After classes are over and the professors go home, students begin the legwork of the liberal arts education provided at Christendom. Be it calculus homework, a research paper, or Latin translation, students are not alone. Christendom’s faculty works hard to provide students with a unique peer-tutoring system, which just expanded its hours into a new on-campus tutoring center for 2019.

“Students who wish to improve have a real gift available to them in the peer tutors,” affirms Dr. Lisa Marciano, the director of the college’s Writing Center — one of Christendom’s special tutoring offerings. “They have access to academic leaders on campus who, through their work, are practical examples of the charity, dedication, and service emphasized here—aspects that make this college community such a special place.”

Christendom’s two best attributes—academics and community—unite in this project to assist students in getting all they can out of their education. Especially for freshmen, the various services offered free of charge encourage good study habits and provide opportunities for continual growth.

Over the college’s winter break, a new tutoring center was constructed on the lower level of St. John the Evangelist Library. The center offers new space for the college’s tutors, allowing for more available hours, while also opening up new study spaces in the library.

In the new center, the college’s Latin and Greek tutors offer over ten hours per week of walk-in tutoring. Tutor Edith Lagarde, a junior majoring in classics, has been taking Latin since grade school.

“I enjoy learning Latin and I’m confident in my ability with it, so I want to help others gain that confidence,” says Lagarde. “Teaching is also the best way to learn.”

The whiteboard is usually filled with declensions and conjugations by the end of the night, as the tutors work through translations with students.

“Tutoring is important because Latin is a hard language, especially for the freshmen taking it for the first time,” notes Lagarde. “We see people come in overwhelmed with the work done in class come out an hour later having the chapter down. Our help with the grammar and exercises gives them tools to be more successful on their own later.”

Students can also find peer tutors for Differential Equations, Calculus, and Elementary Number Theory. These tutors, coordinated by English language and literature professor Dr. Thomas Stanford, provide support to those completing the core mathematics requirements, as well as upper level courses.

For students needing help with the college’s many papers, the college’s Writing Center is open Sunday through Thursday night, 6:00 PM—12:00 AM each week. Students can sign up at any time using the library website to book a half-hour slot to meet with the writing coaches.

The Writing Center offers paper-writing assistance from peer tutors, hand-picked by the college’s faculty.

“For some people, writing well comes easily; for others, it is more difficult to achieve but can occur with practice. That is where the peer tutors in the Writing Center come in,” says Marciano. “These tutors, chosen from the student body because of their writing skills and their ability to communicate in an effective and friendly manner to those who sign up for appointment times, are essentially writing coaches.”

These upperclassmen, selected by Marciano, meet one-on-one with students to review style, grammar, and footnoting. The discussion allows students to take a fresh look at their essay and find ways to constantly improve their writing.

“Since the tutors can assist with all phases of writing, even with planning out essays, students receive encouragement to work ahead of time, thus avoiding procrastination and the stress that accompanies last-minute work,” says Marciano. “Students report that going to the center leads them to produce better compositions.”

These initiatives offer students a way to connect and study with their peers, encouraging deeper learning and discussion. The peer tutors gain experience teaching and working with students, which often proves valuable for future employment.

Christendom’s academics are designed to challenge students and encourage them to expand their limits, but no student faces the coursework alone. Thanks to the dedication of the faculty and peer tutors, each student can gain the tools for success.

Find out more about Christendom’s academic resources here.

Special to Christendom by author Riley Damitz (’20).

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