Become a Tutor | Kent State University

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 Flash@Work and search for these positions.  


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

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 Distance Learning 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 39895, Special Topics in Rhetoric and Composition, during or before their first semester of employment. 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 prospective and novice tutors 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.  Weekly discussion participation, reflective journaling, and a substantial final project are required. To remain in the Writing Commons, students must earn a final grade in the course of B+ or better as well as earn recommendations from the Writing Commons Senior Staff and approval from the Director.

ENG 39895 counts as an upper-division English elective, counts toward English Major "Writing and Language Study" requirements, and counts for the Writing Minor.

1-Credit-Hour Individual Investigation (by permit only)

Undergraduate tutors who do not earn acceptance through ENG 39895 may enroll in an Individual Investigation, ENG 41096, at the sole discretion of the Director, to address gaps in their professional development while still remaining at training wage for 5 hours a week. At the end of that semester, the prospective tutor would be eligible to apply to continue with the Writing Commons. During this Individual Investigation, perspective and novice tutors learn through individualized course readings, from observations of Senior Tutors, through weekly staff meetings, and by being mentored by the Lead Tutors. Tutors create a final project for the course and demonstrate effective tutoring.

Established Writing Commons Tutors may enroll in ENG 41096 to further their professional development in a variety of Writing Center Topics (see below).

"Plus-1 Credit " Service Learning Opportunities

We now offer two new ways to become involved with the Writing Commons through the "Plus-1" credit program offered by the Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement. Because these experiences offer less formal development of rhetorical and writing center theoretical concepts than ENG 39895, prospective tutors who successfully complete a Plus-1 credit experience at the Writing Commons are eligible for employment only as novice tutors (at the sole discretion of the Director), and will need to take ENG 41096 during their subsequent semester to address gaps in their professional development.

Writing Commons “Try Us Out” Program

Volunteer a minimum of 45 hours during a semester at the Writing Commons as a tutor, and earn a credit hour in Experiential Education through the OEECE.  You will work alongside veteran Writing Commons tutors. Your training time is included in your 45-hour commitment.  This program represents an ideal opportunity to see if becoming a tutor is right for you, or just to learn more about writing centers as sites of service. The Experiential Education credit is free, and can be attached to any relevant coursework.  You may choose to apply this Plus-1 opportunity as “Engaged Service Learning” or as "Engaged Service Scholarship,” depending on the level of the course and your intention to research. 

Writing Commons Community Service Project

Volunteer a minimum of 45 hours during the semester at our high school community service site, “The Writers in Residence” program at Theodore Roosevelt High school in Kent, at Stow-Monroe Falls High School, Tallmadge High School, or Aurora High School; or help us to establish or develop a new high school writing center.  Earning this credit hour in Experiential Education is an ideal opportunity for students in Education to gain more field experience. This Plus-1 credit experience may be attached to any relevant coursework.  The High School Writing Center Service Learning Opportunity can lead to the application of your credit hours as "Engaged Service Learning” or as "Engaged Service Scholarship,” depending on the level of the course to which you attach the credit hour, and on your intention to produce research.

Interested in Service Learning at the Writing Commons?  Learn more about Plus-1 Credit opportunities at Kent State University, and contact Dr. Tina Kandakai, Coordinator of the Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement at ( for more information.

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

Online Writing Lab Preparation Course

Tutors who have not successfully completed ENG 39895 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.

Tutor QualificationsOffice Assistant Qualifications

Tutor Application in MS Word Format    Tutor Application (PDF)