Scott Tomlin has a simple message for Arkansas Tech University students as it relates to visiting the Tech Learning Center.
“Come early and come often,” said Tomlin. “Just pop by, check in and see how it’s going. We might not do a math problem, proofread a paper or discuss a historical concept every time. Just having someone around who you can bounce an idea or question off of is super important. It helped me get from those problems to graduation…so I’d like to offer that back if I can. Come by and see us. It doesn’t even have to be a problem. I’ll gladly hear about how you aced that paper.”
Tomlin took leadership of the Tech Learning Center as its coordinator in October 2021. Located in Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center room 124, the center provides services such as academic coaching, peer tutoring, online tutoring and group study sessions.
A 2007 graduate of ATU, Tomlin previously served on the Roy and Christine Sturgis Academic Advising Center staff from 2014-21. He also has experience working in the ATU Department of Art and the ATU Office of the Registrar.
That variety of experiences has taught Tomlin that no two students can be served with the same solution.
“I try to address their specific question,” said Tomlin. “We’ll take a leave no stone unturned kind of approach. Instead of saying these are our services and let’s fit you into this box, it’s more about asking the students what they need and finding out how we can help or point them in the right direction.”
Tomlin said the new opportunity in the Tech Learning Center came at a good point in his career.
“I like to learn, too,” said Tomlin. “That is a nice side effect of this position. It gets me a little closer to the classroom and lets me pick up on what’s going on in there. After seven years in advising I definitely know the classes, but I wanted to get a little closer to what was happening in them and to help students connect with the resources necessary to be successful.”
Services are offered to Tech Learning Center clients in-person and online.
“A benefit of the pandemic is it taught our tutors how to function online,” said Tomlin. “They were online for a full year before we resumed in-person tutoring last fall. By then, our tutors were very well-versed in online tutoring so now students can have that either way. Our folks who are here can switch and do a session in Webex, but we’re also fully in-person. If you want to sit down with a whiteboard and go over your problems, we can do that.”
Tomlin is joined on the Tech Learning Center staff by graduate assistants Jacob Littlefield and Taylor Whillock. Together, they oversee a staff of 18 Tech Learning Center peer tutors and mentors who provide assistance in more than 75 courses. In addition, the ATU Department of Biological Sciences and the ATU Department of Mathematics both provide an additional 12 tutors that work in the Tech Learning Center.
In all, there are 42 peer tutors and mentors available to help ATU students achieve their academic goals.
“I really want to put an emphasis on student-led initiatives and student-led learning,” said Tomlin. “I’m getting older, and I’ve noticed that students will talk to me a certain way and then there’s a change in tone when they interact with their peers. I’m getting comfortable with that role, but it’s also something I want to take advantage of. The teamwork involved in student-led initiatives and student-led projects can help make for better success for everyone involved.”
Learn more about the Tech Learning Center at www.atu.edu/tutoring.