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Tutoring center gets new name

Tutoring center gets new name


There’s no quick trick to understanding complex ideas.

That’s one of the reasons that ASAP, the SUNY Cortland tutoring program that has helped students achieve academic goals for nearly 25 years, has changed its name.

Now named The Learning Center (TLC), the office, located in Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-205, will continue to supply the tutoring and learning services that have effectively supported the academic needs of students on campus, said Esa Merson, the center director.

The former name, Academic Support and Achievement Program, didn’t clearly describe what the center is all about, Merson said.  

“Due to the length and perhaps the somewhat ambiguous nature of the center name, most students, faculty and staff only referred to the center as ‘ASAP,’ which communicates a ‘quick fix’ to campus stakeholders who are newer to the campus and are unaware of the center’s work, philosophy, expertise and history,” Merson said.

 “‘The Learning Center’ more clearly and accurately communicates our focus on the student learning process, which is at the core of all our programs,” Merson said.


Simplifying and shortening the name makes it easier to share with students, she said. Moreover, because The Learning Center encompasses many programs, a title with the word “center” in it more accurately represents the office, she said.

From its launch as the Basic Skills Center in 1983 to its next iteration as the Academic Support and Achievement Program beginning in 1995 through the recent name change, the center has been committed to providing academic support to all students in a safe, inclusive, centralized environment. The approach has always focused on supporting the whole student and helping each individual develop skills that lead to independent learning.

The Learning Center provides a variety of opportunities for students to discover their learning preferences and build successful academic behaviors. Students who regularly use the office’s services tend to show increased academic confidence, stronger learning skills and improvement in their coursework.

In addition to the student-led programs, the center’s professional tutors provide support for math, writing, reading, chemistry, physics, biology, study skills, time management and test-taking, Merson said.

Professional tutors, who are learning specialists, coordinate and supervise all peer-led programs. The center’s professional tutors have advanced degrees, years of academic support and classroom experience and expertise in the discipline of tutoring and supporting student learning.

Besides Merson, the office is staffed with an assistant director and secretary, five fulltime professional tutors and two STAR-NY staff members. The Learning Center also continues to hire student staff.

The Learning Center programs include:

  • Professional tutoring, which is individualized, skill-based sessions in math, writing, reading, chemistry, physics, biology, study skills, time management and test-taking.
  • Nightowl offers real-time, online after-hours help for writing, math, chemistry, biology, physics, psychology and accounting. During inclement weather when the campus must close, generally The Learning Center’s online tutoring service will continue to operate.
  • Supplemental Instruction is peer-led collaborative groups integrating how to learn with what to learn.
  • Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) is peer-led problem solving workshops for General Chemistry 1 and 2 courses.
  • Peer tutoring is a one-to-one session model focusing on how best to study for and think about content. In addition to its programs, enrolled students can access free Read & Write software to support their reading and writing skills.

For more information, contact The Learning Center at 607-753-4309.