From left: Sanger Center Director Michelle Jewell, Student Government Representative Juhno Ahn, and Sanger Center Tutoring Coordinator Ed Fernandez
Every year, the Sanger Learning Center provides tutoring for students enrolled in challenging lower-division courses. As a junior, Student Body President Horacio Villarreal, a former UGS student, began to struggle in his upper-division courses and noticed a lack of on-campus tutoring options. When Villarreal ran for student body president last spring, one of his campaign platforms addressed this issue.
Like many students, Villarreal had benefited from tutoring in his lower division courses. “During my second semester of freshman year, I got more involved on campus so I didn’t do as well academically,” Villarreal said. “I was taking physics, so I utilized the Sanger Learning Center a lot. I wouldn’t have made the grade I did without it.”
Gathering Evidence and Support
After winning the election, Villarreal and Student Body Vice-President Ugeo Williams gathered statistics from the Office of the Registrar on upper-division courses with high enrollment and poor student outcomes. After sharing their goals with Ed Fernandez, the Sanger Center tutoring coordinator, the center agreed to pilot a program to provide tutoring for four upper-division courses in fall 2013, including two biology courses, a finance course, and an economics course.
“We weren’t exactly sure if the Sanger Center would take this leap of faith with us, but they did. At the end of the semester we saw solid numbers of students using the service,” said Villarreal.
Student feedback has been positive, and the Sanger Center will continue to provide tutoring for the newly added courses in future semesters. Fernandez anticipates that student participation in these courses will continue to increase.
A Token of Appreciation
To thank the Sanger Learning Center for their support of the initiative, Villarreal and Junho Ahn, a student government representative and tutor, co-authored resolution AR 32, “In Recognition of the Sanger Learning Center at The University of Texas at Austin” which student government unanimously passed at its March assembly meeting.
“Our resolution was really a token of our appreciation for Sanger working with us. We know times are tough everywhere on campus and that it’s more difficult for places on campus to say, ‘We’ll give this a try.’ The fact that Sanger trusted our read on campus was really great,” Villarreal said.
Fernandez had equal praise for Villarreal and Ahn’s contributions to the Sanger Center. “Both Horacio and Junho are enthusiastically committed to seeing UT students succeed, not only in their coursework but also in their lives,” he said. “I believe that these two young men exemplify the very best of Longhorn leadership and spirit.”