Media Alert: Program staff and students will be available for interviews in the UMD Library Rotunda on May 1 at 3:45 pm. The program begins at 4:15 pm.
Duluth, MN – The Supportive Services Program Tutoring Center was recognized as the outstanding program of the year at the national conference of the Association for the Tutoring Profession (ATP) in March 2014 and UMD is celebrating. An event honoring the center and the award will be held from 3-5 p.m. on May 1, in the UMD Library Rotunda.
The ATP 2014 Most Outstanding Tutoring Program in the Nation award is given annually to “recognize the tutorial program that exemplifies excellence in training, scope of purpose and range of tutorial support to students within the academic setting.” In what was described by the ATP awards committee chair as the “most competitive field in the history of the awards,” the University of Minnesota Duluth was chosen as the top program in the country.
This school year, more than 200 qualified, trained tutors provided tutoring to primarily undergraduate students for 112 courses. They delivered 15,000 tutorials through 10,000 hours of free service to UMD students. Additionally, program faculty and teaching assistants provided more than 1,500 contact hours of supplemental instruction, lower-division courses, and leadership training courses. Tutoring services are open and available to all of UMD’s 8,500 undergraduate students on a free, walk-in basis, 54 hours per week.
Dr. Wade Kubat, a plastic surgeon with St. Luke's Plastic Surgery Associates, credits his success to the UMD Tutoring Center. He tutored for two years before graduating from UMD with a biochemistry and molecular biology degree in 1995.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the UMD Tutoring Center,” said Kubat. “I realized that every individual learns new information in a different manner. It's important to match the way you teach to the way the other person learns.” Kubat received a master's degree in biochemistry at Texas A&M University and attended Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences medical school. He completed his internship, residency, and fellowship at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Every day in my practice, I use the skills I learned as a tutor. I feel that I am a better physician because of this.”
The support for student learning at UMD casts a wide net. Supportive Services Program developed UMD’s first Introduction to College Learning (Freshman Seminar) course in the early 1990’s as a response to the need to improve first year retention rates. In fall 2013, a Learning Commons was established, complete with a writing center, a multi-media center and a research and information center.
Daniel Gala, runner-up for ATP Peer Tutor of the Year Award, is a junior at UMD. He was the first member of his family to go to college and is majoring in mathematics and communication.
After Gala tutored the required 41 hours, he volunteered for 22 additional hours that same semester. He tutored his friends for free, he became an undergraduate teaching assistant for a communication class, and he continues to tutor on a volunteer basis.
Gala met success at UMD as he did so often on his journey. He escaped war in South Sudan with his mother and siblings, traveled to Egypt where he learned Arabic, and attended Minnesota schools where he learned English and a third culture.
“I came in as a beat down child soaked in a heavy rain with two bricks in my pocket,” Gala said. “I lacked confidence, felt pressured, and allowed the criticism of others to dictate my life. That was yesterday. Today I know what I am capable of doing, and never again will let anyone crush my spirit underneath his boot. I tutored mathematics at an accredited university, and no one can ever take that away from me.”