Our members are our greatest asset at ACTP and we love to highlighting the work that they do and the resources they are proud of on a weekly basis. On ACTP Thursdays, we put the spotlight on a member of the week, a resource of the week, or a best practice of the week. We’re a community of learning. We work best when we share our passions and practices.
Today, we bring you the work of Monica Cocca — a dedicated, long-time ACTP Member who has previously presented at ACTP’s annual conference! Monica is the Tutorial Coordinator at Muhlenberg College. Here’s Monica!
ACTP: What drove you to the field of academic support and coaching?
Monica: It was by accident. I started in the department 30 years ago as the administrative assistant to the director. Muhlenberg was just starting their tutoring department. The director and I worked together and it was a phenomenal experience. She started going to the conferences, showed me the ropes, and then left in 1994. When she left, I became the coordinator.
ACTP: What do you love the most about your job?
Monica: The students. The longer I stay here and the older I get, the more I realize that when you work with students, you have to maintain your youthful energy. You can’t let yourself get behind the students. Education changes quickly – we’ve been through so many changes like learning styles, technology, etc. You have to keep up. I employ over 300 peer tutors. I interview every single student who is nominated to be a peer tutor. I train each peer tutor and I take our lead tutors to conferences and workshops. It’s fun and I have to keep it engaging, loud, and playful.
ACTP: What’s a big challenge that you are facing at your center?
Monica: Right now, because of the tremendous demand that we faced this past fall, the number of tutor slots that I have to fill for tutoring, workshops, and learning assistants is a challenge. It’s drawing on my budget. This spring, I’m thinking about how we going to meet the demand. I’m hoping for some magic to make it all balance because I do not deny students any help.
ACTP: What’s one piece of advice you would give to your colleagues?
Monica: Be open to change because one of the things that I have found during my tenure is that, every year, the caliber of students change. Students may need to more help – they get assistance from middle school onward and may expect accommodations throughout their educational careers.
Also, we have may have more students on the disabilities spectrum. We may have to equip our tutors through training them on how to work with students with disabilities. The training has to be in the “here and now” – the content has to be up to date with the research.
ACTP: What’s a fun fact (not related to coaching/tutoring) that we should know about you?
Monica: Many years ago, I was a coach. I have 3 sons and I coached little league baseball. I managed, over the course of 10 years, to not get hit by a baseball.