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CAPS receives national tutoring award

November 9, 2017 - By the Daily Lobo

The University of New Mexico’s tutoring service, the Center for Academic Program Support, was recently certified as a Learning Center of Excellence by the National College Learning Center Association.

CAPS received the award in October, and two of its supervisors were also named outstanding supervisors by the NCLCA.

Aeron Haynie, executive director for CAPS, said the award is something CAPS worked hard toward achieving.

“For this award we had (to) show things like accessibility to every single one of the places where we tutor, we had to explain how our tutors are trained (and) the background that every one of the staff has,” Haynie said. “We’re very proud and excited to have this national attention.”

The NCLCA awards the certification based on seven main criteria, including the kinds of services offered by the tutoring center, its organization and design and the professional development of the staff.

“(The application) goes through a peer review process,” Compton said. “The NCLCA sends it to experienced professionals in the field that review the application. So it’s reviewed by learning center professionals all over the country.”

CAPS received a plaque, a listing on the NCLCA website and an image of the certification that can be placed on digital materials provided by the tutoring service.

Anne Compton, associate director of CAPS and one recipient of the outstanding supervisor award, said CAPS is different from other tutoring centers.

“We have a unique program. Lots of colleges have learning centers, but ours is unique in terms of the scope of services we have,” Compton said.

CAPS offers tutoring services in math, science, writing and languages, and has recently implemented an online tutoring service.

Compton said that while some students coming from high school may think tutoring is for those who need remedial help, CAPS tries to emphasize tutoring as a tool all students can use.

“We like to think that successful students are the ones that use resources across campus,” she said. “No one really does college alone. We don’t think of our services as remedial; we think of them as helping students bump up the skills they need to be successful.”

Sam Goodwin, a senior finance major at UNM, works as a math tutor at CAPS.

“Seeing people actually understand something when they’re struggling with a concept — if I’m able to help have it click for them it feels good to me, and it’s good for them,” Goodwin said.

CAPS tutors attend training sessions each week to stay up to date with the material that classes cover throughout the semester.

Training sessions like these played a role in why CAPS received the certification.

While CAPS was certified as an LCE based on its undergraduate tutoring services, UNM also offers assistance to graduate students and professors.

CAPS is a part of UNM’s Center for Teaching and Learning, which encompases undergraduate tutoring through CAPS, graduate student tutoring through the Graduate Resource Center and services that help professors and teaching assistants improve their teaching skills.