Hunt Library gets new layout

The university is moving reference books out of Hunt Library to make room for a tutoring station. (credit: Jennifer Coloma/Operations Manager) The university is moving reference books out of Hunt Library to make room for a tutoring station. (credit: Jennifer Coloma/Operations Manager)

Students looking to study on the first floor of Hunt Library this semester may run into trouble. The area is being renovated to make space for a tutoring station, among other additions.

“I’m very excited,” said Gloriana St. Clair, dean of University Libraries. “These [renovations] are some things that we’ve been wanting to get done for students for quite a long time.”

In addition to the tutoring station, formally known as the Global Communications Center (GCC), St. Clair said that the renovations will include a consultation room, a meeting room, more tables and chairs by the back windows, and an interactive lounge with a flat screen TV.

According to St. Clair, all of the renovations were requested or proposed by the Student Advisory Board, with which Hunt Library staff has been consulting over the past year.

The renovations are being made with next year’s Middle State Accreditation Agency (MSAA) visit in mind. The MSAA is an independent agency that offers accreditation, or credibility, to institutions of higher education.
Outside of the U.S., university accreditation is usually performed by a government organization. In the U.S., it is done by private membership associations. According to St. Clair, the MSAA “peer reviews” universities every five years or sooner depending on how they score and improve.

In its last visit to Carnegie Mellon, St. Clair said the MSAA suggested that the university focus on “student learning outcomes.”

“When we were reviewed by the Middle States Accrediting Agency, they gave us a very positive review, but they did make a suggestion to us that it would be nice if we were able to tackle this problem,” St. Clair said.
The GCC is one of the ways the university hopes to satisfy the MSAA’s suggestion.

Joanna Wolfe, director of the GCC, said the center will start off with 11 tutors — all master’s students — with more tutors to be added later. Tutors are currently undergoing training, to be completed within the next three to four weeks.

Although Hunt Library’s first floor will probably be undergoing renovations for most of the fall, the GCC will begin tutoring students sooner.

“We’re going to be opening in three weeks in a temporary space in FMS,” Wolfe said. “It’s going to be hard to find, but we will have instructions on our website, which is not up yet. So we will be ready in three weeks to accept appointments on a limited basis, but in four weeks we’ll be full-time, full-staff.”

According to Wolfe, students should try to bring to their tutoring appointment a copy of the assignment they need help with, a model essay from that class, or anything they’ve worked out thus far, as all these will help the tutors to best mentor the student.

Students will be able to schedule a tutoring session through the GCC website after it launches.

While the renovations are being made with students in mind, the resulting noise is a slight disturbance to people studying on the first floor.

“It’s a little bit noisy since it’s right there, but very clean,” said Meng Zhang, a master’s student in urban design.

“Of course there is concern about the fact that it’s disruption and there’s noise,” St. Clair said. “I don’t think there are any big concerns about the end result. I think everyone in the library is very happy that we’re able to bring the Global Communications Center in.... What I hear from students is that they want more comfortable spaces and more aesthetic spaces, and I think that in both cases we’ll be able to meet their needs.”