Tutoring shortage on campus

Tutoring shortage on campus

The Franzen Center struggles to find enough tutors to fill tutor requests

By Kara Vande Brink


Ripon College supports students each year through tutoring, but this year it has been a challenge to find enough tutors to fill all tutor requests. As such, staff at the Franzen Center for Academic Success, located on the main floor of Lane Library, are in search of tutors to fill students’ needs.


Brenda Gabrielson, director of the Franzen Center, is searching for tutors in STEM-based academic disciplines, such as chemistry and exercise science. 


“Those are the courses we have the highest tutor requests for,” she said. “For example, for chemistry, I don’t know the exact number but the last time I counted we had like 23 [or] 24 tutor requests. We only have like four or five tutors for that course so we really need more tutors.”


Katie Gramit, student manager at the Franzen Center, agreed.


“There are a lot of people going into those fields, so there is a very large amount of people in those classes. And a lot of those classes are challenging, so people want the extra support to get a tutor. And we just don’t have as many as those STEM-based tutors that we used to, so we need more help in order to serve more people,” she said.


Neither Gabrielson and Gramit know why this shortage exists. 


“In fall of 2019, I had around 70 tutors. This semester… it’s fluid because I get students that will apply, but probably between 50-55 tutors, so it’s quite a bit of a drop. I’m not really sure why. I know that students have a lot of other activities … They just are not wanting to add another thing to their plate. That’s my guess,” Gabrielson said.


“There’s definitely fewer tutors this year than there have been previously …,” Gramit said, adding, “I think Covid might have had an impact on it in. Prior to Covid, tutoring was done a certain way and we’re trying to get back to that. But that year and a half where tutoring just wasn’t done that way, and there’s people that don’t understand that this is how tutoring is supposed to be compared to Zoom meetings and other such methods. So I think that it’s just a disconnect between what people think tutoring is/should be, and what is actually happening.”


Skylar Kotlarz, an anatomy tutor for the Franzen Center, said that she has gotten more tutor requests than she can fill at this time. 


When asking her if she feels overwhelmed due to the shortage, Kotlarz said, “It’s a mixture of everything.”


Tutors, such as Kotlarz, have other demands beyond being a tutor this semester, so they are not available to help every student that sends them a tutor request. It is challenging to pinpoint exactly what effect the shortage of tutors is having on current tutors due to the other outside factors affecting them.


As there is a shortage of tutors, the Franzen Center is in need of tutors to continue to provide academic support to students. A tutor application is located on the MyRipon portal under the Franzen Center tab. For more information about tutoring and the resources the Franzen Center has to offer, email Brenda Gabrielson ([email protected]) or Katie Gramit ([email protected]).