Become a Tutor

What It Takes to Become a Writing Commons Tutor

To become tutors, students must have writing talent, strong interpersonal skills, and preparation.  To succeed and advance, tutors must continue their professional development. The Writing Commons also offers employment as Office Assistants, Interns and Volunteers.

For detailed job descriptions and information on minimum job qualifications for becoming a Tutor or an Office Assistant in the Writing Commons, login to Handshake and search for these positions.  


Successful tutors are successful writers.  More importantly, they are able to reflect on their writing processes and explain these processes to others.  It is not enough to write well. Prospective tutors must be able to communicate with diverse audiences about writing.

People Skills

Tutors must be excellent listeners.  They must exhibit an unusual level of patience, persistence, and flexibility in order to meet the needs of Writing Commons users. They must demonstrate teamwork, professionalism, and leadership to succeed in our highly collaborative work environment.


3-Credit-Hour Upper Division ENGLISH Course

Undergraduate students who wish to be considered for positions as fully-qualified Writing Commons tutors must successfully complete a 3-credit hour online course, ENG 41194, Tutoring of Writing, during or before their first semester of employment as Trainees. At the discretion of the Instructor of the course (the Director of the Writing Commons), students may work in the Writing Commons while enrolled in the course.  This rigorous upper-division course introduces tutor trainees and prospective trainees to writing center theory and practice, provides practical experience tutoring, and a complete introduction to tutoring in person and online.  The course involves a significant amount of reading in rhetoric and composition theory as well as writing center methods.  The course is a hybrid online course, requiring weekly participation in hands-on activities, reflections on reading and experience, and final project and final exam are required. Continued employment in the Writing Commons, requires that students earn a final grade of B+ or better in ENG 41194; as well as recommendations from the Writing Commons Senior Staff; and the approval of the Director. 

ENG 41194 counts as an upper-division English elective, counts toward English Major "Writing and Language Study" requirements, and counts for the Writing Minor.  It also counts toward Experiential Learning and Diversity university requirements.


Ongoing Professional Development

Tutors are expected to develop themselves professionally throughout their semesters of employment.  Professional development includes required weekly staff meetings and in-service training days, online tutoring training, continued coursework, presenting research at professional conferences, working on outreach projects, and developing resources. 

Meetings and In-Service Days

Tutors attend staff meetings and in-service training days each semester as their minimal professional development requirements.

Online Writing Lab Preparation Course

Tutors who have not successfully completed ENG 41198 undergo intensive training to learn response techniques for working with writers in our Online Writing Lab (OWL).  Once OWL-Certified, tutors are considered Senior Tutors and may assist in training new tutors.

Ongoing Professional Development Courses

We offer Individual Investigations on nine different writing center issues as well as a "build your own" option for tutors who want to develop their own course of study.  Topics range from Plagiarism Prevention to Advanced Online Tutoring, to ESL Writers, Research and Conference Preparation, and more. The course, ENG 41096 is registration by permit only.


Tutors develop tutoring resources for the Writing Commons based on their interests, expertise, and the needs of the campus community.  Past projects have included web design, public relations, mini-lessons, handouts, promotional materials, event planning, and training materials.


Tutors create and facilitate 50-minute writing workshops based on their individual areas of expertise.  Past workshop topics include science writing, RefWorks, resumes and cover letters, paraphrasing, plagiarism, understanding assignments, giving feedback, outlining, commas, wordiness, and organizing.

Outreach Projects and Community Service

Tutors help develop and administer service projects in the community, such as our "Writers in Residence" program at local high schools.  Tutors facilitate class visits and tours, and help promote and develop the Writing Commons.  Past projects include book discussion groups, display cases, posters, group services, creative writing groups and more.

Conference Participation

Tutors regularly make presentations at a number of professional conferences, including the Northeast Ohio Writing Centers Association, the East Central Writing Centers Association, the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing, and the International Writing Centers Association Conference.

Think you have what it takes?  Download and complete an application packet, and then print the materials and return them to Jeanne R. Smith, Department of English, 113 Satterfield Hall, Kent State University 44242, or send them by e-mail to For detailed job descriptions and information on minimum job qualifications for becoming a Tutor or an Office Assistant in the Writing Commons, login to Flash@Work and search for these positions.  

Contact Writing Commons Director Jeanne R. Smith ( for more information.