Founded in 1992, the Loyola Community Literacy Center offers community adults an opportunity to improve their skills. It also gives student-tutors the chance to serve their community and to engage with their Jesuit education, "connecting the heart with the head" (MB). At every tutoring session, student-tutors serve their community and "uphold the Jesuit Catholic University’s mission statement: 'Seeking God in all things and working to expand knowledge in the service of humanity through learning, justice, and faith'" (KC).
The Literacy Center serves a highly diverse population of ages, ability levels, and language backgrounds. We are dedicated to the fair and equitable treatment of all those who participate in our work and of all those who come to us for assistance. On a practical level, that means that we do our best to ensure that everyone who seeks the Center's services on a given evening is assigned a tutor, or, if that is not possible, placed on a waiting list that is reviewed in a regular and timely manner. We assist native speakers of English and those learning English as an additional language. Although we do not test learners at any time, a careful process of staff interviewing and ongoing assessment ensures that learners are taught with materials appropriate to their level of skill.
To the best of the staff's ability, the Literacy Center reviews all materials used in instruction to make sure that they show respect for all differences including cultural, religious, ethnic, gender, age, and racial differences. Likewise, we hold learners and tutors to high standards of conduct based on consideration of the needs and abilities of others; we actively promote a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in which individuals of very different backgrounds and educational levels can work together in teaching and learning English.
Just as we take care to make sure that learners are treated with respect, we offer support to our tutors who are Loyola students or alumni and Loyola volunteers. Tutors' records of instructional sessions are reviewed by the staff after each session to make sure that appropriate methods and materials are being used. Tutors are informally observed on a regular basis, and they are offered advice that reinforces strengths and addresses any weaknesses or problems that may arise.
The staff of the Literacy Center strives to show the utmost regard for our tutors and learners, showing respect and enthusiasm for their efforts and also holding all participants to high standards of professional conduct, including regular and punctual attendance and compliance with the operational standards of the Center. The Literacy Center staff is responsible for activities of tutors and learners during our hours of operation and at our designated operational locations and online. We do not, however, take responsibility for the conduct of tutors or learners outside these times and places.
The Literacy Center is supported by the Department of English and the College of Arts and Sciences of Loyola University Chicago as well as the Paul Glassco Endowment. It is operated in accordance with the ethical principles of the Department of English, CAS, and the University. The Literacy Center considers ethics from the perspective of the learners we serve, the tutors we train to help them, and the staff.