Michael P. Weber Learning Skills Center

History

The Michael P. Weber Learning Skills Center (The Center) is an outgrowth of the Duquesne University Counseling and Learning Department for Black Students (CLD) established in 1969. CLD's greatest successes were 1) reducing the attrition rate of African-American students from over 50 percent to less than 1 percent, and 2) developing retention strategies and approaches which serve as the model presently utilized by the Michael P. Weber Learning Skills Center in its current retention efforts.

Due to the success of the Counseling and Learning Department in meeting its major goal of retaining Black students, in 1975 CLD was charged to expand its scope of support to include all Duquesne students and with that expansion came the change in name to "Learning Skills Center." Retention continued to be the focus of the Learning Skills Center.

Through the acquisition of a federal grant in 1990, the Learning Skills Center began to administer the Program for Academic Coaching Through Tutoring (PACT), a community collaborative program designed to serve children and adolescents from several city public schools in the Hill District. PACT initially began as an in-school partnership with Duquesne student tutors working within classrooms helping students. Students were also brought to campus on Saturdays during the semester for tutoring and help with homework. These outreach services continue. With the assistance of the University's work study program, PACT reaches many more students.

The Center's community partnership programs have expanded to include the Summer Institute, a summer enrichment program for high school students, and the Jerome Bettis Computer Literacy Camp, a program dedicated to increasing inner-city middle school students' knowledge and ownership of computers.

Philosophy

The philosophy of the Michael P. Weber Learning Skills Center is that, through appropriate intervention, students develop into independent, life-long learners. This intervention is individualized and personalized and may be affective, academic, or a combination of both. Therefore, the Michael P. Weber Learning Skills Center offers a wide range of comprehensive services to the Duquesne University community and the community at large.

Mission

The mission of the Michael P. Weber Learning Skills Center is to maximize each student's learning potential to produce life-long learners with a sense of self-worth and social responsibility by providing a supportive learning environment that recognizes the uniqueness of each individual. Our mission is "helping students to succeed."

Goals

The Center serves students and faculty by providing a broad range of programs and learning skills services including those in the areas of skills assessment, learning strategies and techniques, tutoring, academic advisement, counseling and training of learning services personnel. The Center also serves the community at large via initiatives to link the University community with its Pittsburgh neighbors, providing them learning opportunities, exposure to campus facilities, and interaction with scholars and professionals from various fields.

Retention Programs and Services

The Center has designed, developed, and administers several retention programs that help to retain students, ultimately leading to their graduation. Specifically, some of the major programs include the University Success Courses, the Outreach Opportunity Program for Marginally Performing Students (OOPS), Act 101, and Tutoring.