Writing Center Employment
The Vassar College Writing Center is staffed by undergraduate, peer-consultants who work one-to-one with student writers. Peer-consultants are experienced academic readers and writers who have both the empathy and intellectual curiosity to work with writers from the full range of disciplines in the Arts, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Multidisciplinary Programs. In addition to demonstrating strong writing and speaking skills, peer consultants are personable, reliable, and enjoy talking about writing in all its various forms. Beyond affecting students’ academic lives in positive and meaningful ways, each peer-consultant hones their own teaching and writing abilities through participation in ongoing conversations about consultation practices, composition theory, and the politics of literacy.
Students who take English/Media Studies 214, “Process, Prose, Pedagogy,” will be given preference for Writing Center employment; it is not, however, a pre-requisite for employment. The course is an exploration of writing in the academy. As such, we consider how writing is an act of knowledge creation as well as a communicative practice. Further, we compare critical theories about the teaching and learning of writing and develop our own writing pedagogies. The aim of this course, then, is to help you develop both a practice and a habit of mind––a way of writing and a way of thinking about writing’s disparate set of concerns ranging from matters of argumentation and evidence to questions of style, coherence, and correctness. And they are questions. The ways in which writers present their work and their reasons for doing so are as diverse, complex, and unique as the writers themselves. How might the teaching and tutoring of writing best encourage and support such a diverse community? To answer this, we must also ask, “What is an argument?” “How do we produce and substantiate them?” “What is Authorship for that matter?” The whole point of our seminar (a joint exploration) is to answer these questions––as best we can––and to pose new questions altogether.
Diversity of perspectives is important to us. We therefore strongly encourage applicants from all backgrounds and disciplines to apply for Writing Center employment. Working as a peer consultant in the Writing Center is a full-year commitment that requires dedication (of mind and heart) and time. Current peer-consultants report that Writing Center employment is roughly the equivalent of taking an additional course. Please consider your academic and extracurricular commitments when deciding to apply. Peer-consultants must be able to work a minimum of eight hours per week, which includes attending and actively participating in all mandatory (and paid) training and professional-development meetings, completing confidential consultation reports following each session, and serving on one of the three Writing Center working groups: Programming, Development, and Outreach.
Peer-consultants in the Writing Center are student employees of Vassar College. As such, each consultant should expect to conduct themselves in a professional manner that reflects the values and mission of the College. This includes a willingness to work with a diverse student population and a willingness to abide by academic conventions and standards that govern scholarly communication. The Vassar College Writing Center and its staff adhere to the principles, policies, and pedagogies set forth by the International Writing Centers Association, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and the National Council of Teachers of English. On campus, we are a community that believes writing matters; therefore, we seek to advance our understanding of social theories of writing, writing processes, and linguistic and cultural differences that inform the practice of writing described by these professional organizations.
To apply for Writing Center employment, please submit the following materials to Dr. Schultz as a single .pdf document via email by Friday, April 19, 2019:
- Cover Letter that discusses your interest in peer-writing consulting and any relevant experience;
- Résumé or CV; and
- Writing sample that showcases your facility with academic prose (at least 5 double-spaced pages)
For full consideration, all materials must be received by Friday, April 19, 2019. Applicants are welcome to visit the Writing Center to speak with a peer-consultant about their experiences working in the Center and about job responsibilities in advance of submitting an application. You may also seek feedback on your application materials from the Writing Center staff.Applicants selected for first-round interviews will be notified by April 29, 2019. Final hiring decisions will be made before exam week in May. If you have any questions, please email Dr. Schultz.