Today for Staff Spotlight we’re sitting down with Elizabeth Kenney, our Learning Center Coordinator, to learn about her position and about Learning Support Services.
Schoolcraft College: Hello, Elizabeth! You started at Schoolcraft College in August of 2020 as Academic Success Coach for Writing, then moved into your present role this past February. Please tell us a little about your background and what led you to Schoolcraft College.
Elizabeth Kenney: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you more about why love what I do here at Schoolcraft as the Learning Center Coordinator. As you mentioned, I began at Schoolcraft as the Academic Success Coach for Writing last fall semester and transitioned to my current role in February of this year. I grew up in Livonia and so it is a joy to be back in Schoolcraft community, particularly as a member of our Learning Support Services team.
I am a proud graduate of Mercy High School (Farmington Hills), Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, Indiana), where I earned my Bachelor of Arts in English Writing, and Georgia State University (Atlanta), where I earned my Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics. I am grateful to each of these institutions and communities that shaped, inspired and prepared me for my current role.
My passion for tutoring first began during undergrad at Saint Mary’s College, where I worked as Writing Tutor in the College’s Writing Center. I instantly fell in love with this role. As the tutor, I was learning right alongside the student; together, we sharpened each other’s skills and knowledge. I learned first-hand how powerful one-on-one, individualized academic support can be. I saw positive transformations not only in my peers I tutored, but also for myself as a student.
Little did I know this experience would inspire my future career path. After working in corporate marketing for a few years post-college, I set out to earn my Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics at Georgia State University. Here I had the opportunity to further develop my knowledge of language, tutor ESL students, and work as a graduate research assistant.
Beyond the realm of education, I have previously worked in marketing, customer service and administrative positions. All of these were valuable experiences. Along the way, I have encountered many talented and kind people who have made me a better professional and person.
I try to encourage students to be open and follow the path that excites them. If this path takes you somewhere that you may not have expected, look around and see what you can learn. You may actually have bumped into exactly where you want to be and unlocked a passion you had not yet discovered. And if not, you can always make a change by working hard and being creative.
Schoolcraft College: Please tell us about what you do as Learning Center Coordinator.
Elizabeth Kenney: In my role I have the pleasure of overseeing the Learning Center, located in the Bradner Library. In the Learning Center, we provide peer-to-peer tutoring for a wide variety of academic areas and courses, both in-person and remotely.
I hire, train and manage our fantastic team. I really enjoy working with our team of student tutors and service desk team members. I am grateful to work with Christine Connell, who is our Learning Center Assistant.
Through the collective and dedicated work of our Learning Center Team, we are able to provide one-on-one, individualized academic support that sets students up for success and encourages them on their path. Witnessing and playing a role in these encounters makes my job extremely rewarding.
Schoolcraft College: Learning Support Services (LSS) is a great resource for our students. Please tell us about LSS. Can any student take advantage? What do we need to know?
Elizabeth Kenney: Yes! LSS has many excellent resources for students. Our resources are available to all Schoolcraft students. We have three primary programs within LSS:
- The first is peer-to-peer tutoring in the Learning Center. As I mentioned, we offer both in-person and online tutoring for course-specific content support.
- Second, we have Academic Success Coaches (ASCs), who each specialize in particular areas of academic support, including for Math, Writing, College Reading, Study Skills, International Learning Support, and TEAS Prep. Our ASCs are available to meet with students one-on-one and additionally host various events and workshops related to their areas of expertise throughout each semester.
- Third, LSS provides a variety of opportunities for peer mentorship. We have peer mentorship programs for Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) in which student leaders facilitate structured study sessions for select course sections, STARS DEI in which student leaders engage in discussions and activities related to diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice, and TEAS Prep in which students pursuing the nursing field and preparing for the TEAS Test can participate in our test prep program.
If students, staff, or community members, ever have questions about any LSS services or would like to get involved with any of the programming that we offer, our team is always happy to point you in the right direction and connect you with the particular resource you are looking for. Contact us at 734-462-7330 or [email protected].
Schoolcraft College: What are the main concerns or challenges students have and how do you help them feel more at ease and find their way forward?
Elizabeth Kenney: Pursuing higher education courses and programs is no small endeavor. And to that end, each student’s journey and needs are different. Students come to us in LSS for an array of reasons and with a variety of questions. Whenever I meet with a student, I try my best to get to know who the student is and what needs the student is looking for or may find useful in some way to support their academic journey.
Students come to us in the LC for questions related to the academic content of their classes, assistance with online learning platforms, study strategy support, and about student life in general. Whenever we do not have the answer or the resource within the LC, we point the student in the right direction. I often explain to new employees on our team that about 80% of our role is content-specific support and the other 20% of our role is connecting students to applicable resources.
My goal for every student who walks through the doors of the Learning Center is increased motivation. We may not be able to help a student with every single question or concern in just one visit to the LC, but we can at least help them find the answer to the next piece of the puzzle which will help propel them forward. Our goal is to help students become independent learners, motivated to pursue whatever goals they have set out to achieve.
Schoolcraft College: You’re not too removed from your days as a student. Does that help in your position?
Elizabeth Kenney: You’re right, I am not far removed at all. In fact, I am a current student, earning my doctoral degree in Rhetoric at Texas Woman’s University.
Being a student definitely makes me better in my role as the Learning Center Coordinator, and vice versa. I have the opportunity to practice what I preach on a daily basis. Since I relate to the realities of student life, I think this enhances my ability to relate to students who come to the Learning Center.
Schoolcraft College: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Elizabeth Kenney: To students, do not be afraid to ask for help and advocate for yourself. Your goals are worth it. Be creative, bold, and determined in pursuing your ambitions.