How We Teach Writing Tutors

Karen Gabrielle Johnson and Ted Roggenbuck, Editors

Crystal Conzo, Digital Editor

Table of Contents


Why a Digital Edited Collection (DEC) Muriel Harris briefly recounts the history and resources of WLN, from its serendipitous beginning at a CCCC conference to its present-day publications.

Muriel Harris


Digital Collaboration in Writing Center Scholarship Editors Karen Gabrielle Johnson and Ted Roggenbuck briefly describe the advantages of digital affordances for collaborative work and touch on how they arrived at this first Digital Edited Collection (DEC).

Karen Gabrielle Johnson and Ted Roggenbuck


Chapter 1. First Things First: An Introduction to Administration at a New
Directors' Retreat
Holly Ryan describes a weekend retreat to support new directors. She developed workshops and activities that help new directors examine and create foundational documents such as mission and vision statements, branding, and assessment. Holly argues that such topics should be considered before a director can develop a tutor education program.

Holly Ryan

Chapter 2. From CRLA to For-Credit Course: The New Director's Guide to
Assessing Tutor Education
Elisabeth H. Buck describes an assessment effort that helped to support a shift in how tutor education was offered. Elisabeth argues for the advantages of new directors engaging in low-stakes assessment as a means to promote deliberate action, particularly with regard to tutor education.

Elisabeth H. Buck

Chapter 3. Enter the Dragon: Graduate Tutor Education in the Hall of Mirrors Craig Medvecky critically analyzes three models of graduate tutor education. Drawing from these models, Craig argues for a systemic approach to graduate writing support and proposes a set of learning outcomes for tutor education programs.

Craig Medvecky

Chapter 4. Ongoing Writing Tutor Education: Models and Practices Julia Bleakney identifies and describes the types of ongoing education models based on the results of a comprehensive research project that included a national survey and interviews of writing center professionals. Julia uses quantitative and qualitative results to suggest smart practices and recommendations for designing ongoing education programs.

Julia Bleakney

Chapter 5. Understanding What Certifications Mean for Writing Centers: Analyzing a
Pilot Program via a Regional Organization
Russell Carpenter, Scott Whiddon, and Courtnie Morin detail the conception, development, application process, and assessment of an innovative regional accreditation program exclusively for writing centers. They argue that certification helps writing center professionals develop academic capital, solidify foundational beliefs, and improve tutor education programs.

Russell Carpenter, Scott Whiddon, and Courtnie Morin


Chapter 6. Developing and Implementing Core Principles for Tutor Education:
Administrative Goals and Tutor Perspectives
Lisa Cahill, Molly Rentscher, Kelly Chase, Darby Simpson, and Jessica Jones describe how their team at Arizona State University adapted habits of mind from The Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing and beliefs from Muriel Harris's "The Concept of a Writing Center" to develop principles guiding their writing center practices.

Lisa Cahill, Molly Rentscher, Kelly Chase, Darby Simpson, and Jessica Jones

Chapter 7. The Mindful Tutor Jared Featherstone, Rodolfo Barrett, and Maya Chandler describe a tutor education program that draws upon empirical data connecting mindfulness to desirable skills such as focus, metacognition, self-regulation, and stress management. They offer qualitative results from their study of mindfulness-trained tutors and argue that these skills are integral to effective tutoring.

Jared Featherstone, Rodolfo Barrett, and Maya Chandler

Chapter 8. Self-Efficacy and the Relationship between Tutoring and Writing Kelsey Hixson-Bowles and Roger Powell present qualitative data from a research study of the relationship between tutors' self efficacy as writers and as tutors. They highlight a "virtual cycle" between the two and also discuss the value of tutors arriving at well-founded self-efficacies.

Kelsey Hixson-Bowles and Roger Powell

Chapter 9. Exploring and Enhancing Writing Tutors' Resource-Seeking Behaviors Crystal Conzo evaluates data from her focus group research and surveys to investigate tutors' resource-seeking habits and to determine the impact these strategies have on tutorial success. Her research revealed a need to improve tutors' resource-seeking behaviors in her center, which lead her to design a workshop and guidelines to enhance tutors' development of these habits.

Crystal Conzo

Chapter 10. Practitioner Action Research on Writing Center Tutor Training:
Critical Discourse Analysis of Reflections on Video-recorded Sessions
Mary Pigliacelli describes practitioner action research using critical discourse analysis to explore tutors' understandings of their work, as expressed in their written reflections on video-recorded tutoring sessions, in order to facilitate the development of six essential categories of tutor knowledge to be developed for tutor education and support.

