Welcome to the Centers for Learning Excellence at South Texas College. All tutoring, supplemental instruction, and academic skills instruction is provided free of charge to any STC student. Faculty and staff members can visit our Faculty/Staff Collaboration Requests page for more information to request for personalized support or information for their department or classes.

About Us Credentials History

The Centers for Learning Excellence is all about student success. By visiting the CLE at your campus you may find resources like:

  • Tutoring: on-site or online, individually or in a group
  • Academic Coaching: build study and time management skills; set and track goals to be successful in your course and program
  • TSI Preparation: workshops and individualized support on-site or online
  • Supplemental Instruction: facilitated group study sessions connected to a specific class
  • Embedded tutoring: access to a tutor right in the class or course shell
  • Student Success Workshops: self-paced online workshops or scheduled onsite events
  • Independent Study: tracked study time and access to study rooms in the CLE

CRLA Certification

Tutors, Supplemental Instruction Leaders, and staff are trained using criteria from the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA). CRLA's tutor training program certification process sets an internationally accepted standard of skills and training for tutors. Once granted CRLA certification, the tutor training programs each have the authority to recognize their tutors as having met the approved International Tutor Training Program Certification (ITTPC) tutor training program requirements. South Texas College certifies tutors at Level I (Regular), Level II (Advanced), and Level 3 (Master).

ACTLA Certification

CLE's online tutoring services are credentialed through the Association of Colleges for Tutoring and Learning Assistance (ACTLA). The ACTLA Online Tutoring Program Certification is awarded to college and university online tutoring programs that meet or exceed rigorous professional standards for tutoring methodology, technological innovation, software and hardware matters, and institutional and programmatic considerations.

Professional Development

The Center for Learning Excellence provides tutors with a wide variety of opportunities for specialized professional learning in subject-matter content and career development. Trainings are delivered through a series of collaborative workshops and are created to meet the needs of our staff and student population. Tutors are required to demonstrate mastery of various tutoring skills and knowledge, in order to move to the next level of certification through the internationally recognized tutor training program. Through these professional learning opportunities, tutors cultivate effective learning strategies to assist students in achieving their goals and success.

How the CLE Began

South Texas College is a relatively new community college that begin in September 1994. Led by the Division of Developmental Studies, a committee met to designate a department where students could receive tutoring and other academic assistance. The first two tutoring centers were located at the Pecan campus and the Downtown campus.

In 1997, with a growing institution, tutoring centers were established at the Mid-Valley, Starr County, and Technology campuses, with the center being renamed as the Centers for Learning Excellence.

How the CLE Thrived

With the generosity and support of Sylvia Esterline (see below) and her family, the CLE moved from surviving to thriving. STC was named the prime beneficiary of her estate, when she left $1.9 million to the college. The Sylvia Esterline Student Success Center at the Pecan Campus was dedicated on Wednesday, September 20, 2006.

Though the CLE is present at the five main campuses, her gift has created a 20,000 square foot facility, known as The Sylvia Esterline Student Success Center, that provides students with tutoring, study rooms, and computer access and support. Sylvia Esterline’s gift has added to educational attainment throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

Sylvia Esterline

Sylvia EsterlineIn the early 1920's, five-year-old Sylvia Esterline, an immigrant from Russia, came to America with her family to start a new life on the East Coast in Boston, Massachusetts. As was the case with many immigrants during this time, the family was poor and came to America to seek a better life. Esterline, one of six children, worked for many years in a Boston mattress factory to help provide basic necessities for the family.

It was her marriage to Herman Esterline, an Indiana native, which eventually brought her to the Rio Grande Valley. He worked for more than 30 years as a mechanic for Texaco before working at Calvin Bentsen's Ridgegate Ranch, a job he held for nine years prior to retiring. During their marriage, the Esterlines led a simple life, saving money whenever possible. When her husband passed away, Sylvia became a student of the stock market and kept on top of her investments, executing sound decisions that grew their shared nest egg.

Esterline, who died in 2003, named South Texas College as the prime beneficiary of her estate, leaving STC $1.9 million. Due to her generosity, the College was able to open the Sylvia Esterline Student Success Center on the Pecan Campus in McAllen. South Texas College commemorated the generosity of Sylvia Esterline at the dedication of the College's state-of-the-art Sylvia Esterline Student Success Center on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006. The Center is a 20,000 square foot facility dedicated to offering students a variety of academic support services including tutoring, computer-assisted instructional labs, and open computer access. The College celebrated the building dedication with the unveiling of a portrait of Esterline, which is on display at the Center.

CLE Online with Upswing

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many CLE services are now available online. Prior to the pandemic shutdowns the CLE had already begun testing the ability to conduct services online. As the pandemic shutdowns made coming to campus impossible, the centers were able to transition to 100% online through using a combination of Zoom video conferencing, Blackboard collaborate, and Microsoft Teams in a matter of only four days.

As we continued to explore expanding and developing our online resources, the CLE partnered with the online tutoring platform Upswing to make access to tutoring resources even easier. Students can now search for, schedule, and conduct tutoring appointments from anywhere around the globe. The Centers for Learning Excellence is proud to continue showing our dedication to being accessible to students and supporting the South Texas College community.

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