Tutors say Language Center goes unused

The Language Center, a service for students taking foreign language classes, offers hours of free language tutoring daily, but tutors say students rarely use the program.

The center, which offers free tutoring in 12 languages and employs 18 tutors, is funded by a $50 to $80 language course fee, which is required for some language classes.

Alexandra Pollock, an Arabic tutor at the center, said only 10 students regularly seek out her help. There are about 350 students registered for Arabic classes, according to the registrar.

“Last week it was a bit busier, but this whole week no one has come in,” Pollock said.

Other tutors echoed Pollock’s sentiment, saying some students regularly use the service but many do not know of its existence.

“For some languages it is more popular, but I only see three or four students who come in on a regular basis,” Caleb Dependahl, a Chinese tutor, said. About 200 students are registered for Chinese classes this fall.

Each language is offered at least twice a week in time blocks ranging from one to five hours.

Pollock said she doesn’t think many students are aware of the tutoring service.

“I don’t see a lot of advertising around campus,” she said. “I’m not sure how many students know that we’re here and that we’re open much of the week until 8 p.m.”

Dependahl said the center sends e-mails to language professors with the tutoring schedule, but the e-mails do not seem to help.

“I’m not sure why students don’t come in,” he said.

In contrast to the tutoring service, the resources available to language professors are frequently used.

More than 100 language professors across the three language and literature departments – Romance, German and Slavic, East Asian, and Classical and Semitic – utilize the different programs each semester, Shoko Hamano, director of the center, said.

Professors may assign and use audio and visual materials through the center’s online media delivery service. Last fall, there were nearly 8,000 hits for these instructional materials.

Equipment such as video cameras, projectors, voice recorders and headsets are available for professors to borrow for class use. Classes may also be held in one of the center’s rooms.

“The Language Center’s services are not always delivered directly to the students,” Hamano, who is also a Japanese and international affairs professor, said. “Most of our services are delivered to students through their professors.”

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