Learning commons CRLA certified in spring

Kendra Clark and Kendra Clark

The University’s Learning Commons doesn’t need tutoring on how to excel, for this spring they received an international certification on the highest level.

The College Reading and Learning Association gives certifications to tutoring programs that pass certain qualifications. The association has three different levels, three being the highest.

The Learning Commons earned level one certification back in 2013, said Director of the Learning Commons Mark Nelson.

The Commons was certified with levels two and three in March.

Tutor Coordinator Donna Dick said the certification added a lot of credibility to the library.

“Since it’s an international certification, there are only about 700 schools all over the world that have it,” she said. “That gives our tutors credibility.”

Taken into account through the certification process are the students who tutor at the Learning Commons. They can also get certified levels one through three through the Commons.

“It is mandatory that the tutors get trained, but they can become certified levels one through three,” Dick said. “The first level is more general, but levels two and three are more specific.”

The reason tutors might want to get higher certification is because it helps in professional development, Nelson said.

“It can help them later in life with career building and to put on their resume,” he said. “A lot of the students that do that are education majors.”

Also, tutors who certify in level one can help train other tutors, which helps with their communication and public speaking skills, he said.

In order to qualify for each level, there are certain requirements the students must meet. This includes at least 25 hours of tutoring and 10 hours of training workshops per level, which the students can choose from.

Currently, there are 36 tutors at level one, 19 tutors at level two and five at level three, according to the University website.

Graduate student Lily Szymanski started with the tutoring program as an undergraduate three years ago. Now, she is a graduate assistant for the Learning Commons.

She is level three certified and said it was worth the effort.

“It wasn’t hard, but it takes time to do each level,” she said. “You have to take the time out of your schedule to make sure you can do it.”

She said it was a good experience to get certified.

“I got to develop my skills and learn more about myself in the process,” she said.

Nelson feels proud the Learning Commons got the certification.

“It was a goal of mine,” he said. “It gives credibility to our tutors and that’s great.”

However, the Commons only received the certification for a year. Dick said they plan to re-apply for it again in October and then they will have it for three years.

“We know we will get it again, but we want to be able to revise and re-correct,” she said.