Out with the Old, in with the Guru

Teri Miles discussing the Guru program with Kathleen LaDuke. Photo Credit / Jaime Reese
Teri Miles discussing the Guru program with Kathleen LaDuke. Photo Credit / Jaime Reese
Teri Miles discussing the Guru program with Kathleen LaDuke.
Photo Credit / Jamie Reese

By Jenny Bront
SC Staff Writer

ESU has made many changes in the last couple of years that affect students and professors, like the increases in class sizes.

The Department of Academic Enrichment and Learning (DAEL) has come up with a way to lessen the blow: the Guru program.

Gurus are a combination of a Supplemental Instruction Tutors and Teaching Assistants. They perform clerical duties, provide classroom assistance, attend tutor training, and offer Structured Learning Assistance (SLA).

The most common duties gurus will have to perform are verifying class rosters and taking attendance, upholding the D2L page, proctoring exams, scanning, copying, collating, and distributing course material, assisting with grading and research, and establishing and leading SLA sessions.

Class sections with 60+ students may receive one guru and classes with 120 students are able to receive two gurus. Gurus are recommended by the department and then interviewed and trained by the DAEL. Then they are matched to a professor in need of help. A professor can also request a certain individual to be his or her guru.

The program is still in its infancy, and whether or not it will survive, is yet to be determined. As with anything, the program has its pros and cons.

Positive aspects include saving money by combining two jobs in one: providing professors with the help they need to succeed and giving students a chance at employment.

Negative aspects include decreasing the number of jobs available for students by combing two jobs in one and putting added work on the students.

Still, Dr. Michael Doherty, a recipient of one of the aforementioned gurus, is “glad that the funds and hours are available to incent students in helping out their classmates.”

Students who desire employment as a guru must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, excellent organizational skills, a faculty recommendation letter, and must have received at least a B in the class they wish to assist.

As Dr. Doherty pointed out and what Teri Miles also reiterated is that this is a “work in progress” and a “pilot program.” It will be interesting to see if the Guru program will weather the storm.

Whether or not this arrangement is successful, at least it is an effort. The loss of the professional tutors was a devastating blow, and the increase in class sizes makes it harder to get any personal attention from a teacher. As a result, the necessity of tutors and gurus has increased drastically.

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