The Writing Fellows Program is a cornerstone of DePaul’s University Center for Writing-based Learning. It is comprised of peer-writing tutors who are matched with classes that they work with throughout the duration of the quarter. There are two, two-week sessions in which tutors first provide writers with written feedback and then meet with them face-to-face in order to discuss their drafts. While the UCWbL provides numerous opportunities for tutors to work with writers, Fellowing creates a unique environment in which UCWbLers can truly get to know students and work with them over an extended period of time.
This year, several helpful changes have been made to the wonderful Writing Fellows program. Now, there is much less coordination that falls on the shoulders of student tutors, creating more time for collaboration, meaningful revision, and more effective appointments overall. Fellowing is a fundamental aspect of DePaul’s Writing Center and, now, it has been reinvigorated and rejuvenated in the best way possible.
A Brief Breakdown of the Changes:
1. Tutors now conduct all Fellowing appointments during their scheduled shifts.
In the past, peer writing tutors were responsible for scheduling appointments on their own time. While this provided a certain level of flexibility, it also lead to a lot of stress, miscommunication, and an unequal workload throughout the quarter. Now, each and every Fellowing appointment is scheduled during a tutor’s regular shift, cutting down on the level of unpredictability that often accompanied the Fellowing program in past years.
2. Tutors do not need to provide as much availability.
In the past, tutors were responsible for providing a large amount of availability from all areas of their schedule. Now, because Fellowing appointments take place during UCWbL shift hours, there are fewer surprises and frustrations.
3. Tutors are not expected to reschedule missed appointments.
An large portion of the stress that sometime accompanies Fellowing, used to stem from time coordination issues. Because the Writing Center is dedicating to helping all writers to the best of our abilities, if writers missed appointments, tutors often wanted to accommodate and attempt to reschedule them. While Fellows are still expected to be flexible, there is not as much pressure to fit every writer in if they do not show up to an appointment. Thus, the level of burnout within the program has already decreased immensely and paved the way for more energetic and effective appointments.
4. Tutors can easily keep track of the status of student drafts and meetings.
Previously, it took a great amount of time to keep track of whether or not writers had submitted drafts and attended meetings. Now, there is a simple Google Document in which peer tutors can record the names of the writers that they are working with and select whether or not they have submitted their assignments and attended face-to-face meetings from a drop down menu.
5. Staff keeps track of the dates that Fellowing will occur.
Though tutors are still responsible for setting a schedule with the professor during the initial meeting, tutors are now provided with a list of dates during which the first and second round of Fellowing with occur, are blocked off for the appropriate amount of hours, and are provided with a list of these hours so that they can easily create a sign-up sheet for writers.
The changes that characterize the Writing Fellows Program this year are exciting, meaningful, and honor the time of both tutor and writer. They decrease the amount of time spent coordinating and increase the amount of time spent working with incredible writers. The Fellowing program is a staple in the UCWbL community and has undergone changes that will ensure it is a lasting component of the Writing Center.