Lynn’s Institute was assessing learning before most colleges, says dean

2011 marks Lynn’s 20th anniversary of dedication to students with learning differences

Published May. 10, 2011

For the past 20 years, Lynn University has been offering services to assist students with learning differences. In 2002, Lynn’s Institute for Achievement and Learning was founded to offer those students opportunities for greater accomplishments in higher education and career realization by providing them with a tutoring center, testing center and assistive technology services.

Marsha Glines, B.A., M.Ed., Ph.D. “What makes the institute unique is that we have always been cutting edge with our approach to learning,” said Marsha Glines, dean of the Institute for Achievement and Learning.

“Over the years we have incorporated the work of Howard Gardner and Mel Levine, Project Zero research and a pedagogy that has embraced metacognition [teaching students to understand how they learn] long before most colleges were thinking about learning. Most were still only assessing teaching.”

Prior to the institute, Lynn initiated The Advancement Program (TAP) from 1991 through 2002. The program was created to offer academic support and tutoring services to students with diagnosed learning differences. Glines helped build TAP, and what is now the institute, from the ground up.

“In 1991 I was the only person involved,” said Glines. “TAP began with approximately 11 students. Now, the institute enrolls 300. “

Aside from student growth, other changes include:

  1. Group tutoring to encourage socialization – Lynn’s institute has incorporated a new strategy called “SIpriming” where staff meet with students before class to scaffold the themes, dialogue readings and content for the upcoming class. One-on-one tutoring in content areas is still offered.
  2. Free diagnostic evaluations – the institute now provides free diagnostic evaluations, including psycho educational testing for any full-time Lynn student.
  3. Lynn Diagnostic Center for Educational Assessment – The center is open to the public. It provides testing and learning strategies for pre-kindergarten through postgraduate students.
  4. Staff growth – The institute now has 14 full-time staff members with diverse backgrounds, including social/clinical work; a senior ADHD coach; and a Ph.D. in neuropsychology.
  5. Longer hours – To provide the support students have requested, the Institute is now open seven days a week.

“Many students who learn in nontraditional ways – for whom writing and math may not be strengths – have great potential in other areas,” said Glines. “The gift for all of us at the institute is watching students considered academically “damaged” by traditional school systems, become able to compete, to find their strengths and most importantly learn in what area or domain those strengths need to be directed for academic and career success.”

A student’s success, Edelstein to walk this weekend

Henry EdelsteinHenry Edelstein, a December 2010 Lynn graduate who has been diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, said Lynn’s Institute for Achievement and Learning helped him not only finish college, but it helped him graduate summa cum laude (3.88 grade point average) with a Bachelor of Science in business administration and a specialization in general management in only three and a half years.

“In 9th grade I was told that I wasn’t going to go to college,” said Edelstein who is originally from Eagan, Minn. “When I came to Lynn, I was expecting the professors to not accept my learning difference, but they understood that I needed some extra time on my tests. It was amazing.”

Edelstein also took advantage of Lynn’s tutoring services at the institute. “A lot of it has to do with the way that Lynn teaches you,” said Edelstein. “It’s great because you have the one-on-one attention from your professors.”

Edelstein was also very involved on Lynn’s campus during his tenure. He went on four study abroad trips, did three internships through the university, worked with the Knights Activities Team, served as chair of Civility Week and the entertainment and activities coordinator of Relay for Life, and was a fall orientation leader.

“If I had gone to Iowa State [Edelstein’s first choice], I highly doubt I would have done all this,” he said.

Edelstein will walk in Lynn’s 46th morning undergraduate commencement ceremony that begins at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 14. Currently he is looking for a job doing operations, events planning and production.

“My involvement on campus made me enjoy event planning,” said Edelstein. “I’m looking for something in events and marketing, but my passion is music. I can’t sit at a desk all day. That’s what I learned from my internships. Otherwise, my ADHD kicks in and I need to get moving.”

More on Glines:

Marsha Glines, a sought-after lecturer in North and South America, specializes in learning differences and has been nationally recognized for her innovative educational programs, including the creation of Lynn’s Institute for Achievement and Learning (formerly known as The Advancement Program, TAP). Her views can be read in various publications, and she has interviewed on radio and TV stations from Illinois to Massachusetts and Florida to California. In this role, Glines regularly speaks to the media regarding students with learning differences in mainstream classrooms and ways to identify one’s learning modalities and strengths. She is available to speak about: learning differences, ADHD, identifying learning modalities/strengths, the institute’s Comprehensive Support Program and personalized study strategies.