Studies done by Campus Residences and by the SALT offices have shown that residential Stony Brook students do the majority of their studying alone in their residence halls.
Both residential and commuter students said that they do most of their work in the evenings and later at night, after attending classes and other commitments. At this time, however, most professors are unavailable for help.
Office hours are usually held during the day, at times that many students say are inconvenient. In response to the study habits of college students, Residential Tutoring Center (RTC) initiative was established.
RTCs are open at night and are located in the residence halls themselves. There are three locations: Toscanini College in Tabler Quad (Tuesday and Thursday, 8 – 11 p.m.), James College in H-Quad (Monday and Wednesday, 8-11 p.m.) and Stimson College in Roosevelt Quad (Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 – 11 p.m.). The centers are open to both resident and commuter students.
One-on-one help, as well assmall group sessions, are available and no appointment is necessary. Many classes also hold larger review sessions in the centers. The majority of students who frequent the centers are looking for help in the hard sciences, mathematics and economics. But assistance is not limited to these areas of study. Tutors are also available in writing, psychology, anthropology and other subjects.
The tutors are undergraduate students who displayed mastery in specific subjects. Most come from the Honors College, and all must undergo an interview process before they are accepted as peer qadvisers.
Jeff Barnett, Residence Hall Director of James College, is one of the key players in the RTC initiative. He stressed the effectiveness of the program. ‘The tutors are able to put things in understandable terms,’ he said. ‘They have a connection to your language, can put things in your terms and can adjust to your learning style.’
RTC is in its second year, and both tutors and those seeking academic help said it has already seen remarkable success. Resident student George LaFlare was overwhelmed with the help he received at the center.
‘With my schedule I don’t have the time to go to my professor’s office hours. But I walked in and there were students right there to help me with my questions,’ LaFlare said. ‘I would definitely go there again.’
Students who go to one of the centers are randomly given surveys in which they can voice their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the program. On a scale from one to five, with five equating to a rating of high satisfaction, RTC has rated well above a four in all areas.
RTC is a nationally recognized initiative, according to organizers, and is spreading to many other campuses around the US.
‘We really want to make students feel connected in every possible way,’ said Patrick Wong, student coordinator of the RTC. He explained that the program is designed to bring together aspects of a student’s academic, residential, and co-curricular life.