Senior Jessica Skoudis works with sophomore Spencer Rothfuss on a paper in the Writing Center. Alex Nester | Col­legian

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.”