Learning Assistance Center

Contact LAC faculty, staff, and tutors at lac@sfsu.edu
or 338-1993.





The Faculty Coordinators

LAC coordinators are SF State faculty with years of experience teaching reading, writing, grammar, math, and the sciences. They provide guidance and support for LAC tutors, and work closely with LAC students as teachers and mentors.


Deborah vanDommelen, Director

As director of the LAC since 1996, Deborah is responsible for carrying out its core mission: to provide student-centered, skills-focused tutoring for SF State students. She manages everything from budget, hiring and tutor education to program assessment and consultation with SF State faculty. She has developed innovative programs, such as the LAC Writing Workshops and AU 697/796, a three-unit tutoring course for all new LAC tutors. In addition, Deborah finds time to teach and work with tutors and students both individually and in groups. Working closely with Morris Head and the student staff at Campus Academic Resource Program (CARP), Mary Soliday, Director of the University Writing Program, as well as the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Deborah collaborates on university-wide projects that address retention, literacy, and academic support.

For many years, Deborah has served as a member of SF State’s Committee on Written English Proficiency (CWEP), a university-wide committee responsible for recommending and implementing policy on SF State’s Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines (WAC/WID) Programs. Additionally, she has served on several university-wide task force groups, including the Writing Task Force (2005) and the WAC/WID/GWAR Task Force (2011). Deborah has frequently presented at the international and California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL and CATESOL) Conferences, and at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). She has also collaborated on several textbooks, including Read, Write, Edit: Grammar for College Writers, a grammar-for-writing text for multilingual students and their teachers.

Deborah received her Masters degree in TESOL in 1984 and taught in the SF State Composition for Multilingual Students Program for eighteen years, teaching reading, writing, grammar, and literature. Complementing her professional life, Deborah swims, practices yoga, and enjoys adventures with her four young granddaughters.
HSS 351
Voice mail: 338-1994
E-mail: dvan@sfsu.edu


Peter Ingmire, Math and Sciences Coordinator

As the Center’s Math/Sciences Faculty Tutor Coordinator, Peter hires and works closely with all of the math/science tutors, teaching the AU 697/796 Tutoring Across Disciplines course and supporting returning tutors in bi-weekly meetings. Peter also tracks and analyzes LAC trends in student use and outcomes so that LAC faculty can evaluate the Center’s programs and respond to evolving campus trends.

In 2001, Peter earned his Masters degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from SF State. Since that time he has taught and coordinated a range of biology and science classes for the Biology Department at SF State and is currently a department advisor. Peter is also a member of the American Association of Microbiologists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Aids society. He has been with the Center since 2001.
HSS 351
Voice mail: 338-1994
E-mail: ping@sfsu.edu


Jennifer Swanson (née Peters), Assessment/Placement Coordinator (on-leave Spring 2013)

As the Center’s faculty coordinator, Jennifer assesses the needs of incoming LAC students, finding appropriate resources for them and offering academic support. She also organizes and teaches our Writing Workshops for first-year students in developmental English classes and mentors the graduate student instructors who teach the workshops through weekly seminars and observations. Aside from her work with LAC students and tutors, Jennifer offers support for writing courses across the disciplines in the form of faculty consultations, in-class workshops and student tutoring.

Jennifer received her Masters degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from SF State in the Spring of 2006. She has been working full time at the Center since 2005 and has been teaching English for SF State’s Summer Bridge Program for the past. She is on leave for the Spring 2013 term.
HSS 351
Voice mail: 338-1994
E-mail: jmpeters@sfsu.edu

Jennifer will return to the LAC in the Fall 2013


Karen Wiederholt, Staff Development Coordinator

In addition to supervising daily operations at the LAC and working closely with other LAC faculty to assess students’ needs, Karen is especially focused on her work with LAC tutors: teaching AU 697/796, Tutoring Across Disciplines, the smaller Writing Workshop seminars and bi-weekly meetings. She is always seeking new ways to encourage tutors to grow professionally, including becoming more student-centered and more skilled at teaching and tutoring strategies. She has introduced class blogs and videotaping as tools for tutors both to build community and reflect on their tutoring.

In 1992, Karen earned her Masters degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from SF State, where for many years she taught academic speaking, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills to students at all levels. Most recently, Karen completed her MFA at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she is not coming up with new and creative ideas for the Center, she is spending time with her family or working on her writing. Karen has been with the Center since 1991.
HSS 351
Voice mail: 338-1994
E-mail: kwied@sfsu.edu


Debbie Miller, Writing Coordinator

In 1995 Debbie received her Masters degree in Literature as well as a Certificate in Teaching Composition from SF State. Since that time, she has taught classes for the College of Education’s Step to College Program the College of Ethnic Studies, and EOP’s Summer Bridge program. She currently teaches composition for SF State’s English department where she has taught a range of classes since 1998. Debbie joined the LAC in the fall of 2013.
HSS 351
Voice mail: 338-1994
E-mail: debbiem@sfsu.edu



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TESOL 2008


Deborah vanDommelen, Generation 1.5: Making Connections between Speaking and Writing. / .pdf


Deborah vanDommelen, Writing Workshops for Multilingual First-year Students. / .pdf


Deborah vanDommelen, Teaching Stance-taking in Academic Writing. / .pdf


Jennifer Swanson and Karen Wiederholt, Reflective Teacher Education Through University Writing Centers -- Questions and Forms. / .pdf


Jennifer Swanson and Karen Wiederholt, Reflective Teacher Education Through University Writing Centers. / .pdf




Jennifer Swanson, Engaging Grammar Lessons to Give Generation 1.5 Writers a Voice. / .pdf


Jennifer Swanson, Engaging Grammar Lessons - Presentation Slides. / .pdf




Sheila Botein and Jennifer Swanson, Preparing Second Language Writers for Writing in the Disciplines. / .pdf


Sheila Botein and Jennifer Swanson, Handout for Preparing Second Language Writers presentation. / .pdf


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Tutors at the LAC have strong study skills and strong academic backgrounds in a wide range of subjects. Many of them plan to be teachers and are currently enrolled in Master's programs. LAC tutors participate in workshops and an academic course on effective tutoring strategies as part of their ongoing education and support.


LAC tutors attend over twelve hours of tutor education workshops to learn effective approaches for teaching reading, writing, study skills and problem solving strategies as well as developing tutoring techniques to address various learning styles.


All new LAC tutors also participate in a three-unit semester-long course (AU 697/796) that provides a theoretical and practical context for their tutoring and teaching at the LAC. During the course, tutors learn about different theories on teaching and learning and relate them to LAC tutoring experiences. In the process of learning these new theories, tutors also examine and refine their own reading, writing and study skill processes.


Second semester tutors meet biweekly with LAC faculty in small group seminars for ongoing staff development.


Tutor education workshops are developed and facilitated by LAC faculty. Many LAC workshops are open to all tutors on campus. Find out more about the LAC tutor education and how to attend.


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