Offsetting the loss of Landstrom


Submitted to the Simpsonian

Mark Pleiss, director of the center of teaching and learning, has taken over the Center for Academic Resources (CARs) as interim Executive Director.

by Jo Lamb and Kyle Werner

After Corey Landstrom’s mysterious disappearance, it was decided that Mark Pleiss, director of the center of teaching and learning, would take over the Center for Academic Resources (CARs) as interim Executive Director.

In the wake of this shake-up, students were left wondering what CARs would look like under new leadership.

Even with Corey gone, CARs will still cover all of its bases: tutoring, student accessibility services, academic coaching, test prep and writing consultations. 

While Mark Pleiss takes over as interim director of the program, Writing Center Director Colin Payton is taking over the tutoring program. He now supervises all of the undergraduate coaches, tutors, and writing consultants.

The CARs team is now made up of two academic coaches, Sarah Devvit and Yakira Sanders, the Director of Student Accessibility Services, Karen Lynch, and the director of the writing center Colin Payton under the leadership of Mark Pleiss.

Even with the abrupt change of executive leadership, there will be no drastic changes happening this semester. 

“Corey had already set some things into motion to change and had made some changes but part of it is just keeping those projects going,” Payton said.

Kacie Cowman, a peer academic leader with CARs, has noticed a difference since Payton has taken over.

“I have seen great changes in the program. Colin has made it a priority to get continuous feedback from everyone in CARS, especially us students,” she said. “Recently, we’ve updated the tutoring job descriptions, started fundraising for better study material resources and made the tutoring space more welcoming.”

While the school has still not made a public statement on the abrupt absence of Corey Langstrum, students have taken to getting used to not having Corey around.

“I think it’s a good thing he’s gone. He didn’t really respect time,” sophomore Molli Craig said. “I would have weekly meetings scheduled at a set time and he always made me half an hour late to those meetings. I just know he didn’t run a lot of things necessarily the way they should have been run or in a way that was super productive,” 

Now that it has been a month since Corey left the college, Mark Pleiss is gearing up to support CARs.

“My job is to support them [students] and make sure they have the resources that they need,” Pleiss said. “I’m interested in going in and just asking them questions and learning how this whole system works to see what’s working well for them, what isn’t working so well for them, and where we can maybe build some things in.”