October 19, 2010

SUNY Empire State College Wins Innovation in Online Student Services Award

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Oct. 19, 2010) The Center for Distance Learning of SUNY Empire State College has won second place in the 2010-11 Innovation Award in Online Student Services sponsored by the Center for Transforming Student Services (CENTSS). The honor recognizes CDL’s Peer Tutor Program established in 2009 by Craig Lamb, director of academic support services for CDL and the recipient last March of the college’s James William and Mary Elizabeth Hall Award for Innovation.?

Peer tutors are current students who have completed the study they tutor in, and who have been through an extensive application and training program to help and encourage other students who are struggling with a CDL online course. The tutors focus primarily on assisting with course content and material (i.e. understanding concepts) and/or course-related skills (i.e. Excel for accounting and statistics courses). Today, 155 peer tutors assist students in more than 250 sections of CDL courses. Additionally, in a spin-off program, peer tutors are embedded in 12 sections of CDL courses to provide frequent, ongoing assistance as it is needed.

“I have been astounded and humbled by the immediate acceptance and rapid growth of the CDL Peer Tutor Program,” said Lamb. “This award reflects the dedication of the many SUNY Empire State College students who give up their time to assist their fellow classmates, as well as the many faculty, mentors and adjunct instructors who have embraced the peer tutoring concept for increased student success.”

CENTSS is an organization that provides educational institutions with systematic, data-driven tools and training they need to develop, deliver and assess their online student services. Through CENTSS, institutions are able to blend the power of technology with the personal attention of traditional support services. In announcing the innovation awards, CENTSS acknowledged college and university student services professionals who use “tools, creative strategies and fresh thinking to design, develop, implement and maintain online student services that have produced measurable results.”

CDL Interim Dean Thomas Mackey expressed his excitement about the award, offering his congratulations to both Lamb and student assistant Theresa Vamvalis, who manages tutor assignments, incoming tutor requests and tutor payroll. “This award reflects well on the great work our academic support team does on a daily basis. It also acknowledges our innovative Peer Tutoring Program and the value we place on student success. Congratulations to Craig Lamb and Terry Vamvalis for being recognized with a national award.”

For more information about the Peer Tutor Program, go to www.esc.edu/CDLPeerTutor.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College, celebrating its 40th year throughout 2011, was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor's and master's degrees from the State University of New York. Students learn through independent studies, online courses, seminars and residencies. Learners also may earn credit for prior college-level learning from work and life experience. The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at 34 locations in New York state and online. For more information, visit www.esc.edu.