UI student-athlete tutoring program sees improvements


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University of Iowa officials said they are pleased with the continued growth of the Student Athletic Tutorial Program.

Members of the UI Presidential Committee on Athletics discussed the program during a meeting Thursday night. Athletic Student Services offers free tutoring to all students, and tutors are available in virtually all general-education programs.

One recent improvement includes the areas in which tutors are specialized.

“Today the program, I feel, is much more specialized,” said Susan Walker, one of the coordinators in the tutorial program and an associate director of Athletic Student Services. “We encourage our tutors to sign up for specific course subject area.”

She noted tutors sign up for three subject areas, meaning the program is not as broad is it once was.

“Our focus has to be on institutional Big Ten and NCAA policies when applying to student athletics,” said Mel Sanders, an associate director of Athletic Student Services. “As long as we focus on graduation as the goal, eligibility should take on itself.”

He said eligibility requirements are important, but the program is more concerned with whether the students are going to graduate on time.

Diversity is also an important aspect of the program.

Walker said she prefers minorities make up 25 percent of the tutors available.

She also noted the importance of having 5 percent of all tutors bilingual, especially since the institution consists of students from all over the world.

The program carries 35 to 40 tutors, including retired university professors, retired medical doctors, teacher assistants, retired principals, people who are studying for the MCAT, and graduate students, among others.

Unlike several other Big Ten schools, the UI discourages off-site tutoring. Tutorials are taken place under the presence of the staff, which makes it easier to for officials to monitor the program.

The committee did not discuss at its meeting an “accounting error” in the Athletics Department that the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported Thursday.

The Athletics Department spent $2,000 of NCAA-provided money to “send administrators to wrestling and track events,” according to the Press-Citizen. Rick Klatt, the associate athletics director for external relations, told the Press-Citizen the money has since been returned to the NCAA fund.

When contacted Thursday night, Klatt told The Daily Iowan he could not confirm his quote in the story, and he had no further statement about the reported misuse of the funds.

N. William Hines, the head of the Athletics Committee, was surprised to see the story published on Thursday.

“It didn’t strike me as something to be worried about,” he said. “What [UI officials] were using the money for … there’s a wide discretion for using it. It didn’t seem to me to be raising questions. I think [the reporter] was trying to find something wrong and had a hard time finding it.”

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