Wayne Community College’s tutoring program and its personnel have collected several national accolades.
The National Tutoring Association (NTA) recognized WCC’s Academic Skills Center (ASC) as its 2021 Tutoring Program of the Year in the two-year school category in a ceremony during the association’s virtual conference.
In presenting the award, Dr. Lucy Lapekas, NTA executive director, quoted from a recommendation letter by Joanna Morrisette, associate vice president of academic and student services, saying that it “expressed what I feel in my heart about two-year schools.”
“It is not just the mechanics of tutoring, it is the genuine care for students as individuals and their success that makes our Academic Skills Center notable,” Morrisette wrote. “The center is successful because of the sincere and caring attitudes of the staff and the relationships formed with students. Students know that they will not be judged for needing assistance but instead encouraged and commended for seeking support.”
Dr. Brandy Daingerfield, ASC director, credited coordinators Michael Bloom, Karen Hartley, and Lucy Stutts, as well as the professional and peer tutors, with the center’s accomplishments.
“This team of tutors goes above and beyond in everything I ask of them and everything the students ask of them,” Daingerfield said. “This was readily apparent at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This amazing team worked to transition our program to 100 percent virtual format so that there was not a single day’s lapse in service to the students.”
Hartley, who has worked at the center for more than 25 years, was named the 2021 Tutor of the Year.
In nominating her, Daingerfield had written that Hartley is “a hard charger and a shining example of dedication, kindness, and perseverance. … and an expert in tutoring as a professional.”
Another nominator spoke about Hartley’s prowess at tutoring math, breaking down concepts, and “not making students feel embarrassed or angry at themselves for not understanding math.”
Bloom was presented the 2021 Tutor Profile in Courage Award. It recognizes a tutor who has faced significant cultural, socio-economic, physical, or other challenges, yet has overcome these challenges in order to not only remain a degree-seeking student, but to serve other students at the institution. It includes a plaque and a scholarship.
“You came through some pretty bad stuff and not only did you come through it, and continue to do your job, but according to your supervisor, you volunteered to work extra hours. Over the last year, you have worked 516 tutorial hours and completed 35 hours of professional development including 12 hours of tutor training and certification. That’s pretty amazing,” Lapekas said.
Daingerfield noted that Bloom models lifelong learning by continuously taking classes and is currently enrolled in courses at WCC.
“There is something that Brandy told me once: ‘helping other people helps me.’ By giving to other people, it helps me.” Bloom said. “The students are my inspiration.
“For a student to walk in here and say, I need help, with their hands up in the air … and then I can provide that for them, that is amazing. It helps me to help them. That’s what gotten me through the past two years,” said Bloom.
Daingerfield’s doctoral dissertation, “Value in Tutoring: An Investigation of Student Perceptions of Tutoring,” received the 2021 NTA Publication of the Year Award. NTA published the work and has made it available for purchase on the association’s website (www.ntatutor.com/).
“I am deeply honored to be recognized by my peers for work on this subject that I am passionate about but also something that I have made my life’s work,” Daingerfield said.
She was also surprised when named the NTA Board Member of the Year. Lapekas thanked Daingerfield for taking on “a lot of responsibilities of the intricacies of the NTA,” saying “I can’t even think of all the things you have done this year to keep us on track.”
Also announced was Daingerfield’s acceptance of the volunteer position of assistant director. She will also serve as the special liaison to military and first responders and executive director of the National Tutoring Foundation.
Daingerfield also led a session during the conference titled “Tutors Should be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.”