Cultivating Professional Writing Tutor Identities at a Two-Year College
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Since their inception, writing centers at two-year colleges have had to be creative in their methods of maintaining a staff of tutors who can meet the writing support needs of their student writers. As early as 1981, Gary Olson noted, “[s]taffing the center is perhaps the most difficult problem two-year colleges encounter” (21). In contrast to writing centers at fouryear institutions, which traditionally rely on peer tutors, the trend at two-year colleges, as noted by Leslie Roberts in 2008, has been to employ a wide variety of tutors, such as English instructors, professional tutors, and volunteers, in addition to peer tutors. Because writing tutors at two-year colleges come from a wide variety of backgrounds, they similarly bring a wide variety of experiences to their work. And while these varied backgrounds and experiences can potentially enrich the tutorials of student writers at two-year colleges, they can also potentially result in a disconnect between the writing tutors’ expectations for the tutorial and the best practices in the field.