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NMSU Campus Tutoring, TRIO SSS tutoring, mentoring programs receive national certification

When New Mexico State University junior Alicia Romero hears a laugh, she knows she?s on the path to helping a fellow student. A TRIO Student Support Services mentor who is beginning her third semester with the program, Romero values working with her peers.


A group of students holding certificates
The New Mexico State University TRIO Student Support Services tutors and mentors received College Reading & Learning Association certifications during the 2016-2017 academic year. NMSU?s Campus Tutoring Services tutors also received CRLA certifications. (Courtesy photo)

?The most rewarding experience I have had as a mentor is when a student comes to me and they are stressed out or upset, but after our meeting they leave with a smile and feel better,? said Romero, a level III certification mentor and biology and wildlife major. ?Being able to help these students achieve their goals or to help them through difficult situations is hard, but so worth it. To help them feel more relaxed and to get them laughing is one of the greatest things. It helps them to know that yes, life is hard, but it can get better with a little help.?

During the 2016-2017 academic year, NMSU TRIO SSS mentoring and tutoring programs and Campus Tutoring Services, which are all peer services, received College Reading & Learning Association certifications. For the first time, Campus Tutoring received level I and TRIO SSS mentoring received level I, II, and III certifications, while TRIO SSS tutoring earned level III recertification. The certification process with CRLA establishes standards for the roles, responsibilities, communications, ethics, study skill strategies and training for tutor and mentor programs at higher education institutions.

?The great thing about the CRLA is that we design the curriculum and assess the mentors and tutors to ensure that the objectives of each program and the certification criteria are met,? said Trese Collins, TRIO SSS tutor coordinator. ?We are ensuring that our peer staff has the training they need to go into their positions as mentors and tutors and be successful.?

Training happens continually throughout the semester for tutors and mentors and is based on the needs of the students being served. Critical thinking was a recent training topic, which helps both the students and peer staff.

For the spring 2017 semester, TRIO SSS certified 12 peer mentors and 10 peer tutors and Campus Tutoring certified 15 peer tutors. TRIO SSS served 350 participants, while Campus Tutoring served about 300 students last semester.

?I think the most challenging aspect of being a tutor is trying to engage your students in active learning. Active learning is where the student actively asks questions and gives feedback in a tutoring session,? said Mariana Aldavaz, a TRIO SSS tutor and chemical engineering major.

?The most challenging aspect of being a mentor is making sure I have all the knowledge needed to assist my students, or at least the knowledge to send them where they can get better help,? Romero said. ?That is why the training we do is so important. It allows us the opportunity to help the students in any situation or any challenge they may have.?

?Our tutors know what they are doing and they learn from that and continue to grow,? said Lisa Kirby, academic success center coordinator.