CATS offers tutoring to UK student-athletes

By Audrey Smith

Being an athlete and keeping up with schoolwork is tough.

The Center for Academic &Tutorial Services works to help the more than 500 student-athletes at UK succeed in their academics.

With all the schedules student-athletes must maintain, having a tutor is important to help them keep up with the academic demands and also the time demands, said Barb Deniston, Athletic Student Development director, who works for CATS.

Deniston, along with other CATS employees Bob Bradley, Mike Haley, Tiffany Hayden and Dustin Lewis, served on a panel Tuesday for the third part of the Academics-Athletics Forum series entitled “Striving to Achieve Goals: Support Services for Student-Athletics.”

Joseph L. Fink III sponsors the forum, which is designed to address issues relating to how student-athletes balance their athletic life with their academic life.

“The main goal is to facilitate communication and understanding between the athletic side of the house and the academic side of the house,” Fink said.

Fink serves as UK’s Faculty Athletics Representative to the Southeastern Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He is also the moderator at the forums.

“CATS is highly regarded around the country,” Fink said.

UK was the first university in the country to provide a center like CATS, nearly 30 years ago, according to a UK news release.

Since CATS has grown, the age and experience of the tutors hired has become more “seasoned,” Deniston said. She said she believes CATS has increasingly hired tutors who have exceptional knowledge on how to manage time and keep someone on task.

CATS hires students and retired public school teachers to fill the tutoring positions.

The hiring process includes screening transcripts and meeting with the applicants.

CATS has also recently added a full-time tutor coordinator to their staff, Deniston said.

Fink said many similar tutoring services at other universities have gotten in trouble for doing too much of the student’s work, but CATS has never had a problem with this.

Bradley, who was on staff with the CATS when the center began, said tutors sign a manual, stating that they are there to guide the students and not to do their work for them, before they can begin.

Bradley said this is important for tutors to do to maintain the integrity of the CATS program.

CATS finds tutors primarily through word of mouth. Though the center advertises, it mostly relies on interested students to come to them.

CATS offers UK students who are strong in any study area an opportunity for a paid tutoring job.

Many students who work for CATS continue working there after they graduate, even if it’s just a few hours on the side, Deniston said.