Become a WC Tutor
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Interested in becoming a tutor? Here are some of things our past tutors have valued in the work:
As a writing tutor, I enjoy the one-on-one conversations and brainstorming sessions I have with writers from various disciplines. This experience has challenged me to not only quickly learn and dive into a topic that I am not too familiar with, but also tailor my advice to the writers' specific needs and goals. I have become a better writer and critical thinker thanks to this job!
Being a writing tutor at WC makes me realize writing is not a solitary activity. It gives you access to the workings of so many brilliant minds.
It is incredibly satisfying to have a job as intellectually stimulating as being a Writing Tutor for the Knight Institute. As an international student studying mechanical engineering, I have worked with students of feminist studies, urban planning, music theory, English, and anthropology - to name a few. These interactions - where I get to learn as much as the students who come to the writing center - have allowed me to experience fully the breadth of a liberal arts university despite having a 'technical' major, and have greatly enriched my Cornell experience.
As the above quotes indicate, tutors find this work to be rewarding for a number a reasons: working across the disciplines, the intellectual engagement of tutoring, the collaboration, professional development around tutoring and writing, and the community! We have a vibrant and diverse tutoring community that participates in on-going professional development activities. This work is generative, creative, and an excellent opportunity for students interested in communication, writing, education, and collaborative learning.
Our undergraduate and graduate writing tutors provide support for a diverse pool of writers at various stages of the drafting process for nearly any kind of writing project. We operate out of five campus locations to offer thirty- to sixty-minute individual meetings. During tutorials, writing tutors typically:
- help writers get started with essays by reading and discussing a writing assignment, evaluating research material, or brainstorming an outline;
- discuss ways to shape coherent arguments, make strong use of evidence, and work with appropriate citation conventions;
- consider questions about depth of analysis, organization, thesis definition, audience expectations, paragraph development, stylistics, or sentence structure;
- offer specific strategies for diverse writers navigating different parts of the writing process, including brainstorming, drafting, revising, and editing;
- support both native and non-native speakers of English to identify patterns among errors in grammar or usage;
- and, help writers understand and address specific feedback from peers and teachers.
In short, writing tutors serve as responsive listeners and readers who can address questions about the writing process or about particular pieces of writing. They might also address issues of confidence, critical reading, analytic thought, and imagination.
Writing Centers Tutor
- For Spring 2021, all tutoring will be synchronous, virtual appointments, using our schedule platform to work with writers using video or text chatting.
- Tutors typically work 1-3 tutoring shifts a week. Tutoring shifts are all in Eastern Time Zone and include: 8-10:00am, 3:00-5:00pm, or 7:00-10:00pm shifts. Tutors usually work between 2-9 hours a week.
- New tutors must complete a 7-week training training course (WRIT 2101, see below for details). Tutor training is only held in the spring, and begins when the 7-week courses start, midway through the spring semester. For spring 2021, the tutor training course starts the week of March 29.
- After completing the tutor training course (once hired), tutors are required to attend 3 staff meetings a semester (plus the required first and final semester meetings). Staff meetings are usually at 5:30-6:30pm ET, on varying week nights. During these meetings, as a group, we discuss tutoring pedagogy and practice, workshop a variety of sample student writing, and reflect on tutoring experiences. Staff meetings deepen and extend the introduction to basic tutoring pedagogy and practice covered in WRIT 2101 (tutor training).
- Tutors get paid an hourly rate, and there is often the bonus of good free food at most events.
Positions for Advanced Tutors
Social Media Intern
The Cornell Writing Centers have an instagram, facebook, and twitter account, as a method for promoting and connecting with writers across campus. We hire 1-2 trained Writing Center Tutors to run our social media for one academic year. Social media interns must regularly meet with Dr. Kate Navickas to plan and develop content and discuss different promotion strategies. This position offers the opportunity to gain some communication and promotion skills as well as to develop creative and engaging content. Typically, interns work .5-1 hours per week.
- Requirements: Applicants must be trained Cornell Writing Center tutors to apply.
