Beginning this fall, the application process for working at the Writing Center has changed. Instead of select students applying upon recommendation, all students will be able to apply via Handshake, an employment app.
Tutors for the Writing Center, a service of the Hawkins Center for Academic Services that allows Hillsdale students to tutor peers with their class writing assignments, were previously hired upon the recommendation of Writing Center Director Justin Jackson, a professor of English, and the English department. Now, any student will be able to apply for the position as a tutor for the 2019 – 2020 school year through Handshake, an online student job-search platform provided by Career Services.
“About a year ago, Jackson met with me and asked to change the way the Writing Center hired tutors, and I agreed,” Academic Counselor Christy Maier said. “We wanted to expand the pool of potential tutors because the fact is, we see students’ papers from all kinds of disciplines.”
Jackson said the hiring process for tutors needed to change.
“I know we will have the same quality of tutors as we do now, but as it stands, only colleagues in the English department would recommend students. Oftentimes it would be students I had in class,” Jackson said. “What we are looking for is to get strong writers from different interests and areas of study, but who also think long and hard about the writing process.”
Writing Center Student Director and senior Ellen Friesen agreed.
“When Dr. Jackson recommends students, they are excellent, but obviously there are other students he simply does not know,” Friesen said. “He simply cannot reach every good writer, and I think that this process will enable us to have a wider pool of people because we were only picking people in his class, whereas with the new process we can reach all students across campus.”
With six seniors set to graduate after this school year, the Writing Center will start collecting applications late October and early November and conducting interviews by the end of the fall 2018 semester. Jackson, Maier, and Friesen will conduct the interviews and review the applications. Once hired, new tutors will go through a full spring semester of training before starting work as done through the years.
“Students need not fear that if they are hired they will be thrown to the wolves,” Jackson said. “They will have a full semester of training, where they observe tutorials and come talk to me about their observations, and expect to conduct practice tutorials here and there.”
Current sophomores and juniors are encouraged to apply. Students will be required to include their GPAs, majors or projected majors, times they have used the Writing Center, names of their Great Books I and II and Western and American Heritage professors, two recommendations, a resume, and a writing sample from their time at Hillsdale.
“We are looking at the strength of the application overall,” Friesen said. “GPA is such an artificial measure of life skills, and it has no bearing on whether you would be a good tutor or not.”
Jackson encouraged anyone who enjoys and is successful at writing to apply.
“What I am encouraging my colleagues to do is when they have a student who is a stronger writer and would make a good tutor, to encourage them to apply,” Jackson said. “When the students are a little unsure of whether to apply for the position, to ask their professors.”
Maier noted the enthusiasm expressed by the student directors and tutors with this new change.
“My hope is that by expanding the number of potential applicants for the position, we will have a more diverse group of tutors and reach the people who would like to tutor and missed the opportunity in the past,” she said. “We do want people to know that change is happening.”