FOR MANY students on Lewis & Clark’s campus, The Student Academic Affairs Board’s (SAAB) tutoring program has provided vital assistance with coursework since its inception in 1982. Students were able to access two hours of free tutoring per week, per class, from knowledgeable peers in the subject matter. However, many were surprised and upset when school started in August and there was no available tutoring. On Sept. 14, the ASLC President sent out an email to the student body:
“Last spring, the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC) had difficulty in electing a SAAB Chair for the 2016-2017 academic year. Strict position requirements and the complex nature of the job delayed ASLC from finding a SAAB Chair until the first week of the Fall 2016 semester. Since the SAAB Chair hires the Tutoring Program Director, the SAAB Tutoring Program was unable to start planning for this academic year until last week. In a typical year, the SAAB Tutoring Program would start planning in late spring/early summer. Due to the lengthy process of hiring SAAB Tutors, we estimate that it will be 3-4 weeks until we have a full Tutoring Program in place. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we are looking ahead to ensure that this delay does not occur in the future.”
Diana Huefner ’19 spoke to the need for SAAB tutoring.
“I know a lot of friends who are struggling in their harder chemistry classes, and I want a tutor for chemistry as well,” Huefner said. “It would be really nice… to connect with a peer who knows what they’re talking about.”
Allison Schneider ’16, the current SAAB chair, was appointed two weeks before the semester started. Schneider spoke via email about the delayed start to SAAB’s tutoring program.
“For better or worse there are very stringent requirements for anyone looking to be the chair of SAAB,” Schneider said. “I was offered (and accepted) the position a second time the week before school started. In other words, I had no idea I would be the chair until the end of August.”
As SAAB chair, Schneider’s duties include directing and hiring the directors of the tutoring department, college honor board, and grants department.
“Usually SAAB chairs (and directors) are able to start working halfway through the summer,” Schneider said. “It is a process, and while I understand the urgent need for tutors, I hope the student body can be patient with us,” Schneider said.
Grace Petrie ’18, the Director of Tutoring Programs for SAAB, works specifically with the tutoring. She explained her view on what caused the SAAB tutoring delay.
“We had a lot of shifts in leadership, which was out of our control,” Petrie said. “[Schneider] needed to get up to speed.”
She added that neither she nor Schneider had experience with hiring, and the former leadership was unavailable to help.
Petrie and Schneider both agreed that the timeline set out in the email was accurate, and that SAAB tutoring would be back up in the next few weeks.
Huefner was sympathetic to the issues that SAAB had been facing, adding:
“It’s just kind of annoying,” Huefner said. “It’s frustrating to be denied a service that I was previously promised as a part of this education that I’m paying for… I hope they can pull together a good team of tutors.”
Petrie echoed Huefner’s sentiments.
“At the end of the day, this is a completely student-run organization,” Petrie said. “The time that has been dedicated to it in the first month…it’s really hard because since it’s student-run you have only so much you can do… This is one of our main things and it’s so important that students who are having trouble have the opportunity to get tutoring… This is truly as fast as we could have gotten it done. It wasn’t negligence.”
Both Schneider and Petrie reiterated that they do not envision a repeat of this issue.
“I don’t think this will happen again in the future,” Schneider said. “We already have a chair lined up for next spring and I have certainly learned firsthand the need to train one’s successor.”