“What is the Learning Center’s mission?”
We help students develop academic strategies and habits to succeed at Carolina no matter the academic context. Carolina students are, by definition, successful students, and we support them as they continue to learn, grow, and meet new challenges. Some students visit us once or twice, and others utilize our services throughout their time at Carolina.
“Who works in the Learning Center?”
A dedicated group of full-time staff provides the foundation of academic support. This group includes multiple STEM and ADHD/LD specialists as well as staff who run the peer tutoring program. In addition to full-time staff who work as academic coaches, direct academic support is provided by multiple graduate student academic coaches and by more than a hundred undergraduate peer tutors.
“Who uses the Learning Center?”
The Learning Center is open to all undergraduates, and a broad range of students use our services from straight-A, Dean’s List students to those working to maintain eligibility. Over half of all undergraduates will have used at least one service from us or our sibling unit, the Writing Center, during their time at Carolina. Many graduate students also take advantage of Learning Center offerings. Students visit us voluntarily and our services are provided at no cost.
“How can I encourage my students to use Learning Center services?”
Include a paragraph describing the Learning Center in your syllabus.
Feel free to copy and paste this blurb:
Want to get the most out of this course and others this semester? Visit UNC’s Learning Center at http://learningcenter.unc.edu. Their free, popular programs will help you optimize your academic performance: academic coaching, peer tutoring, STEM support, ADHD/LD services, workshops and study camps, and tips and tools.
Request a Learning Center workshop or class visit.
Learning Center staff and coaches are available for workshops on topics like time management as well as class visits to provide an overview of our services. You can make those requests by completing a form here: https://learningcenter.unc.edu/register-for-classes/learning-center-program-request-form/
Assign or link to Learning Center Tips & Tools.
Faculty members around the country use Learning Center materials as teaching tools.
If you point students to the Learning Center webpages to find these resources, students may take further advantage of coaching and tutoring opportunities available to them.
“What is academic coaching?”
Academic coaching is a collaborative form of student support where students work with their coach to set and achieve academic goals. Students commonly use academic coaching to work on time management and study habits and strategies. Academic coaching is particularly helpful as students adjust to academic life at Carolina, transition into courses in their major, and as they prepare for next steps when they look toward graduation. We have academic coaches who are generalists as well as STEM specialists and ADHD/LD specialists. Check out our FAQ explaining academic coaching in much greater detail here: https://learningcenter.unc.edu/academic-coaching-faq/
“How much help can an undergraduate student get from the Learning Center?”
Undergraduate students can receive a wide variety of academic support from the Learning Center, and they often seek it on a frequent basis. We have students who use multiple services such as academic coaching, peer tutoring, and a STEM group on a weekly basis. For some specific programs, there are weekly limits on usage to ensure sufficient appointment availability to Carolina students.
“Can graduate students make appointments?”
Although we prioritize access to undergraduate students, many graduate students make appointments and work with academic coaches. Graduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences can schedule appointments in advance, while graduate students in other schools must make same-day appointments. Many graduate students find academic coaching beneficial in helping make progress on dissertations and theses, adjusting to academic life in graduate school, and issues related to time management.
“Can students make standing appointments?”
While students are unable to make standing appointments with academic coaches or peer tutors, undergraduate students can make multiple appointments in advance and with some planning should have no trouble meeting with a coach or tutor on a regular basis.
“I’d like for all of my students to visit the Learning Center. Can I require my whole class to use the Learning Center?”
No. While we support your efforts to encourage students to examine and improve their academic skills, we cannot support required visits to the Center. This policy derives from both practical and pedagogical reasons outlined below. If you’d like to discuss this policy, contact the directors.
- Demand for our services exceeds the supply of appointments. When students make appointments because they are required to come in, are being given extra credit, or are making up missed classes, they prevent other students who voluntarily seek help from getting it.
- Students who aren’t invested don’t learn well. Past experience has taught us that students who visit the Learning Center under some form of requirement are not necessarily interested in improving their academic skills. Some (not all) come expecting to stay for just a few minutes so that we will write a conference summary attesting to their appearance here. While their visits acquaint them with our services and sometimes develop into worthwhile sessions, often these students simply fill up our calendar and prevent others from getting an appointment. Given the high demand for our services, we cannot afford to allot space to students who haven’t expressed interest in their development as students.
“I’m interested in having the Learning Center do a workshop or presentation for my class. Is that a possibility?”
Yes! The Learning Center frequently provides workshops and other programs for classes. To request a workshop, use the following form: https://learningcenter.unc.edu/register-for-classes/learning-center-program-request-form/
“When are you open for academic coaching and peer tutoring?”
The Learning Center is generally open for academic coaching and peer tutoring appointments whenever undergraduate classes are in session. That means that academic coaching and peer tutoring are available almost year round with the exception of early August, a few weeks in December, and during official university holidays and breaks.
“What kinds of STEM support do you offer?”
The Learning Center offers comprehensive STEM support for students including academic coaching with a STEM specialist, collaborative learning groups for Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics, and peer tutoring for help with course content. For more information on our STEM services, see https://learningcenter.unc.edu/services/stem/
“Sometimes students’ poor test scores don’t match their performance in class. How can I help?”
You can always suggest that students in this situation make an appointment with an academic coach at the Learning Center who will tease out what might be getting in the way of better test performance.
“I wonder if one of my students may have a learning disability or ADHD. What’s the best way to approach this topic with the student?”
Recommend your student visit the Learning Center for an academic coaching appointment, and we can work with the student to sort out issues and recommend resources if needed. If you’d like to discuss the situation, contact one of the Learning Center’s ADHD/LD specialists who will discuss with you some of the markers of possible learning differences or ADHD, as well as how to approach the student about your concerns. You can find more information about our ADHD/LD services here: https://learningcenter.unc.edu/services/ldadhd-services/
“My students are often challenged by the reading load I assign in my course. Can someone at the Learning Center help them?”
Recommend an appointment with an academic coach. The coach and student can sort out what strategies the student is currently using to tackle assigned reading as well as other time management and study skills that may be at play during the semester.