CLEAR (Center for Learning, Education and Research in the Sciences)

CLEAR Mentors

CLEAR offers a variety of ways for students to engage with their peers so that they can learn, support, and grow with each other as they take STEM and quantitative based courses!

Mentorship through CLEAR has served thousands of students across several departments since its inception with OWLS in the early 2010's. Mentorship opportunties have expanded beyond just the OWLS program since then, growing to include HOOTs and Quantitative Skills tutors as well. These positions are essential in supporting quantitaive based courses ranging from the introductory to upper level classes. Click below to learn more about each individual position! Click here to see the other academic resources offered by Oberlin.


Oberlin Workshop and Learning Sessions (OWLS) offer a fun and free method that positively impacts student learning and you’ll find that the types of skills you acquire through OWLS will benefit you in other courses. OWLS are based on the Supplemental Instruction (SI) model for coursework support. Sessions are specific for a class, and are facilitated by a pair of students (an OWLS Leader) who has taken the class and attends the class again along with the current students. OWLS integrate both “what to learn” and “how to learn,” that is, the content of the course as well as learning skills, in a fun, active and collaborative fashion that has been proved to work effectively for students to master coursework content.

OWLS is not a replacement for one-on-one tutoring, but does offer a fun and free method that positively impacts student learning. OWLS is for everyone. Even those doing well in the course benefit by sharing what they’ve learned in their own words to their peers. And you’ll find that the types of skills you acquire through OWLS will benefit you in other courses.

Many courses now offer peer mentorship in the form of: Hybrid of OWLS and Tutoring (HOOT). HOOTs are dedicated tutors for a specific course and offer drop-in opportunities for the class they are supporting. HOOT sessions are very similar to OWLS in that they are facilitated by students who have already taken the course previously. They work alongside CLEAR staff and the faculty leading the course to provide additional support for students who are currently enrolled, but they do not create additionally material.

In response to the growing number of STEM and quantitative Oberlin faculty utilizing a variety of pedagogical structures that integrate collaboration, in Fall 2022 CLEAR will begin to offer a new type of CLEAR mentors: Quantitative Undergraduate Assistants for In-class Learning (QUAILs). QUAILs are appropriate for course structures where students will be engaged in collaborative work throughout most of the in-class sessions. Some examples of these course structures include but are not limited to:

  • Flipped courses with students working in small groups on in-class problem solving
  • Problem based learning 
  • Project-centered courses

QUAILs will primarily provide in-class support for small groups, they are also available to host support sessions outside of class time.  

Oberlin created the Quantitative Skills (QS)  Drop-In Tutoring Center to provide peer support for all skill needs, ranging from algebra and graphing to computational modeling. Students seeking support for material from a variety of courses, particularly ones at the introductory level, are encouraged to drop in. Tutors from a variety of majors with strong backgrounds in mathematics or experience in programming and modeling and other quantitative methods will be there to assist you.

The center is available for anyone to use, and it is instrumental in Oberlin’s efforts to foster interdisciplinary work across the sciences and the whole liberal arts curriculum. Students often use QS for assistance with problem sets and lab reports, as well as for help with scientific writing, presentations and other skills that are used in the natural sciences. QS tutors are not trained to complete problems for their tutees, but help visitors to build skills in quantitative reasoning that are critical for problem solving in STEM fields.

Skills supported include:

  • basic mathematical skills (graphing, algebra)
  • software skills (Excel, statistics, modeling)
  • statistics (tools, approaches, software)
  • computation (programming languages)

We invite students from all majors and years who have experience thinking quantitatively to apply to become a QS tutor if this interests you!

Click here to see thier current schedule.