Salt Lake Community College opened a brand new center for science, technology, engineering and mathematics last week at Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
The Dumke Center for STEM Learning is located on the east side of the Science and Industry building. Students can now use the new space for private or group study and tutoring. The two-story area replaces the Science Resource Center previously located in the same building and indicates a broader change in tutoring services.
School of Science, Mathematics and Engineering dean Craig Caldwell has worked to transition all Tutoring and Learning Centers toward STEM. The new STEM learning center will be specialized to meet intensive math and science questions students may have, with the idea of improving organization among all of the centers so they work in conjunction with one another.
Nathan Sanders, a biology major who plans to attend the University of Utah next year, says he has had trouble finding tutors to help him with school work in the past. In particular, he described the Markosian Library tutoring center as slow and inefficient.
“They never have the tutors that you needed,” he says. “[Aides have said] ‘Sorry, our chem person is not here. Sorry, our physics person is not here.’ I’ve gotten that more than I’ve gotten help from there.”
Sanders admits his feelings toward the library and other tutoring centers stem from a lack of science-related tutoring.
“That math center down there is cool, off to the side, but for physics and chemistry, they just don’t have anything,” he says.
STEM learning center director Jose Crespo intends to ease these problems by migrating science and math resources from two other tutoring centers to the new area. He also plans on streamlining the way students ask questions of tutors and are helped, which was a major concern for Sanders.
Crespo wants to get the right tutors to the right student quickly.
“We have a software that is going to track the flow of students that come into the center so that we know which students and for what particular reason they are coming here, because we would like to know who are we serving and if we are serving the right people,” he explains.
On top of the services already provided, the new STEM learning center will offer academic advisors, which will be stationed on the second floor.
“The idea of this center is to have a place for students to come and study and also get the help that they want or they need,” Crespo says.
A top priority for those involved with STEM is getting teachers and professors to spend their office hours or whatever free time they have in the centers. 13 different initiatives have been proposed to achieve this goal.
“We think that these different tiers of help that you can have in peer tutoring will make the experience much better,” Crespo says, referring to the possibility of professors and peer tutors alike helping students with questions.
Some tools and functionalities have yet to be implemented, both on the website and the physical location. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments must be made through STEM learning center coordinators.
The Dumke Center for STEM Learning is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit the front desk in room SI 101 for more information.
Additional photos by Rex Magana