Math lab short on help, still open

Professor Jeff Cohen and Lauren Marner go over mathematical strategies in the Mathematics Lab.

Aishling Doherty

Professor Jeff Cohen and Lauren Marner go over mathematical strategies in the Mathematics Lab.

For the past few months, the math lab tutors have been working harder than usual to help students, due to a shortage in staff at one of the most important positions the math department has.

The math lab lost two full-time coordinators in August and has been functioning since then with two faculty members putting in extra time with LMC students to cover those full-time hours that were lost.

One coordinator resigned to take a job at another school and the other is on extended maternity leave. In their absence, newly appointed interim math coordinators Clint Ryan and Seth Lavender are working hard to close the gap.

But help is on the way. LMC is in the middle of a hiring process to fill the vacant math lab coordinator position.

“The math faculty and student tutors all wish we had more tutors, especially statistics tutors, but we do our best to help students,” said Math Department Chair Julie Von Bergen.

Von Bergen said the department wants the best for the LMC students and is working to make sure they receive what they need to help further their education.

“We have two people working above and beyond their duties who work 30 hours. We will have 60 hours total of lab coordinator, and hopefully we will have the 20 hour per week person in the spring for the total 80 hours,” said Von Bergen.

Lavender said that even in the absence of full-time coordinators, the math lab is still helpful to the students who are attending.

“We are trying to serve the students as much as possible, and the kind of help they receive depends on the days they come because it can be fast or slow some days,” said Lavender, acknowledging that while the student tutors who also work in the lab are new to tutoring, they are still helpful to those struggling with math.

The student tutors “are still learning but they’ve come a long way,” he added.

Despite the staffing problems some students say they are still getting the help they need to understand the material given to them in the classroom.

“The tutor was very helpful in explaining problems in different ways for me to understand,” said LMC student Queena Ratliff.