The Learning Center offers incredible peer tutoring services that are collaborative learning opportunities for our students. Any Meredith student who needs assistance with their course work can make an appointment with a tutor specializing in a certain field of study. The Library has worked with the Learning Center this past semester to hire and train Peer Research Tutors (PRTs) who are now available for our students as well. Learn more about the Learning Center and direct students to schedule appointments with tutors online.
During our Student Library Committee meetings, students expressed they would feel more comfortable at times going to a peer for research help, and recent library studies support this idea as well. In response to this need, Jeff Waller, head of research and instruction at the Library, worked with Learning Center Director Carmen Christopher to establish the PRT program, with support from the other Reference and Instruction librarians. When asked about the new program, Waller said after hearing our students’ comments and seeing a trend in “studies showing that some students are more comfortable approaching their peers for assistance,” he wanted “to give our students this opportunity.”
Last semester three PRTs were hired and trained, and now Ann Cox, Miranda Pikaart, and Andie Woodson have joined the Learning Center team. Waller notes that “our three PRTs are skilled researchers. But just as importantly, they have a real understanding of how to reach students at their level of need and patiently work them through whatever research challenges they’re facing.”
Cox adds “we can help students navigate the research process within every subject. Having one-on-one guidance with a peer often feels more accessible to students who are figuring out how to research or overcoming struggles to complete a project. Peer research tutors can provide individualized support to students of all disciplines to make the research process less overwhelming.”
When giving an assignment that involves research or using sources, faculty should consider referring their students to the PRTs if they need help. Woodson wants students to know that they are here for them, “and that the PRTs aren’t just here to help students construct research papers. We are also hoping to help them find the information and better understand the research process.” Pikaart notes that she is “very excited to help bridge the gap between librarians and students.” Pikaart went on to say, “I think this is a very unique addition to the Learning Center. We have tutors that can help with grammar and writing, but we will be helping specifically with research projects, something that is challenging for all!”
All PRTs are looking forward to meeting with students this semester. Pikaart says they are “excited to help students develop their research abilities, and together they can help their peers tackle research!”
—Amanda Sullivan, Research and Instruction Librarian