Campus & Community

DU’s Learning Effectiveness Program continues to thrive

Beginning in 1982 as a small program with little staff, the University of Denver’s Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) has grown into an internationally recognized service with more than 200 students enrolled each year.

LEP is a fee-based program that provides academic support to DU students with learning disabilities.

“What sets us apart is our ability to give individualized attention to students,” says Jimmie Smith, director of LEP since 2009. “Students meet with an academic counselor once a week for one hour in addition to one-on-one academic tutoring, and the tutors — who are mostly graduate students — are never peers of the students they tutor.”

LEP provides academic support to students with learning disabilities such as ADD and ADHD, and to students on the autism and Asperger’s spectrums.

“We offer one of the best postsecondary-level programs for students with learning disabilities,” Smith says.

While enrollment has steadily increased since the program’s inception, he says, the 2015–16 academic year has surpassed previous years.

“This year marks the highest enrollment the program has ever seen,” Smith says. “There are 270 students.”

Students attribute the LEP’s success to its focus on hiring tutors who give each of their students individualized attention.

“The tutors are great,” says Maddy Donlan, a junior computer science major who utilized LEP’s services during her freshman year. “They help give you a visual representation of the time that you have, and they help you find resources that you would never have otherwise known about.”

Not only does LEP offer individualized tutoring, it also provides academic counseling and instruction in organization and time management.

“Our students follow the four cornerstones — self-efficacy, self-awareness, self-determination and accountability,” Smith says. “We teach our students these guiding principles and work with them to put them into practice.”

DU does not provide any funding for LEP, so it operates as a fee-based program that allows students to take advantage of its services for $1,150 per quarter.

Donors also help fund the progam, Smith says. “The donations come from DU alumni and foundations that often have a history with the LEP program. We also work with Advancement to provide students with scholarships.”

Along with DU’s Disability Services Program (DSP), the LEP is located in Ruffatto Hall. Its offers services to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at DU.

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