Monday, March 28, 2016

A champion for academic success

Center for Academic Success full-time staff
Si-Liang "Francis" Chang, Byron Betsui,
Noele White and Lisa Ishikuro
Lisa Ishikuro, director of Tutoring and Testing Services, Center for Academic Success (CAS), learned of Hawai‘i Pacific University, doing Internet research on universities in Hawai‘i. She and her husband were living in Colorado, and a friend, who had attended college in Hawai‘i, spoke about the multicultural setting of Hawai‘i.

Ishikuro, who has taught English to speakers of other languages in Japan and at U.S. universities, was immediately drawn to HPU. “I loved the mix of international, mainland and local (students),” she said.

In 2004, Ishikuro was hired as an academic advisor at HPU. Her husband (Koichi Ishikuro, BA ’09) was attracted to HPU, too, and decided to study at the university.

Over the years at HPU, Ishikuro has held advising positions, including coordinator of first-year advising, assistant director of Academic Advising, and a number of student academic success program roles. Since 2010, she has been in charge of tutoring and testing services.

Ishikuro pointed out that university leadership intentionally renamed the Center to emphasize the focus on academic success. It was previously the Tutoring and Testing Center.  

Some people have a negative connotation of tutoring and they immediately equate it with remediation,” she said. “Tutoring benefits not only a student who is struggling. It benefits a good student as well.”

Ishikuro shared the example of a student accepted into the Honors program, who was exceptional in math and science but writing was a challenge for her. Through the student’s first semester in the program, she would have a tutor look at every paper she wrote.

It was amazing after just one semester she had so much more confidence in her writing,” she said. “It was exciting to watch that with a little bit of extra support she could do it.”    

The Center provides peer-to-peer tutoring services, employing approximately 35 student tutors in writing, math, science, business and languages. The applicants go through a thorough screening process including at least two interviews. They must also be recommended by at least one professor.

That way we get some feedback from a professor who has typically worked with the student in at least a couple of classes and has a sense of how (the student) interacts with classmates,” Ishikuro said. 

The hired students go through a tutor training program of approximately 15 to 20 hours, which is designed to align with the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA). Through the CRLA, tutor certification is offered.

HPU offers tutoring services at no charge to its students at the Hawaii Loa campus and downtown in the Lower Bishop (1060) building.  On weekends, tutoring is now being offered in the Learning Commons at Aloha Tower Marketplace. The sessions are 30 minutes, and if no one is waiting, the tutor may extend to another 30-minute session. 

Lisa Ishikuro and student sign-in assistant Mariah Castro at
CAS Aloha Tower Marketplace Learning Commons
Ishikuro and her staff “strive to have a very welcoming, friendly, supportive, respectful environment,” encouraging students to utilize the tutoring services.  

In addition to the satisfaction of helping students with tutoring, Ishikuro finds it rewarding to work with student employees.

“For many of our student workers it might be their first job. I see (the Center for Academic Success) as a place for them to learn and practice professional skills,” she said.

It is also exciting for Ishikuro to see students benefit from the university’s “international learning community,” which is originally what drew her to HPU. 

“More and more the workforce will be requiring us to communicate and interact and to work with teams of people from all over (the world). (HPU students) are getting a jump start on that.”     

For more information on tutoring services for HPU students at Downtown CAS, Aloha Tower CAS and Hawaii Loa CAS, click here.
Additionally, CAS provides testing services for HPU students and the general public.  
·         Proctored testing for HPU students who are eligible for ADA accommodations
·         Placement testing for HPU students and non-HPU students
·         TEAS pre-nursing exam; National League for Nurses exams
·         CLEP and DSST exams for credit
·         ACT testing

To see the latest updates from CAS, like them at:

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