Mission and Vision

What do we do?

Penn State Learning develops and assesses peer-led, undergraduate learning communities in math, natural sciences, writing, languages, economics and statistics through tutoring, workshops, and guided study groups.

What do we envision?

With the help of Penn State Learning and other advocates for academic excellence, all undergraduates admitted to University Park campus will meet or exceed the skill standards required to succeed as scholars in their chosen programs and will thrive as engaged citizens and peer educators within a global society.  

Strategic Priorities for 2020-2025

  • Reach out to University Park college undergraduate and diversity deans and educational equity program directors to identify actions that will complement college efforts on behalf of minoritized and marginalized students. 

  • Design and secure funding for a peer academic coaching program using universal design for learning (UDL) principles so that the program can support the retention and timely graduation of a broad variety of student populations including students with disabilities, Veteran students, students on need-based scholarships, and students in academic warning.  

  • Work with colleges to identify majors and demographic groups that are underperforming and underutilizing available services. Come up with a plan to reach and serve more of them.  

  • Provide direct support to campus learning center staff adopting Starfish for student access to tutor resources and for data entry and analysis.  

  • Confirm that faculty and advisers are accessing student tutoring data to promote student success and improve retention and graduation rates. 

  • Provide tutor and staff development based on successful interventions to lower stereotype threat, affirm students’ values, reduce imposter syndrome, simultaneously acknowledge high expectations while conveying confidence that students will meet those expectations, and promote a growth mindset with respect to learning new or unfamiliar subjects 

  • Increase collaboration between University Park and other campus learning centers through shared resource and program development, biweekly meetings of staff, and semi-annual retreats involving staff and peer tutors. 

  • Make useful, just-in-time academic resources (including videos) more accessible to undergraduates and faculty/staff via the Penn State Learning “Resources” website and a Canvas Pride.

Ongoing Goals for Diversity and Sustainability:

  • Hire students from groups that are underrepresented in their majors and/or in our programs.
  • Work with Educational Equity and ESL programs to identify talented students who are interested in tutoring for us.
  • Promote our student job opportunities with the federal Work-Study program so that we can hire more first generation college students as tutors and receptionists.
  • Make private break space for student employees who have obligations related to religious observances.
  • Mentor minority staff and students, serve on equity commissions, advise minority and sustainability-oriented student organizations, and seek development opportunities related to diversity and sustainability.
  • Participate in voluntary composting, making minimal use of artificial lighting, maximizing passive solar warming in cold weather and sun-blocking window treatments in the summer.
  • Identify staff to serve on local green teams within facilities we occupy.
  • Prepare tutors to support diversity and sustainability courses, especially to the extent that these courses are part of the general education curriculum.