Dallas Rauker Tutoring Center celebrates anniversary

Contact: Amy Coughenour

Fred and Renae Rauker pictured outside the Dallas Rauker Tutoring Center with tutors and Dr. Bret Wagner

KALAMAZOO, Mich.— The Dallas Rauker Tutoring Center, located in Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business, celebrated its sixth anniversary this past September. Named in memory of Dallas Rauker, a senior supply chain management student who passed away in 2015 during a mountain hiking accident while studying abroad, the tutoring center was created to not only honor his legacy as a student, but to provide a place for students to teach and learn from each other.

With a focus on student success, the Rauker Tutoring Center is a mentoring agency for students to ask for help in specific subjects.

“Initially, the center focused on tutoring students in analytics, quality management and computer programming,” says Dr. Bret Wagner, associate professor of marketing and tutoring center director, as well as Rauker’s faculty advisor. “With the revision of BUS 1750 – Applying Business Fundamentals in 2021, most of the students using the tutoring center are focusing on that course.”  

Since 2017, the Rauker Tutoring Center has grown to accommodate large number of students who are divided among the 13 tutors.

“Thousands of students have been tutored since the center opened,” says Wagner. “For the Applying Business Fundamentals course alone, we have around 1,200 students taking the course each year, and approximately 20 to 30% take advantage of the center.”

After the initial revision of that course, student performance has been better than before and with more challenging content. This student success is not only due to the commitment of Wagner, but of the student tutors, who are working to make the course much more manageable.

Brandon Mitchell, tutor, Dallas Rauker Tutoring Center

Brandon Mitchell, a senior majoring in food marketing, reflects on his experience in his position as a tutor over the past two years. “Working as a tutor has impacted me in many ways, but the most important has been the improvement of my communication skills,” Mitchell says. “As a tutor, you must learn how to communicate differently for each student because everyone learns differently.”

His coworker Lily Hume, a senior studying aviation flight science, shares similar sentiments, having been with the tutoring center since fall of 2021. She says, “This opportunity has given me a different perspective on learning. I can see where the professors are coming from with their assignments, and I can relay that to the students. This skill has taught me different ways to look at my personal assignments in other classes to better understand the assigned task.”

Lily Hume, tutor, Dallas Rauker Tutoring Center

The Dallas Rauker Tutoring Center has provided WMU Haworth with a place for students to feel comfortable asking for help, knowing that they are not the only ones investing in their academic future. Wagner says, “The revision of Applying Business Fundamentals has created the opportunity for the center to achieve the vision that we had when it was established. That vision was to have students realize that they can be successful while taking challenging courses.”

On Sept. 26, 2023, Fred and Renae Rauker, Dallas’ parents, came to visit the tutoring center in celebration of its sixth year in operation. They reflected on the impact their son has had on WMU Haworth and how his memory is serving the academic community.

“The Dallas Rauker Tutoring Center is a wonderful tribute to our son. It continues to reflect what Dallas would have loved to be a part of—students learning and teaching each other. We are pleased to see that the tutors have developed wonderful friendships and how much they learn by teaching others. Having Dallas' name on the tutoring center keeps his memory alive and provides a great opportunity for students to grow.”

Learn more about the Dallas Rauker Tutoring Center

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