Texas Border Business
The South Texas College Centers for Learning Excellence is the first in the state to be certified for its online services by the Association of Colleges for Tutoring and Learning Assistance, a national organization that works to improve tutorial programs and related services among organizations across the country dedicated to college and university learning assistance or developmental education.
The organization’s mission is to foster and promote racial and socioeconomic equity in student achievement.
Lynell Williams, director of the STC Centers for Learning Excellence, said as the first in the state, the center’s services of in-person and online tutoring; supplemental instruction, or group study; and academic coaching, have been and will continue to be models for other institutions of higher education across the nation.
“This certification says that we are in alignment with national standards. That we have solid practices that benefit our students and give them the best learning experience possible,” said Williams. “We worked very hard to meet all requirements for this certification and I’m so proud of my staff for all the hard work they put into this.”
The process leading up to this certification took at least two years according STC’s Learning Excellence Specialist for Online Learning Services Jessica Torres, who led the charge on this initiative.
“STC is unique in the way we train our tutors; they are all certified and able to provide well-rounded services, no matter a student’s learning method,” said Torres. “So, I went into the process for this certification positive that we had what it takes to receive this…from data to methods, we had what it took be nationally recognized.”
Every tutor hired by the Center of Learning Excellence must undergo extensive training to become certified, an achievement recognized across the nation.
Now as a recipient of the Association of Colleges for Tutoring and Learning Assistance certification, the STC team will have more training opportunities available, according to Torres.
“Our entire team already does at least two trainings a month…and beginning this summer we’ll ensure that everyone can take the trainings provided by our new certification so we can continue to grow on the services we offer. It’s an exciting time.”
The Centers for Learning Excellence are located across all six STC campuses, from Mid-Valley to Starr County and in addition to 24/7 tutoring for all STC students, including Dual Credit, and also offer a computer lab and printers, a writing center, monthly workshops and exam preparation.
STC President Ricardo J. Solis addressed the team and said their services, now more than ever, are important to the success of the college and its mission of providing short-term programs that can lead to immediate employment.
“Having resources available to our students, especially for those who never considered a college education, is the first step toward academic success,” he said. “There are thousands of people we need to train and if they have a strong support system within our campus, like they do with the CLE (Centers for Learning Excellence), then they can continue their training confidently to pursue a great-paying job. So, congratulations on everything your team has achieved and will continue to achieve because you’re a vital part of student success.”
In-person tutoring is still the most popular service among students, but the percentage of students using the center’s online tutoring has increased exponentially, according to Williams, and with that, she has a new vision.
“In the coming years, I hope to see our online tutoring have its own dedicated team of specialists, coordinators and tutors,” she said. “With my team of great innovators, I see this becoming a reality, but for now we’re taking all of our success in and we’re ready for a new semester.”
For more information on the services offered by STC’s Centers for Learning Excellence, visit https://www.southtexascollege.edu/cle/