Tutoring services see surge in use by students
University of the Pacific’s robust tutoring services saw a remarkable surge in individual tutoring sessions during the 2022-23 academic year, with an increase of 32% compared to the previous year.
There were 3,242 one-on-one tutoring appointments scheduled, up from 2,457. More than 800 students also visited the Bio and Math Hubs, which provide drop-in group tutoring.
Pacific’s academic support services are located on the second floor of the William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center. Students have access to individual tutoring sessions, group tutoring for math and biology and a writing center. All tutoring services are provided for free.
“The Student Academic Support Services Hub was established to help maximize student potential,” said Niraj Chaudhary, dean of the library. “There are a few reasons we’re seeing an increase in the number of students using our tutoring center. We have a personalized one-on-one support model, our students get to connect with a peer who has similar academic interests and it’s also a beautiful, state-of-the-art space where students can get the support they need.”
Additionally, President Christopher Callahan, Provost Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert and Student Life Vice President Maria Blandizzi personally visit each first-year seminar during the first few weeks of the semester to encourage new students to take advantage of the many tutoring services available at Pacific.
“We want every student to benefit from these amazing learning resources,” the president said. “Some students may want to focus on an area or concept they are struggling with while others may want to turn a B into an A. These services are here for every Pacific student.”
Individual tutoring sessions are made by appointment and are an hour. Tutors are sophomores, juniors, seniors or graduate students who excelled in the class for which they are tutoring.
At the Math and Bio Hubs, sessions are held without making an appointment. Daniela Ceballos ’26, a Geological and Environmental Science major, routinely attended the Math Hub last year for help with pre-calculus homework.
“After my first visit to the General Academic Tutoring Center, I instantly found a tutor, Matthew Cowen, who was always readily available to answer any question I had,” Ceballos said. “I looked forward to attending Math Hub every day to complete my homework with a group of peers and tutors that made me feel confident in my abilities and encouraged me throughout the semester.”
Math Hub is held Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Bio Hub is Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. Biology students also can post quick questions on an online message board for tutors to answer during session hours.
“When students first come in, they might be a little apprehensive,” said Janet Putnam-Gonzales, manager of the General Academic Tutoring Center. “There’s that stigma around asking for help, but we tell everyone, ‘It’s okay to ask for help. That’s why we have all of this help here on Pacific’s campus.’
“Once they establish that bond with a tutor, and they understand that’s someone who’s not judging them but is there to help them, then you see them grow,” she added.
At the Writing Center, students can get help generating ideas and guidance through the writing process for assignments in any discipline from peer tutors, primarily. “The best advice comes from peers,” said Jeremy Schnieder, director of the writing center.
Students can get help in-person or remotely. “The main thing is, we’re here to help the students,” Schnieder said. “Sometimes students feel like if they go to the writing center, it’s a sign of weakness or they are not a strong writer, but actually, we’re here for everyone. It’s a supportive space.”
Graduate students can find support in writing communities organized through the center to help with their theses or dissertations. The groups meet monthly to talk about how their work is progressing and get support on any issues.
Tutoring and writing sessions are free for students with no limit on how many they can attend.