By Braulio Tellez
Nursing major Melchor Martinez was having trouble writing an analysis paper. He didn’t expect to find help in the campus library.
“They came looking for me instead of me looking for them,” he said.
Writing tutor Anand Upadhyaya noticed Martinez and his friend and suspected they needed guidance Upadhyaya works in The Link, the revamped tutoring program formerly known as the Writing Center.
In addition to its new name, the center has new resources such as online tutoring to help students who may not know how to complete their writing assignments or just need a second opinion on their essays.
Associate Dean of Arts and Communications Judith Dumont manages The Link and said she feels confident the new center will help students. Applying an atmosphere of familiarity can retain students and keep them on the right track, she said.
“The key here is that we create an environment where students want to be,” Dumont said. “In the world of community college, there is a thing called the revolving door. It starts when students get out of their car. Then they walk to class, and once they’re done, they leave class, jump back into their car and head back home. “Here, we’re trying to catch them and help them find a place where they are comfortable and can stay and find some inspiration.”
Dumont and the tutors are generating that atmosphere by creating relationships with students as soon as they walk through the library doors and keeping them as long as it takes to resolve their problems.
During a tutoring session in late September, the campus lost power and students were instructed to leave the building. Rather than end the session, Upadhyaya and fellow tutor Alexandria Morris took several students outdoors and continued their work until everyone received help.
“That’s real commitment to students right there,” Dumont said. “That’s what student centeredness and community is all about, and that’s what we want people to know we’re here to do.”
The Link is also making use of the Internet to reach out to students. A new libguide has been added under the library’s website. It contains instructions on topics such as how to cite sources, the proper use of commas and how to spot run-on sentences.
“We have so many students on this campus and we want to raise the number of students we reach, so the online service is really important for us this academic year,” Dumont said. “We want to pass on this idea that tutoring and learning can happen anywhere and in any format.
“By building the website, these students can use our services if they were in a coffee shop, in the Pit or during their English writing lab.”
The site also offers pronunciation guides for English as a second language students and grammar quizzes for developmental writing students. The Link is also taking part in the student success series, ongoing lectures designed to help students in the classroom.
Shayn Davenport has been an English tutor at the college for six years and thinks the presentations are a great tool.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “Rather than just give somebody a handout, we’re having seminars where you actually format a paper in MLA style as you follow the instructor on a computer screen. You save that at the very end and you can then use that as a template for all your papers.”
Martinez was impressed with the service he received and thinks its great that “The Link” is providing so much for students.
“I would definitely come back and get a second opinion on my papers before I turn them in for a grade,” he said. “I want to talk to someone who knows what they’re doing and can give me constructive feedback on what I’m doing. That way, I get a better grade.”