New leadership in the Writing Center

By ANNABELLA TWOMEY

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research saw recent changes in leadership and methodology under the direction of Genie Giaimo, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric, who came to Middlebury as director of the writing center this fall.

Giaimo has introduced new training and tutor outreach procedures intended to enhance the peer tutoring experience by formalizing and professionalizing the tutoring staff, broadening the application pool and tracking the effectiveness of tutoring sessions. “We are working to make the writing center more inclusive and diverse,” she said.

“Dr. Giaimo brings a holistic approach to writing tutoring,” said Grace Carroll ’22, a writing tutor who started in the fall. Carroll said student tutors are now required to attend a Health and Wellness workshop, in addition to the practical writing training they always receive.

Until this year, writing tutor positions were only available to faculty-selected nominees for the Ward Prize, a first-year writing award. Ward Prize nominees will no longer automatically receive tutor positions. Prospective tutors will be now be required to submit a formal application, including a resume, cover letter, faculty or staff recommendation, and writing sample. However,  the recommendation and writing sample will be waived for Ward Prize nominees and students who take Giaimo’s “Issues and Methods in Tutoring Writing” course. Giaimo said the course will emphasize qualitative and quantitative research methods, building onto existing writing center strategies.

Giaimo shared that tutors had already begun to respond positively to the changes. “My experience at other writing centers has taught me that in order to have a flexible, confident and satisfied staff, training needs to be substantive but also responsive to tutors’ and students’ needs,” she said.

For Commons and Writing Center drop-in hours, visit go/writingctlr.