Tutoring Center receives national certification


Taylor Stinson

Trevor Tyle, Staff Reporter

Among the many useful resources located on campus, the Tutoring Center is considered to be one of the most important. It offers all of the means necessary for academic success, and now it has a national certification to prove it.

Oakland University’s Tutoring Center has been recognized as a Certified Supplemental Instruction (SI) Program by the International Center for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. OU joins an elite group of less than 20 universities across the country to receive such an honor due to the hard work of the Tutoring Center staff.

In order to obtain such a distinction, OU had to meet four core requirements. One: The program coordinator should be trained by a certified SI trainer. Two: There should be “intensive training” for SI leaders before and during the course of the semester. Three: There should also be an “intensive focus” on SI leaders’ planning sessions. Lastly, SI leaders must attend class sessions and students must regularly attend SI sessions, as end-of-the-semester data should reflect higher grades for SI students than non-SI students.

According to Beth DeVerna, director of the Tutoring Center, and Clarisse Mikami, assistant director of the Tutoring Center, they had already met the requirements prior to the implementation of SI program certifications.

“We found out a year ago this past May that UMKC was going to start certifying programs, which I thought was a really good idea at the time,” DeVerna said. “I guess we didn’t know how much work it would involve. We knew we were already doing what they were asking, so we thought, ‘We want to be certified, we want to be one of those programs.’”

For those unfamiliar with SI, it is a free program offered through the Tutoring Center that allows students to meet with trained leaders who have successfully completed difficult courses. These leaders will attend the classes with their students and prepare study sessions for them, during which they have the opportunity to learn and understand the material while creating bonds with other students.

Mikami stated that upon realizing that they met the requirements, they compiled two years’ worth of data within two thick binders that were shown to UMKC to prove that “[the program] was working here.”

Despite the Tutoring Center staff’s hard work,  the efforts of the SI leaders was acknowledged as a key factor in receiving the certification. On average, DeVerna and Mikami estimated that after completing extensive training, SI leaders spend between 10 to 13 hours a week working in SI, ultimately helping to develop a “mentor relationship” between the leaders and their students.

Junior Caleb Lee, an SI leader pursuing a nursing degree, agreed that the work is hard, but acknowledged that it is also fulfilling.

“For me, the most rewarding part of being an SI leader is seeing the success of the students,” he said. “After each semester, several students would come up to me and express how much they loved coming to SI and how they would have never achieved the GPA they earned had it not been for SI. It was incredible to think I was able to make a difference and better other students’ education.”

For more information on the SI program, visit the Tutoring Center webpage.