Jeanne Haslam’s office door swings both ways—whether it’s a student entering her office for a quick mentoring session or it’s this Learning Center director circulating among tutoring sessions to ensure every student gets specialized attention—she is at the the heart of where academic success ignites.
Haslam takes her role seriously. “I have got students relying on us,” she said. “I hope that every student who enters the Learning Center will achieve academic success.”
You could say the Learning Center benefits, too. Last year, it served more than one-third of undergraduate students at Georgia College.
“It all evolves around academic success,” says Haslam. “Every one of my job duties centers around students being more prepared and academically sound about their subjects.”
“Students come in because the classes they’re taking are very challenging,” said Haslam. “We’re right in the channel of hardcore learning.”
Students consistently seek help in almost all the math, physics, chemistry and economics classes. The best part—it’s free to all Georgia College students.
When it comes to studying, she says smarter is better. Haslam recommends early, intentional and frequent studying because then long-term memory begins to develop.
“I want to empower students to utilize all their resources and to be more reflective and take ownership of their learning,” she said. “I do think that some of them need to treat studying like it’s their primary job right now.”
Haslam does the hiring, mentoring, recruiting, scheduling, supervising and training of 120 plus student employees of the Learning Center. Prior to this position, she was a graduate admissions specialist providing support for all graduate programs.
Along with two graduate assistants, Jeanne trains supplemental instruction (SI) leaders, peer tutors, undergraduate learning assistants, SI coaches and Bridge Scholars Program (BSP) tutors. The Learning Center offers drop-in tutoring, math lab tutoring, supplemental instruction sessions, BSP cohort tutoring and peer-assisted study sessions (PASS).
“We hold our Learning Center staff to a high standard, and they meet it,” she said. “I ask them ‘What is the standard of work that you are willing to deliver?’ And they always respond higher than my own expectations.”
“It’s astounding to witness some of the transformations our student staff experience,” Haslam said. “I think that sometimes a bright student might not have the same kind of academic and leadership experience opportunities elsewhere as they have in a smaller school, like Georgia College. If they’re at a larger school, how are they going to bubble to the top?”
“Part of my job is to keep my eyes open to that sophomore student who is incredibly capable and interested in developing new skills,” Haslam said. “I ask what will help them grow and add to their toolbox? When they gain, we all gain.”
To Haslam, when the LC student staff find additional avenues of community on campus, especially in the crossover between the academic and employment world, it’s a win-win.
“They also have an opportunity to get to know professors better, to get to know and work with students from other disciplines, and they find a higher and deeper level of connectedness,” she said. “I think that makes a big difference.”
For more information on the Learning Center, visit http://www.gcsu.edu/learningcenter.