Most training is conducted by the ARC Director and Tutor Training Coordinator. Mentors, chosen from experienced senior tutors, are assigned to lead smaller groups. Joint Common Time sessions are also led by guest speakers.
Prospective tutors must submit a completed Tutor Application with copies of transcripts (must have B or better in courses to tutor); two letters of recommendations from faculty, Mentors, or Training Coordinator; and a current résumé/CV. Applicants of interest are then interviewed by the Director, and often by Mentors, or senior tutors as well. Prospective tutors understand that they must commit to one hour per week of tutor development.
Fourteen (14) hours of training is required for Level 1 certification, plus an additional 15 hours of actual tutoring time. The average number of hours worked by new tutors is 10-12 hours per week, with a maximum of 20 hours per week (15 hours for Work Study students). New tutors are required to attend at least 5 hours of Common Time/Mentor Group meetings. Level 1 certification is generally attained after one semester of experience.
New Tutor Orientation
New Tutors attend a 5-hour group orientation, which includes instruction, discussion of readings, video, collaborative activities, online presentations, and occasionally, guest speakers. Group size depends upon the number of new tutors hired, but rarely exceeds 10. These Orientations are typically held near the beginning of each fall and spring semester, or at point of hire. If fewer tutors are hired, the Director will meet with the tutors individually or in small groups.
New tutors are then required to observe at least three hours of tutoring sessions with a senior tutor (up to 4 hours for 2-hour sessions), at least one in a subject other than their own. Such observations are designed to give the new tutors the opportunity to focus on the senior tutor’s style and demeanor and not the actual subject area. Once observations are complete, the new tutor is asked to report on what she has experienced, including what she might take into her own sessions. The Director and/or Mentors meet directly with the new tutor to discuss what the tutor has learned from watching sessions in progress.
Common Time, our regular, large-group weekly meetings and workshops, are interspersed with mentor-facilitated, small-group meetings. We have focused our group discussions on tutoring methods and issues, such as working with “demanding” students, assessing learning styles, and problem posing. In a collaborative effort, the Director and Training Coordinator work with the tutors to determine their training needs to create an on-going discussion of the process of tutoring. Types of presentations have included guest speakers, tutor presentations, computer lab sessions, video screenings, articles, general discussion, etc.
To further impress upon our tutors the importance of their own professional and intellectual development, we collaborate with the Writing Center, by periodically bringing our tutor groups together. The response from the tutors has been overwhelmingly positive, offering all tutors a place to share their experiences with others.
In 2006 the ARC began a peer tutoring program, and in 2007 we received a grant from Middle States Regional Council to develop a Peer Tutor Development Program to focus on recruiting and developing more undergraduate tutors. The program has assisted the center by incorporating voices of our primary audience—undergraduate students—affording the peer tutors a unique experience to gain expertise in both their content area and teaching/tutoring methods, bolstering their work experience, and developing administrative and instructional skills. We plan to add more peer tutors, and we hope that this initiative will impact our overall undergraduate student retention by providing community and additional training to these undergraduate tutors.