CTL and Hume cut residential tutoring programs

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking have chosen to no longer hire residential tutors (RTs) and residential writing tutors (RWTs) and instead offer drop-in tutoring in central dorm locations beginning next academic year.

However this change does not affect the Structured Liberal Education (SLE) resident tutoring program, which is separate from the CTL and Hume programs.

According to Julia Bleakney, director of Hume, the two departments have chosen to switch over to a non-residential-based tutoring system in order to maximize use of the tutoring resources and reach out to more students. Bleakney said that because there are more houses than available tutors, tutors are unevenly distributed across campus.

By not attaching tutors to residences, CTL and Hume hope that accessibility to tutors for students will increase.

“A big benefit of having [a tutor] who is living in that dorm is because they are a recognized member of that community,” said Tim Randazzo, assistant director for tutoring and teaching programs at CTL. “However, a challenge that we’ve faced is that this tutoring is only accessible for people in that particular community.”

Randazzo also stated that the tutors’ interest in taking up the responsibilities of both a staff and tutor has been decreasing, citing the decline in number of RTs—from 16 last year to 13 this year—hired by CTL, which consistently employs around 80 total tutors every year, according to Randazzo. Comparatively, Bleakney reported that the total number of RWTs that Hume provides is lower, averaging eight to 12 in the last few years.

Additionally, CTL and Hume are working to be more flexible in their resources provided for students. Since tutor positions wouldn’t be live-in, tutoring locations, schedules and the number of tutors would be more adjustable from week to week.

“We’d be able to better move our tutors and access students with the ebb and flow of the quarter,” Bleakney said. “We can add a tutor when it’s busier and be more responsive to demands that we’re hearing about from students.”

In addition to changing their tutoring system, both CTL and Hume will be expanding drop-in and appointment hours, especially now that Hume has opened in a new location.

“One of the features we’re most excited about is that we have our own building,” said Bleakney. “We’re able to open it for much later hours. We’re not at the point where we’re offering 24/7 tutoring, but we’re just looking to maximize our resources.”

CTL similarly plans to offer more hours at its central campus tutoring location at Cubberley and Sweet Hall, said Randazzo, who also added that CTL is hoping to hire 20 additional tutors, bringing the total number of tutors to 100.

At this stage, CTL and Hume are not fully merging their services, but they are in communication and collaborating due to the similar transitions in their tutoring services for next year. The directors are currently looking for potential locations to host the drop-in tutoring.

“Our main criteria is trying to find a place accessible by all residents,” said Randazzo. “For example a lounge would not be sufficient since not everyone has access to that.”

However, not having an RWT or RT could hurt the dorm community, according to Leow Hui Min ‘16, who was thinking of becoming an RWT next year in her dorm, Casa Zapata.

“I feel you’re losing out on the opportunity for community,” Leow said.

Leow contended that when there is a resident tutor, students know that the resource is there and will be more willing to actually use the resource than in the case of a drop-in tutor that they don’t know.

“I think it’s very helpful if the tutor lives in a dorm,” Leow said, “because they’re part of the community, while [in the other case] people would have to be like, ‘Oh, I have to see someone over there to get tutoring and I don’t really know them.’”

Contact Catherine Zaw at czaw13 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.

About Catherine Zaw

Catherine Zaw is the Managing Editor of News at The Stanford Daily. She is a junior from Miami, FL, double majoring in biology and linguistics. To contact her, please email czaw13@stanford.edu.