Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Advising Advice: Tutoring services update

Posted on October 16, 2017 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

Naamah Jarnot

Greetings, Huskies! I am delighted to join the University of Southern Maine community as the new Coordinator of Tutoring Services. Many Free Press readers may already be familiar with the Learning Commons, but if you have visited our space or used our services before, do not flip this page (or scroll down) just yet, as we have some new and exciting developments to share.

To recap for anyone new to the University, the Learning Commons is an open space designed to foster collaborative and active learning that is filled with moveable tables, rolling whiteboards, and plush furniture. In addition to subject-based tutoring, we offer help with time-management and study skills, technology assistance, and research guidance, as well as reservable group study spaces and access to community computers. Although physically located in the Bailey Hall Library in Gorham, and the Glickman Library in Portland, many of our services (including tutoring!) are also available online.

We have experienced a tremendous amount of growth recently, both in terms of personnel and support. Thanks to ongoing partnerships with academic departments across the University, we now have over 60 tutors who have completed a nationally-accredited training program and are able to provide assistance in numerous subject areas. In addition to math, science, and writing, we are thrilled to share that all School of Business tutoring is now located at the Learning Commons, with expanded offerings in accounting, finance, and economics. We are currently piloting Psychology 101 tutoring, as well.

In terms of graduate-level support, we now have two graduate writing assistants who are available to work with students on all types of writing—essay assignments, literature reviews, research papers, and more. Both our graduate and undergraduate level writing tutors are trained to help at all stages of the writing process, whether you are just starting to generate ideas or have a completed draft. Although tutors do not edit or proofread, they will work with a student collaboratively, provide feedback, and offer strategies for becoming a stronger and more effective writer.

In fact, we have grown so much that we have increased our physical footprint! All math and science tutoring in Portland is now on the third floor of the Glickman Library and in the STEM Assistance Room on the first floor of Bailey Hall in Gorham.

We are expanding our online presence as well. Our website ( is chock full of helpful content, ranging from how-to videos (e.g. “Skills for Acing Math” or “Navigating Blackboard”) to tips on how to work effectively in groups. Be sure to follow us on Facebook (@USMLearningCommons) for live updates, fun contests, and important announcements.

Whereas the Writing Center at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College was a separate entity, it is now being incorporated into the library, and moving towards a Learning Commons model. Any current USM student can work with a tutor in Gorham, Portland, Lewiston-Auburn, or online. To view the schedule or book an appointment, visit our website. Any courses for which tutoring is offered are listed on the site, and updated each semester. If the course you are looking for is not included, we suggest reaching out to your professor to see what is available to you at the department level or giving us a call. The more we know about your needs, the better we can serve you in the future.

We hope to see you in the Learning Commons soon!

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