A program in California State University, Northridge’s Matador Achievement Center, which offers academic support services to student-athletes, has received certification from the College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA), making it one of only 10 such programs in the country to receive such an honor.
As a result, university officials said, the support CSUN’s student-athletes receive and the training received by the graduate students working as learning specialists in the center has been “elevated and evaluated” to meet national standards of excellence.
“To receive this certification enhances CSUN’s recognition and prestige,” said Teiana Jones, CSUN’s senior associate athletic director for academic services. “By adapting CRLA’s clear standards for training and evaluation, the learning specialist program is able to better prepare assistant learning specialists to work with student-athletes.”
The College Reading & Learning Association is a professional organization devoted to the fields of reading, learning assistance and developmental education. It awarded the International Mentor Training Program Certification to the Matador Achievement Center’s Learning Specialist Program. The certification sets standards and guidelines for the minimum skills and training mentors need to be successful.
Jones said the certification from CRLA raises the level of training of CSUN’s learning specialists, mostly graduate students in such fields as social work, recreation and tourism management, kinesiology, educational psychology, educational leadership and policy studies, cultural anthropology, sociology, and marriage and family therapy, to a professional standard shared by only nine other programs across the country. In addition, it “raises the credibility of the Learning Specialist Program among CSUN administrators and the institution as a whole,” Jones said.
She said the national standards bolster the Learning Specialist Program’s mission “to provide support to at-risk student-athletes in a structured learning environment.”
“The student-athletes will learn how to effectively balance their academic and athletic responsibilities, develop life skills and increase confidence,” Jones said. “The ultimate goal is to challenge student-athletes to become self-sufficient learners, and to reach their full potential at CSUN and beyond.”