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Writing Centre Resource Guide

Welcome!

About this Guide

As a university student, you are required to write in many different forms for a variety of audiences. The most common types of writing are academic assignments, such as essays, research papers, and business or lab reports. These assignments are usually rather formal, demanding good reading and academic writing skills. They require you to research a topic and then develop a thesis (a perspective, a point of view), which is backed up with evidence from peer-reviewed resources or primary sources (e.g. a novel). In addition, there are less academic items to write, such as emails to your professors and graduate school or job applications. Each of these types of writing follows specific conventions and demands a range of writing skills.

This guide will help you with all the types of writing you need to do at university.

Would You Benefit from a Writing Tutor?

I got good grades in High School and I think I am a pretty good writer. 

I don’t need to go to the Writing Centre.

Although this may be true to some extent, all writers benefit from reviewing their work with a writing tutor.  The expectations of writing at the University level are very different from High School and having someone experienced in academic writing give you feedback can be very helpful.  The Writing Centre is available to work with students from all disciplines and at any phase in the writing process.

Everybody Writes

Whether you are an incoming first year student, a PhD candidate, a Professor, or a professional employee, everybody writes.  The following videos explore how various people approach writing and how they overcome the challenges that we all face.

Fall Employment: Writing Tutors

The Dalhousie Writing Centre is looking for qualified tutors to work at the Centre. Tutors will meet with students to review their written assignments so that students can learn to be independent learners and writers. By encouraging students to enter the conversation on writing, tutors help students to adapt to disciplinary conventions, understand strategies for writing various genres, and produce better written work. The major focus is always student writing developmenand not document/assignment fixing or editing. We want students to experience success in their academic work and grow in independence.

Applicants need not be experienced writing tutors; however, preference will be given to students who can draw on English as a native language tutoring experience (here at Dalhousie or elsewhere) and international/English as a Second or Additional Language student writing support experience. These tutors should be in third or fourth year or graduate/professional school and be very strong writers and oral communicators in English, proven through excellent academic achievement. That means, applicants MUST be excellent academic students. The ability to work independently and as a member of a team is highly valued since tutors work alone and with faculty, staff and other tutors. 

The Dalhousie Writing Centre makes a special effort to recruit tutors from a variety of disciplines so that it can offer services to students who come from different disciplines and programs. (Note: That means that you can be a very good candidate and not be selected for an interview or a position because we already have tutors in your field. We do keep applications and are often able to interview later as the term begins.) We are particularly interested now in students from History, Sociology, Social Work, English, Engineering, Health Sciences, and Management, but applicants from all fields are encouraged to apply.

Responsibilities

Tutoring duties

  • Greet incoming students warmly and show a genuine interest in their situation and concerns
  • Ask questions – generally, listen more than talk
  • Offer advice on the writing process, understanding assignments, grammar, documentation (citing appropriately), good practices for success at university, and so on
  • Complete online reviews of written documents if requested by staff
  • Refer students to campus services if requested or students require those services (e.g., Medical clinic, Studying for Success, Academic Advising)
  • Record notes on appointments with students
  • Offer instructional sessions or assist a staff member or senior tutor with a class presentation or small group activity (termed outreach)

Additional duties

  • Use time that isn’t booked with incoming students productively by:
    • Learning more about writing theory and practice, especially writing done in other fields
    • Learning more about strategies for writing, organization of material, and common grammar and punctuation mistakes
    • Documenting non-student contact work in the Centre such as the reading or discussions with other tutors and staff
  • Support other tutors and staff in the Centre (we are a community of practice) by:
    • Engaging in discussions on writing theory and practice
    • Sharing articles or website material on writing issues or pedagogical issues that could inform other tutors
  • Respond to email and telephone queries and make appointments when necessary
  • Participate in orientations and other promotional activities when requested

Note: The demand for tutoring appointments reflects the rhythm of the university term (e.g., high demand from early October to exams; lower demand in early September and mid-December). Therefore, tutors are likely to be offered more hours of work during high demand times and slightly fewer hours during lower demand times. 

Qualifications

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in the English language ("A" range marks especially in but not limited to writing courses)
  • Solid understanding of writing issues (the writing process, disciplinary writing, grammar, and appropriate citation methods)
  • Familiarity with the theory of writing instruction (and/or open to the discussions on the topic)
  • Experience as a tutor, teaching assistant, or teacher considered an asset
  • Patience with students struggling to adapt to disciplinary demands
  • Experience with English as an Additional Language student written work considered an asset
  • Computer skills (Word, Internet, scheduling software)
  • Ability to work well in a team and independently

In other words, tutors must be analytical readers, great listeners, self-aware in respect to writing processes, strong students, interested in a broad range of academic fields, and so on. They must enjoy working with students, have patience, commit to supporting student success, and accept that in many ways they will be role models for other students.

Pay reflects current student status (e.g. undergraduate are paid $12/hour, master level at $15/hour and PhD at $20.00)

Apply through mycareer.dal.ca (Job ID: 74150)