Mary Pigliacelli

Chapter 11. The Role of the Tutor in Developing and Facilitating Writing
Center Workshops
Rebecca Crews and Katie Garahan present survey responses from a national survey of more than 200 writing center professionals about the roles tutors play in developing and facilitating workshops. Rebecca and Katie offer several valuable purposeful practices based on their data.

Rebecca Crews and Katie Garahan

Chapter 12. Teaching, Learning, and Practicing Professionalism in the Writing Center Tom Earles and Leigh Ryan recount the development of a writing center "Code of Professionalism," from conception and composition through adoption and revision. Using the collective insights of tutors, Tom and Leigh describe how tutors created their own code to teach and encourage professionalism among writing center staff.

Tom Earles and Leigh Ryan

Chapter 13. Our Professional Descendents: Preparing Graduate Writing Consultants Katrina Bell describes an empirical study of how graduate consultants are prepared for writing center work through a survey of writing center directors and artifact analysis of curriculum documents submitted as supplements to survey responses. Based on her data, Kat then offers suggestions for building successful professional development programs for graduate student consultants.

Katrina Bell


Chapter 14. Prioritizing Antiracism in Writing Tutor Education Kristina Aikens draws from personal experience, survey data and other input from writing tutors, and published scholarship to argue that antiracist pedagogy, based on discussions of the complex relationships between writing in the academy and institutionalized oppression, must be central to the project of educating writing tutors.

Kristina Aikens

Chapter 15. The Role of New Media Expertise in Shaping Writing Consultations Jessica Clements coded tutorial session transcripts to better understand how a tutor's new media expertise might affect a writing tutorial's overall effectiveness. She finds tutors' confidence may impact effectiveness more than their new media expertise and offers practical suggestions for building new media composing confidence in existing tutor education programs.

Jessica Clements

Chapter 16. Learning Online to Tutor Online Dan Gallagher and Aimee Maxfield describe the online tutor education program of a virtual writing center that prepares tutors to respond to writing through advice letters, audio and video feedback, multimedia resources, and recorded synchronous tutoring sessions. Dan and Aimee share how their online tutor education helps prepare tutors to facilitate the online learning experience to better support writers.

Dan Gallagher and Aimee Maxfield

Chapter 17. Developing a Multilingual and Interdisciplinary Writing Center: Reviewing
Goals and Activities from the Graduate Writing Consultant Workshop
Katherine DeLuca and Hsing-Yin Cynthia Lin share the curriculum and materials from a graduate workshop which educated non-native English speaking and other graduate students from diverse backgrounds to work in their center. They argue that the workshop diversified their staff and shaped their center into a multilingual, interdisciplinary campus unit.

Katherine DeLuca and Hsing-Yin Cynthia Lin

Chapter 18. Let's Meet in the Lounge: Toward a Cohesive Tutoring Pedagogy in a
Writing and Speaking Center
Sarah Peterson Pittock and Erica Cirillo-McCarthy describe cross-tutor training in a combined writing and speaking center that develops the tutoring expertise of both writing and speaking tutors through a workshop series focused on rhetorical and pedagogical issues of common concern.

Sarah Peterson Pittock and Erica Cirillo-McCarthy

About the Editors

Karen Gabrielle Johnson directs undergraduate and graduate writing tutoring as well as writing fellow programs at Shippensburg University. Her research has focused on the impact tutoring has on writing improvement and students' perceptions of their improvement and writing support. She has served on the IWCA and MAWCA Executive Boards and is currently serving as a Co-editor of WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship.

Ted Roggenbuck directs the Writing and Literacy Engagement Studio at Bloomsburg University, an undergraduate peer center. His research focuses on literacy and patchwriting. He is also currently a Co-editor of WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship.

Publication Information: Johnson, Karen G., and Ted Roggenbuck, editors. How We Teach Writing Tutors: A WLN Digital Edited Collection. 2019,

Web Publication Date: January 15, 2019

Contact Information:

Karen Johnson:

Ted Roggenbuck:

Copyright © 2019 Karen Gabrielle Johnson and Ted Roggenbuck. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 United States License. 19 chapters, with notes, graphics, illustrations, weblinks, videos, tables, figures, and bibliographies. You may view this digital edited collection. You may print personal copies of this collection. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this digital edited collection on another Web site.

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