Learning Center Director Dr. Jennifer Haley Awarded Grants

July 26, 2022

University College Learning Center Director Jennifer Haley has recently been awarded two grants to further research and programming in peer academic support services.

The National College Learning Center Association (NCLCA) has awarded Dr. Haley the Hunter Boylan Research Scholarship to support her research exploring student barriers to seeking tutoring.  It is well-known in the field of learning assistance that the students who could benefit the most from tutoring—the “at-risk” students who earn a DFW or who are not retained at the university—are the ones who are the least likely to seek tutoring.  Many assumptions have been made about the cause of this behavior: students are passive, reactive, missing the "grit" necessary for college, and are unmotivated, for example.  Dr. Haley's research demonstrates that at-risk students do not seek tutoring due to a more complex assortment of psychological, social, and practical factors.  Outreach to at-risk students can be refined and barriers can be dismantled, leading to higher rates of academic success in terms of grade outcomes, retention, and graduation. Dr. Haley will publish her findings and present her work at the annual NCLCA conference in October. 

Dr. Haley was also awarded the NCLCA Learning Center Collaboration Grant with former Ball State Learning Center coordinators Gary Ritz (Miami University) and Dr. Elizabeth Fallon (Ohio University).  This grant has allowed for the creation of robust training for learning center student staff in collaboration with three institutions, including shared workshops and a remote (virtual) conference to provide professional development experiences for student staff.  The shared workshops have allowed students to share experiences and strategies and to learn together how to provide more effective and equitable academic support services.  The topics included returning to campus after COVID, navigating COVID-related learning barriers, conducting interactive tutoring sessions, and working with under-prepared students, among others. The virtual conference is scheduled for February 2023 and will give select students the opportunity to propose sessions in a refereed conference with a formal review process, and for other students, the opportunity to attend sessions and learn from the experiences and scholarship of others.

Dr. Haley is a past president of NCLCA and serves as the current Chairperson of the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations, a national organization that fosters mutual support among national and international organizations dedicated to postsecondary learning assistance or developmental education. Dr. Haley also serves as Chairperson for NCLCA's Learning Center Leadership Certification program. 

Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Haley and her colleagues for their efforts to contribute to the scholarship of peer academic support services and to advocate for these services as essential to authentic learning, grade outcomes, retention, and graduation.

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