May 31, 2015

Academic support for athletes must be better monitored

By Daily Orange Editorial Board, The Daily Orange

Syracuse University needs to better scrutinize its academic support services. The services currently in place, while sufficient, leave room for misconduct in their lack of oversight.

Prior to last week’s NCAA sanctions, the university overhauled the academic support services for student athletes. In 2013, Tommy Powell was hired as assistant provost for student-athlete development, which reports to the provost’s office and is not a part of athletics. Powell oversees all the academic and tutoring services provided to student athletes.

Since this overhaul the number of tutors has doubled to 120, who conduct 800 weekly tutoring sessions with more than 500 student-athletes. But only one tutorial-overseer has been hired. It is impractical to think that this is adequate oversight, especially considering the magnitude of violations recently exposed by the NCAA.

In addition to hiring more managerial positions to monitor the tutors, the university should take special interest in who is selected to tutor star-athletes. Campus tutoring centers hire undergraduate and graduate students who have received a B-plus or higher in the course they tutor and have a minimum 3.0 overall GPA.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College

May 15, 2015

Tutoring Marketplace Studypool Snags $1.2 Million

by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Studypool, a 500 Startups-backed startup offering an online marketplace that connects students with tutors on a per question basis, has just closed on $1.2 million in seed funding, after growing its site to include some 22,000 tutors and nearly double that in terms of student users. The new round, which makes co-founder Richard Werbe the youngest founder ever to raise over a million at 500 Startups, was led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Others participating in the round include 500 Startups, Fabrice Grinda (FJ Labs), Great Oaks Venture Capital and several Silicon Valley angel investors.

In less than a year’s time, Studypool has seen 150,000 questions posted on its site plus another 50,000 pieces of other study-related content. The company is now closing in on a $1 million run rate, we’re told.

The concept for the service was initially dreamed up by two longtime friends, Studypool CEO Richard Werbe and co-founder and CTO Jiaming Zhong. The two had been building startups together since their teens, and Werbe even sold a company he created called Stockniche while still in high school. They began working on Studypool in spring of 2014, while sophomores in college – hacking on the site from their dorm rooms, and skipping weeks of classes to get it off the ground.

Within just a month of the site going live, Studypool already had thousands of users, which prompted the founders to drop out of college and move to California in order to focus on growing the company further.

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Filed under: Technology


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