Who would use CLC?

STUDENTS: The CLC also supports students with Workshops on such topics as Time Management, the Effective Use of Texts, and Getting Ready for Finals.

UNITS: While priority is given to courses with high DFW (drop, fail, withdraw) rates, all units employing tutors, supplemental instruction leaders, undergraduate learning assistants, academic coaches, or any other peer educators should request assistance from the Collaborative Learning Center. If you are a unit thinking of beginning a Peer Learning Assistant Program of any sort, the CLC will help you build it. Whether you need information on hiring, interviewing, selecting courses to support, or training, we assist you with the entire process. To inquire about this service or to request assistance, contact the CLC at 517.355.2363 or email at clc@msu.edu. So the CLC isn’t merely MSU’s “study smarter” people, we’re now the “teach smarter” people.


The goal is simple: improve student learning by providing more—and better—support to students through peer educators. The peer educators are trained to more comprehensively support students, to work with students both in and out of classrooms, to interact with faculty, and to provide various supplemental instruction methodologies to discover more effective ways to scale support to MSU students.

Noncognitive Assessments

What Are the Eight Noncognitive Variables Assessed? (Definitions are taken directly from Measuring Noncognitive Variables by William Sedlacek)

  1. Positive self-concept
    The student demonstrates confidence, strength of character, determination, and independence.
  2. Realistic self-appraisal
    The student recognizes and accepts any strengths and deficiencies, especially academic, and works hard at self-development. The student recognizes the need to broaden his or her individuality.
  3. Understands and knows how to navigate the system and racism
    The student exhibits a realistic view of the system based on his or her personal experiences, is committed to improving the existing system, and takes an assertive approach to dealing with existing wrongs but is not hostile to society or a “cop-out.” The student is able to handle the system and any “isms” he or she might experience.
  4. Prefers long-range goals to short-term or immediate needs
    The student is able to respond to deferred gratification, plan ahead, and set goals.
  5. Availability of a strong support person
    The student seeks and takes advantage of a strong support network or has someone to turn to in a crisis or for encouragement.
  6. Successful leadership experience
    The student demonstrates strong leadership in any area of his or her background (e.g., church, sports, non-educational groups, gangs).
  7. Demonstrated community service
    The student participates in and is involved with his or her community.
  8. Knowledge acquired in or about a field (nontraditional learning)
    The student acquires knowledge in sustained and/or culturally related ways in any field.


CLC Staff

Sam Drake, Center Director and Specialist

Sam received his B.S. (Mathematics) from Cleveland State University, his M.S. (Applied Mathematics) and Ph.D (Measurement and Quantitative Methods) from MSU. Sam has taught mathematics and statistics for over 20 years in a variety of settings and levels. Sam also served as the Tutoring Program Coordinator of the Learning Resources Center for about 15 years.

Jessica DeForest, Specialist

Jessica received her B.A. and M.A. from MSU. With undergraduate training in interdisciplinary humanities and graduate work past her M.A. in history, she is uniquely qualified in a wide range of subjects. Jessica has taught for more than 11 years in a variety of settings, including a Service-Learning class in the WRAC Department, and was the LRC liaison to the College of Nursing.


Samantha Spitak, Specialist

Samantha received her B.S. (Biological Sciences) and her M.A. (Student Affairs in Higher Education) from Wright State University. While there, she was both a writing coach and a Graduate Assistant in the Writing Center. Her thesis focused on non-cognitive factors influencing student success.


 Sara Morales, Specialist

Sara received her B.A. (History and AnthroArchaeology) from the University of Michigan and her M.A. (Higher Education and Student Affairs) from Western Michigan University. Sara previously worked in Residence Education where she focused on developing students and staff through the creation and implementation of training and residential curriculum as well as intentional supervision.