Writing Tutors and Writing and Academic Mentors

Peer Writing Tutors

Peer Writing Tutors are trained to be the authorized help for students, to ask probing questions about the papers they read, and to make positive suggestions for improvement of those papers. Peer Writing Tutors work in college writing classes and hold evening drop-in hours at the Writing Center in the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research, Davis Family Library 225.

FYS Mentors for Academics and Writing

The First-Year Seminar Mentor for Academics and Writing serves as a mentor and writing tutor for first-year students, assisting them with writing and oral presentation skills, time and project management.The Mentor can work with students in your first-year seminar individually or in groups, either during class time or outside of class, for up to 60 hours over the course of the semester.  The Mentors will be trained, supervised, and paid by CTLR.



Peer Writing Tutors

Drop-in peer writing tutoring begins the second week of the fall and spring semesters. Drop-in Peer Writing Tutors are available for writing tutoring sessions:

7:30 pm - midnight Sunday through Thursday
(except during school vacations)

in the Center for Teaching, Learning & Research (Davis Family Library 225) and some evenings in the Commons. Commons peer writing tutoring occurs in all five Commons on various evenings.

Peer writing tutors can, also, help with oral presentation skills. Sessions usually run about 30 minutes per student. No appointment is necessary. Drop-in tutors are not available during Winter Term.


To learn more about the program, contact:

Mary Ellen Bertolini,
Writing Center Director, directs the Peer Writing Tutor and Writing and Academic Mentor Program at Middlebury College. Yonna McShane, Director of Learning Resources helps train the Writing and Academic Mentors.

Maggie Morris, Head Peer Writing Tutor. Maggie approves time, runs evening makeup sessions and assists the Program Director.

Cate Costley, Head Mentor. Cate manages and guides the Writing and Academic Mentors attached to First-Year Seminars. She helps run evening makeup sessions and assists the Program Directors.

Robert Silverstein, Manager of Drop-in Tutors. Robert manages, supervises, assigns evening shifts, creates publicity, and assists the Program Director.

Faculty will find information about using Peer Writing Tutors on the

Peer Writing Tutors and FYS Mentors at Middlebury College blog.


Using a Peer Writing Tutor or FYS Mentor

Sessions work best

  • When the tutor has a clear idea of the professor’s writing expectations for students,
  • When students in the class see the sessions with the tutor as an important part of the writing process for all students in the class, and
  • When the professor emphasizes the importance of those sessions by making them mandatory.

Best Practices

  • Meet with your peer writing tutor early in the semester or before the beginning of the semester.
  • Give a copy of your class syllabus to your peer writing tutor.
  • Make your expectations clear to the writing tutor and to your class.
  • Introduce your writing tutor to your class.
  • Make at least some sessions with the writing tutor obligatory.
  • Encourage your writing tutor to circulate a list of specific appointment times before meetings.
  • Allow your writing tutor ample time to meet with your students.
  • Stay in contact with your writing tutor through meetings, emails, and phone.
  • Download guidelines and suggestions for using PWTs here.

FYSE & CW Faculty Speak:

I have had the tutor in class for writing workshops and also meeting one-on-one with the students outside the class. The combination works well because the tutor knows what I am looking for, and the students trust the tutor.

I think the one-on one contact was helpful.

The interaction with the writing tutor makes [students] realize the importance of clarity and coherence . . . I discussed this with the tutor at the beginning of the semester.

The tutor was very useful as another voice to provide students with feedback . . . I also think that students were able to talk more candidly about the writing process [with the tutor].

The individual meetings got good feedback from most students.

I think that having an independent relationship between the students and the tutor works best.

The peer writing sessions enable the college writing students to have additional early feedback on an initial draft or key portion of their papers.

[The writing tutor] can both model a writing process and the importance of giving feedback on writing.

Peer Writing Tutors and Writing and Academic Mentors

Tutor and StudentJust as faculty benefit from having peers read their work prior to publication, students benefit from having their work read by peers before it is graded. In both cases, peer readers bring their experience - as writers of the same sort of works – to their experience as critical readers.

Faculty can have Peer Writing Tutors attached to any College Writing class. Writing and Academic Mentors are available for all First-Year Seminars. The Writing Center makes Drop-in Peer Writing Tutors available in CTLR and in the Commons.