Orientation and Education for Writing Fellows

New writing fellows participate in both a week-long summer orientation and a fall semester seminar.


All new writing fellows must return to Tufts before classes begin for one week of intensive, hands-on training and to conduct academic integrity workshops for incoming students.

Fall Semester Seminar

This seminar is a hands-on, interactive pedagogy course for new writing fellows. Together we will read, discuss, and write about scholarly articles on education and writing center theory. We will combine this inquiry with hands-on activities and reflection, as well as a supportive forum for discussing practical tutoring experiences.

By the end of the seminar, you should be able to explain prevailing theories and begin developing your own philosophy in two main areas:

  1. The art of tutoring writing, which includes:
    • Effectively responding to a writer’s text
    • Navigating between directive and nondirective tutoring methods
    • Employing various tutoring strategies
    • Engaging students, including resistant ones
    • Tutoring across linguistic and cultural differences
    • Applying a critical lens to language-based issues of institutionalized oppression
    • Identifying writing conventions for different disciplines
    • Recognizing and responding to plagiarism
  2. The craft of writing, which requires you to consider:
    • Relationships between writing, thinking, and oral communication
    • Relationships between writing and power
    • Writing as a means of synthesizing, reflecting on, and producing knowledge
    • Academic writing as a creative activity
    • Your own process and development as a writer 
    • Writing processes and styles that differ from your own

The pedagogy course is an Experimental College full-credit, pass/fail course only offered in the fall semester concomitantly with your first semester as a writing fellow. The workload is significant and the course is pass/fail in order to discourage competition among writing fellows. You should not petition for a course overload (beyond 5.5 credits for students in the school of Arts and Sciences; 6.5 for students in the school of Engineering) while taking the course.

Ongoing Education

After the first semester, writing fellows continue their education by participating in monthly training meetings, observations of sessions, and reading groups to discuss new strategies and theories. Writing fellows in their second or third year in the program also have the opportunity to mentor new writing fellows, another possibility to develop as tutors and leaders.