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  • Margot Wilder

Addressing the QSR and TA gap

The QSR Center. | Eric Santomauro-Stenzel '24 for Monitor

As a very much not mathematically inclined first-year who made the ill-advised decision to take Econ 100 in their first semester, I was thrilled at the beginning of the year when I heard there was a place I could go to cry over my problem sets with other struggling students: the Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center.

In theory, the QSR is a great program. Not only can you collectively bond with your study buddies over torturous math homework, but you can also get valuable advice and help from upper-level students who have seen and done it all before. If you're having trouble with your homework or need a space to study for midterms, the QSR is there, complete with a great selection of tea and hot cocoa just to remind you that your mental health matters (even if STEM has you questioning).

In practice, however, the QSR seems to be falling short of its intended goal. For classes like Economics that have required QSR study group sessions, the QSR has merely become the meeting space for these groups, with the actual services the QSR tutors provide only being used occasionally. More generally, though, the problem is that most classes have a TA and, when it comes down to it, QSR tutors simply can’t give the specific and targeted advice a TA can.

Now, one should bear in mind that I can’t speak for those who use the QSR for other subjects. With Economics really being one of the least STEM-y classes you can take, perhaps this subject is just a weak point of the QSR’s program. It is safe to say, though, that regardless of my own experience with the QSR, it may be productive for Hamilton to consider how the roles of the QSR and TAs can work more cohesively together. The QSR is a great and necessary program, but it may be worth finding a way to bridge the gap between the services the QSR offers and those that TAs offer.

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