New Math Center Adds to Tutoring Options for W&L Students
Students at Washington and Lee University who are stumped by a math assignment can now seek a solution at the University’s new Math Center, where trained tutors will be available for assistance.
“This is for any student taking Math 101 or Math 102,” said Alan McRae, professor of mathematics and director of the Math Center. “It’s located in Robinson Hall 6 and is open Sunday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.”
To ensure that the tutoring is as effective as possible, McRae and Greg Dresden, professor of mathematics and department head, recruited their top math students and trained them as tutors. “The Math Center is staffed by some of our best upper class math majors who can really help these students,” said Dresden. “But they won’t just present the student with the solution to a math problem. They’ll have students work out the problem on their own and guide them toward finding the right answer. It’s not about showing them a clever solution but showing them how they can get to that clever solution.
“So our message to anyone struggling with math is, as soon as you realize you’re having difficulty, come and get help. Of course you can always see your professor during office hours, but faculty aren’t usually around in the evening. So just turn up at the Math Center. No appointment necessary. Just drop in. Stay for a few minutes or the full two hours, whatever you need.”
While the Math Center is the latest addition to tutoring options at W&L, the Writing Center has offered a similar resource for decades to students struggling with writing assignments. It will open for the semester on Sunday, Sept. 25, and is located in Leyburn Library M11. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“We try to hire the best junior and senior writers to help other students,” said Kary Smout, associate professor of English and director of the center. “Faculty from all different departments nominate the student tutors, and we hire as widely as we can to represent all the different disciplines.”
Students seeking help with a writing assignment can fill out an appointment sheet, which is posted on the door to the room, or they can sign up online. “We do encourage students to make an appointment, but they can also drop by and we’ll fit them in,” said Smout, pointing out that it’s easy to make an appointment through the center’s website.
“The Writing Center is open to all undergraduates, and they can come at any stage of their writing on any college assignment,” he said. “The ideal is for a student to bring a draft and allow sufficient time to work on it. But they need to be aware that the tutors don’t proofread, and they don’t edit. This is a teaching center where students can learn to be better writers, not to have someone else do it for them. We love to help students improve.”
Williams School Communication Center
For struggling writers in W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics, writing consultants are available to provide help in the Williams School Communication Center (WSCC). The center’s website notes that these are professionals with extensive experience in writing, editing and teaching college writing.
Like the Writing Center, the WSCC does not provide a proofreading or editing service but can provide help, as necessary, in the following areas: organization; logical flow; thesis and purpose; support for and development of ideas; articulation of ideas; documentation and citation; audience awareness; effectiveness of presentation; format and grammar and mechanics.
The center is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Students can reserve an appointment by signing up on the time sheets on the door of Huntley Hall 118. Further details can be found at the center’s website.