- To apply: email Kate Navickas, email@example.com, with an explanation of your interest in the work and a resume.
Knight Writing Mentor
Writing mentors meet with assigned students for one or two hours each week for the duration of a semester or year to develop effective and sustainable writing habits and strategies. Undergraduate and graduate students can work up to 6 hours per week to support writers enrolled in First-Year Writing Seminars or other writing-intensive courses, and students working on substantial writing projects, like honors theses. Writing Mentors meet weekly for reflection on pedagogy and practice with Dr. Tracy Carrick. Though mentors may start tutoring right away, they still are required to attend the same 7-week paid tutor training that new undergraduate writing center tutors do (this starts the week before spring break).
Graduate students, seniors, and current Writing Center tutors are encouraged to apply. Applications from juniors with relevant experience may also be considered.
Writing Centers Assistant Director
The Writing Centers regularly hire 1-3 graduate students for the role of assistant director. The work involves 5 hours of administrative work per week. The position includes tasks like reviewing tutor applications, participating in tutor interviews, conducting peer observations, analyzing Writing Center data, leading tutor staff meetings, teaching or co-facilitating tutor training, and other necessary administrative work. Assistant directors meet regularly with the director, Kate, to select administrative experiences that align with the program’s needs and the TA’s interests as well as to reflect on the professional value of the experiences.
To be considered for this advanced position, TAs should have one year of experience tutoring in the Cornell Writing Centers. To apply, send a CV and letter to Dr. Kate Navickas, firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters should explain relevant experiences as well as the potential professional value of this administrative work.
How to Apply
All applicants must be matriculated Cornell students.
If you're interested in applying to become a Writing Centers tutor, please follow the directions below.
- Undergraduate tutoring applications are only accepted in the spring
- Prerequisite: Successful completion of at least one First-Year Writing Seminar
- Complete this application form
- DEADLINE: Second Friday of February by noon. Spring 2021 deadline: Friday, February 19th.
Application Process: Applications will be reviewed after the spring deadline. A select number of applicants will be invited to sign-up for small-group interviews (occuring on Zoom for spring 2021). The applicants who will be offered positions tutoring, will begin the 7-week tutor training course (WRIT 2101) after group interviews, roughly midway through the semester. Thus, the application and training process approximately takes a full semester. Newly hired tutors will begin tutoring during the exams period of the semester they get hired and trained. We hope to encourage tutors to apply early in their academic career and to continue tutoring throughout their time at Cornell.
WRIT 2101: Responding to Writing: Theory & Pedagogy (1 credit)
Course Description: This course introduces students to scholarship on writing pedagogy, requiring them to think critically about collaborative learning strategies, multilingual writing challenges, ethical considerations in peer tutoring, and the ways in which race and other facets of identity inform teaching and learning. The learning objectives include: develop an understanding of different theories of writing and the history of writing centers; practice reading and responding to a variety of different writing genres and student situations in ways that connect theory to practice; learn to question assumptions in specific pieces of writing, frameworks for writing, and in pedagogical interactions; self-reflect on individual writing processes, writing, and previous educational experiences; analyze the ways in which writer and tutor identities affect pedagogical interactions and learn strategies for equitable and ethical tutoring; develop confidence in suggesting interventions for other writers at various stages of their writing processes; and, gain flexibility in utilizing a variety of strategies for fostering writer agency and growth.
Spring 2021 Tutor Training Course Details:
- Starts the week of March 29
- Knight Institute staff will enroll hired tutors
- Hired tutors will be invited to submit a survey with their availability, but the course is listed for T/Th 3:45-4:45 pm ET; it has also been offered on Mondays or Tuesdays 4:30-6:00pm ET.
- Prerequisite: successful completion of Writing 7100 or previous tutoring or teaching experiences.
- Submit a CV and letter of interest detailing relevant employment or coursework to Dr. Kate Navickas, email@example.com
- DEADLINE: Applications accepted on a rolling basis.