Faculty Information about Designated Tutoring


What Should Teachers Expect from Tutors?

  • Your Designated Tutor should be willing and available to meet with you at least once before classes begin (or during the first week of the term).  At that time, you might discuss the syllabus, talk about writing experiences in general, or just get to know one another.  Save receipts if you share a meal--the Writing Center will gladly pick up the tab.
  • Your DT should arrive for tutoring shifts on time and devote full attention to your students during that time.
  • The DT should notify you in advance if s/he must miss a shift due to illness or prior commitment.  DTs must send an email explaining the absence to you and to the Writing Center director as soon as possible.  Your students are then free to work with another tutor (or your DT can offer a make-up shift for your students when s/he returns).   If your DT is not forthcoming with such information, please let me know.
  • Your DT should try to visit your class one time at your invitation.  If your DT is unavailable, another tutor can come in his/ her place.  The tutor can introduce the Writing Center and its services, disseminate flyers, or simply observe and/ or facilitate writing groups.  {We can't always ensure that the DT doesn't have a class at the same time as yours!}
  • If schedules permit, DTs may visit more often. Tutors will be paid for their time--they can use some of their hours in your classroom, as long as you understand that they will, in turn, provide fewer tutorial hours outside of class that week.
  • Your DT will study syllabi, course assignments, and handbooks or style manuals. Your DT will NOT read required course texts.  Sometimes, a DT has already taken your course; this is usually a helpful arrangement!

What should DTs count on from Professors?

  • Professors shouldn't ask DTs to stay late, arrive early, or work outside of regularly scheduled hours.  They certainly shouldn't be asked to grade papers for the professor or read and comment on papers.  DTs count on you to know these limits--it's hard for them to say no to a Professor!
  • DTs count on the professor's presence in class if/when they're invited to visit.  Please don't ask your DT to serve as a "substitute teacher" for you in the event of an absence due to weather, conference travel, or other engagements.  While our DTs are swell folks, they're clearly not trained professionals in the classroom.
  •  DTs need professors to speak candidly about grading criteria.  Professors should feel comfortable sharing their beliefs about what constitutes "good" writing in the classroom.  DTs are counting on us to demystify this information for them.
  • Professors should recognize that DTs will not read the texts for the course.  DT's already have a full slate of their own classes to read and prepare for!
  • DTs live in fear that you will ask them to "lecture" to your class or create their own handouts and other pedagogical materials.  Again, please don't ask them to do more than they've bargained for.

Final Suggestions for Teachers:

  • Meet with the Designated Tutor during week one or week two of the semester.  (Better yet, email course materials to him as soon as you have them ready.)  Describe your course and writing assignments, share your syllabus and assignment prompts, and discuss your evaluative criteria.  This might be a good time to set up a class visit, too.
  • Once your tutor finalizes her Writing Center work schedule and sends that information to you, share the tutor's schedule with your students via email or handout.  
  • Include the Writing Center's web site address on your syllabus.  The web site provides students with schedules for all tutors as well as brief biographical statements about them.  The site also provides links to other Writing Centers across the country.  Remind students that they can now make appointments directly online through “WCOnline."
  • Emphasize that writing is a highly collaborative process.  Talk with your students about your own experiences working with peers or other readers.  Let them know that the Writing Center is not the place where we send "bad writers" to get "fixed."
  • Let us know if things are not going well.  Let your tutor know, too. 
  • Let us know if things are going well.  Let your tutor know, too.

Under no circumstances should a DT be asked to "grade" or "respond to" papers for the faculty member.  The DT should not be asked to “read a stack” of papers for the teacher to describe what s/he sees.  The DT’s time should be used strictly for individual tutorial sessions for students.