The learning center area made its debut in the Jenkins Education Complex building in 1997 with a Director, Assistant Director, some computers, and tutoring available free for all MacMurray College students. Students utilized the Center for academic help, study space, and computer use. In 2006, a First Year Experience program was introduced as a separate component. The CLE had a Director but no longer an Assistant Director as this position became the Director of the First Year Experience.
In 2008, MacMurray received a donation of monies from Gracia Coultas, a longtime supporter of MacMurray College. It was decided to dedicate the money to improving the learning center environment. A computer lab that was rarely utilized and located in another building was moved just down the hall from the main tutoring room. All new computers and tables were purchased and installed. A classroom just across from the tutoring room was also equipped with new teaching technology. An area adjacent to the classroom also received new comfortable furniture for students to use while between classes or for quiet study. The four areas — the main tutoring room, computer lab, technology classroom, and lounge area — all make up the Center for Learning Excellence.
While the First Year Experience Program was offering new and transfer students assistance in adjusting to college life, it was clear that it could be improved by becoming attached to the CLE. In 2010, the CLE was re-organized. A new National College Learning Center Institute-trained Director and Assistant Director were hired to work together to manage all areas of the Center for Learning Excellence. They drastically increased the CLE's usage and effectiveness, and made relationships with faculty, staff, coaches, and students across the campus to make their approach to student and College success more holistic.
In 2016, President Tierno granted the CLE permission to move from a four-room setup in Jenkins Education Complex to a single comprehensive area on the second floor of the Henry Pfeiffer Library, which was at the time being underutilized. The space was remodeled beautifully to fit the CLE's needs, and in March, the Center moved. The Office of Disability Services also moved to the library in 2016, creating an academic learning commons at the center of the campus. Students can now access research materials and specialists, tutors, several instructors, and any disability services they may need all in the quiet study space of the library.
Today the CLE houses an Assistant Director who acts as a Professional Tutor in several subjects, a Math Specialist, an English Specialist, several trained and faculty-referred peer tutors, study groups, and a Director who coordinates all of the programs of academic support free to all MacMurray College students. The CLE maintains the MACM 108 First Year Seminar program, the MACM 201 Study Skills course, the MacASSIST Program to support our athletes' academic performance, and the FLAG early alert system. The CLE is as active as ever; in the 2016-17 academic year, we had 1,173 tutoring appointments. Of our entire student body, approximately 70% used the CLE space and over 56% used our tutoring services. That is well above the national average, and serves as evidence that our Center is a major hub for student services at MacMurray College.
What's in our future? Lots! We are continuing to work with as many committees, faculty, staff, and students as possible to create a comprehensive and constantly improving learning commons. As one student (Rhea Drake) commented, "The CLE is 100% better than it was before," and we plan on continuing to improve our service to students, the faculty, and staff at MacMurray College!
Last updated: August 2, 2017