Learning Center celebrates 25 years serving EOU students
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Anna Maria Dill, center back row, has been the sole director of the EOU Learning Center since its establishment in 1987. Completing the Center team from left, back row, are Donna Evans, Writing Center director, Lynne Tilley, accommodations specialist, and front row from left, Kathryn Shorts, administrative program assistant, Pat Arnson, Disability Services coordinator, and Liz Becker, CORE 101 facilitator.
April 20, 2012
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - On the second floor of EOU’s Loso Hall is a long, open room with large windows that look out onto the main hallway. On any given day, around 120 students pass through its doors and access one or more of the many services available inside at the Learning Center.
For the past 25 years this busy hub has been a beacon of academic and professional support for EOU students. In recognition of reaching the quarter-century mark, the Center is planning an anniversary open house Wednesday, April 25.
To help celebrate the event, retired faculty, alumni and other individuals who played key roles in the evolution of the Center have been invited back to campus. All members of the university and local community are also encouraged to drop by for refreshments from 1-4 p.m. in Loso Hall, Room 234.
For Anna Maria Dill, director of the Learning Center, planning the celebration has been a trip down memory lane, with some bittersweet stops along the way.
“There are several longtime supporters of the Center who are no longer with us, including Dave Gilbert and Dick Stenard,” Dill said. “I have many deep and poignant memories.”
Gilbert, EOU president emeritus and retired faculty member, passed away in February. Stenard was the vice president for Student Affairs at the time of his death in 1999. Both were champions of the Learning Center from its beginning, when funding from a Title III grant in 1987 made it possible to establish.
From that point forward, Dill began working with faculty and staff to continually identify new and improved methods of serving students’ needs.
In addition to providing computer labs, group study and individual tutoring sessions, the modern Learning Center is also home to Disability Services and the Writing Center. Expansions have also included physical space. Originally housed in the basement of Pierce Library, the Center now occupies a significant portion of the second floor of Loso Hall’s north side.
“This is a very exciting time and I’m looking forward to the future,” Dill said. “The Center will be integral to whatever direction the university takes in the next 25 years and beyond.”
The recent implementation of online scheduling software is one example of how the Learning Center is adapting to higher demand. It’s called WCONLINE and students register for an account using their EOU e-mail and identification number. Once logged in, they can access and view the availability, even profiles, of all the tutors in the Learning Center and schedule an appointment.
Donna Evans, director of the Writing Center, advocated for the purchase of the software and is thrilled to see so many students benefiting from it so far. WCONLINE was launched in January and is funded by student technology fee dollars.
“Our ability to be innovative and keep up with advances in technology is critical,” Evans said. “We are also exploring options for integrating synchronous online tutoring services, as the population of our distance students continues to grow.”
EOU file photo/Student tutors working in the Learning Center benefit from professional development and often leave better prepared to enter their chosen field.
While Evans is new to her role with the Writing Center as of last September, she is not at all unfamiliar with EOU. She completed her degree at a distance in 2004 and also worked as a writing tutor while an undergraduate.
Students who work in the Learning Center, like Evans did, can benefit from the professional development and often leave better prepared to enter their chosen field. Dill has witnessed many tutors discover they have a passion for teaching based on their experiences working with other students.
“Students helping other students succeed is the overarching theme of the Learning Center,” Dill said. “They are the real heart of it.”
There are more than 150 students currently employed in the Center and six university faculty and staff members, including Dill and Evans. Pat Arnson is the Disability Services coordinator, Kathryn Shorts is the administrative program assistant, Lynne Tilley is the accommodations specialist, and Liz Becker is the CORE 101 facilitator.