LAS opens new math and science learning center

Math and science learning center; LAS

The Math and Science Learning Center is located on the third floor of the Science and Engineering South Building.

Call it a meeting of the minds.

The Mathematical Sciences Learning Center has joined forces with the Science Learning Center to form the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Math and Science Learning Center.

The new 9,000-square-foot space, which is located on the third floor of the Science and Engineering South Building (SES) at 845 W. Taylor St., is open to all UIC students enrolled in undergraduate math and science courses.

With open seating and divided areas for group work, including two conference room spaces, the Math and Science Learning Center offers a wide range of free academic support services, including peer-led study group sessions, teaching assistant office hours and tutoring.

“We are excited about the launch of the new combined Math and Science Learning Center, which represents a significant investment in the academic success of UIC students who are enrolled in math or science courses,” said Astrida Orle Tantillo, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Peer tutoring and student collaborative learning is at the foundation of the center’s academic support services and the new space is designed to provide all students across campus a place to interact with faculty, teaching assistants, and their fellow classmates in an inclusive and welcoming environment.”

In addition to hosting office hours for some faculty across various disciplines, the center features a dedicated staff, including subject area coordinators and student ambassadors, to collectively help students.

Math and science support services include general tutoring, group study sessions coordinated by undergraduate peer-leaders, and weekly office hours hosted by teaching assistants focusing on material from specific courses.

Most of the walls in the facility are covered in IdeaPaint, so they can be used as dry-erase boards. Other amenities include 12 desktop computer stations for student use, a printing station and WiFi.

The previous centers combined to serve more than 4,000 students, which totaled over 17,000 visits, during the 2017-18 academic year.

“The collaboration in both teaching and learning that may occur in this new, engaging setting offers the potential for developing new and innovative ways to facilitate student success across all disciplines,” said Danielle Liubicich, director of the center.

Liubicich recently joined UIC from Olive-Harvey College, where she was dean of the STEM Center for Teaching and Learning. She hopes to serve more students as a result of plans for enhanced campus outreach.

“We plan to increase our efforts to engage students in most need of academic support by maintaining open communication with advising and utilizing early alert indicators,” she said. “We will also increase outreach to math and science faculty to help promote use of the center, to share information with students in their various courses, facilitate collaboration across disciplines, and collectively develop new mechanisms to support students in this new space.”

Helping students reach their academic potential is at core the center’s mission, not unlike the former centers, where more than half the students who sought academic support at the Mathematical Sciences Learning Center earned an A or B in their 100-level math courses. First-year students getting help at the Science Learning Center for 100-level chemistry courses received a C or better 84 percent of the time.

“We look forward to building upon the great foundation established by the previous learning centers and provide incredibly valuable academic support services to as many UIC students as possible,” Liubicich said.

The entire campus community is welcome to explore the center and its resources during designated Open House hours from 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 5, as well as any time during regular business hours.

No appointments are necessary for students to visit the Math and Science Learning Center, which is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

Special kick-off activities for students are being planned for this month.