City students flock to tutorial centers in record numbers

Sonjiala Hotchkiss
City Times

The Tutorial Center and the English Center reported that they served record numbers of students for the fall 2008 semester. Respective center directors Lance Soukhaseum and Chris Baron attributed the increase to support from City College
“There are going to be some tough decisions,” Baron responded when asked about the expected budget cuts.
During phone interviews, Soukhaseum and Baron emphasized that they do not plan to cut services, They confirmed that budget cuts may result in reduced hours or other types of cost-reductions methods.
The Centers offer in-person tutoring, online tutoring, workshops and supplemental instructions as a free service to City College students. Tutors are available for all subjects.
Laura Ferrise was one of the first tutors to be part of the supplemental instruction program. She tutors biology at the Tutorial Center. With the supplemental instruction program, tutors are placed in the classroom with students in entry-level courses.
Ferrise said that the program worked so well because the tutor is there every class period which shows both their commitment to the program and insures that the tutor will understand the needs of the students better.
“These are my roots, man. This is where I started,” said Ferrise speaking on why she continues to tutor at City College despite the fact that is now continuing her biology major at the University of California in San Diego.
Tiffany Farmer tutors all the English subjects at the English Center. Farmer began as a City College student, but has since completed a degree in ethnic studies and literature at UCSD.
Farmer said that she thinks of City College as her home and that she enjoys tutoring here because there is a greater sense that City is a community learning environment.
Farmer also serves as a liason between the Umoja program at City, which focuses on African-American culture issues, and the English Center.
Farmer and Ferrise separately cited the diversity of the student body at City College as a major reason they return to tutor here.
Students sat one-on-one with tutors at the tutoring centers tables. Farmer and Ferrise believed students were comforted by the fact that the tutors were indeed their peers, and that the tutors had personal experience being in seats.
Farmer said that tutors are not necessarily smarter. They just have more experience.
“We’re here to give you what you need to do the work to the best of your ability,” commented Farmer.
Farmer said that she has seen a reduction in the drop-out rate among first-year African-American students since she has been a tutor and liason of the Umoja program.
Soukhaseum and Baron’s increased cooperation between the centers, student word-of-mouth, and student success also played a large role in their record student numbers for fall 2008. The English Center served 1720 students, and the Tutorial Center served 1381 students.
Tutors may still be needed at both centers as they plan to maintain or acquire tutors for all subjects. New tutors go through training and orientation before being placed with students.
“It’s fun. It’s rewarding, and you enjoy it,” Ferrise said about being a tutor.
The English Center is located in room c-226. Their phone number is (619) 388-3685.
The Tutorial Center is inside the library in room r-212. They can be reached at (619) 388-3685.
Students may show up to the centers as walk-ins or they may schedule appointments.

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City students flock to tutorial centers in record numbers