at the bottom
line of retention dollars is well stated.

Annette Gourgey
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