Graduate teaching assistants in the English Department can choose tutoring instead of one section of first year English. If they are selected to be tutors, they are trained on the job during the first few weeks of the semester.
Undergraduates become tutors by taking ENGL 4210, "The Processes of Writing." This four-credit course requires junior standing. It meets three times a week, and the fourth credit is earned through attendance at our weekly staff meetings and through time spent in the writing center over the course of the semester. These hours begin with observation of experienced tutors, but then, when the student is ready, he or she moves towards tutoring with a mentor present, and then tutoring alone.
The major textbook is The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring, 2nd ed., by Paula Gillespie and Neal Lerner. This is a text that was written over the course of several years of collecting tutors' journals, reflective papers, and logs. The stories of many tutors, from Marquette, from MIT, and from Boston University, are included. The course also requires two books of readings and a book on style, as well as additional readings on reserve in the library.
We study theories of one-to-one conferencing, theories of composing, we look at the learning experiences of English as a Foreign Language and minority students. We look at writer's block and writer-based prose. We examine and reflect on our own processes of composing and our own writing. Students reflect with one another weekly in an online journal, in addition to class discussion.
At the end of the semester, students interested in tutoring submit a letter of application to the director. Selected students are then interviewed by the director and assistant director; from these interviews, tutors are chosen and hired for the following semester. Tutors are presently paid $8.50 per hour.
For more information, contact Rebecca Nowacek, Director of the Writing Center.