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Dear LouAnn,

We don't have official contracts with our tutors, but we do expect that they
will fulfill their promise to work as agreed unless difficult circumstances
arise.  Of course, any resignation or significant reduction in hours hurts
the overall operation of the Learning Center and service offered to
students.  But our tutors are students themselves with all the attendant
pressures, so we try to be graceful when they have to back out of a
commitment.

I don't know how large your tutor staff is, but we employ about 40 each
semester.  Many have been here several semesters.  We try hard to offer
little perks when we can (budget allowing).  For example, we bring in snacks
regularly (popcorn, apples, pretzels, other munchies).  During tutor
training sessions when we watch student-produced videos, we offer popcorn
and bottled water as refreshments.  The tutors love this.  At Halloween
time, I made treat bags with each tutor's name on the bag.  This really
tapped into the kid in everyone (don't forget the administrative staff and
secretary).  In this last week of class, we brought in large trays of
homemade holiday cookies--a big draw for beleaguered tutors working here and
schlogging through end-of-semester papers and tests.

During the semester I make myself available to any tutors who just want to
talk/vent about their workload, plans for grad school, GRE's, etc.  I think
it's important for our tutors to know that they are really valued and cared
about as staff members and very hard-working students.  I send e-mails
regularly to praise a particular session I have eavesdropped on or to
compliment a well-written professor report the tutor(s) sent.  This is also
another opportunity to give tutor training in bits and pieces and to suggest
alternative delivery of service as needed.  The tutors react very favorably
to the continuing dialogue throughout the semester.

We offer our tutors help with resumes, cover letters, and job interviews,
focusing on the transfer of many tutorial skills to the professional
workplace.  Tutors feel supported and know they can count on the Learning
Center for great recommendations for employment and grad schools.

We believe the loyalty of our tutors (many of whom stay with us for 6 or 7
semesters) comes more from job satisfaction than from high pay (ranging
between $6.25/hr-$8.25/hr).  A few of our seniors and fifth-year tutors stay
in this job rather than working at more lucrative jobs because they love the
work and get great rewards from helping other students.  And I love
supervising these wonderful young adults.

Hope these comments aren't too toucy-feely for your needs, and I do realize
that many tutorial centers are hamstrung by financial and operational
difficulties we don't face here, but I believe that the caring atmosphere is
relatively inexpensive and the returns are significant.

Good Luck!

Judy Villa



-----Original Message-----
From: Oppitz, LouAnn [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2000 11:35 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Tutor contracts


I also would be interested in such a contract.  However, I do have mixed
feelings about contracts.  Sometimes personal situations occur that prevent
students from fulfilling their tutoring obligations.  At this point, I would
be over joyed to keep them for an entire semester.  This fall, it has been
particularly difficult to keep all of my tutors.  The biggest problem for us
is that the economy is good, and students can earn more off campus.  We pay
first year tutors $7.00 per hour and second year tutors $8.00 (after they
have worked 200 hours.)

Also, being a community college, the tutors have many other obligations such
as family, other jobs, etc.

Has anyone else had this problem with tutors quitting midsemester?  I came
in one Monday morning in October and was greeted by the resignation(for
personal reasons) of one(who had requested 20 hours per week)followed by the
slowdown of another(who had requested 15 hours per week)who could now only
work 4 hours per week because he had obtained another job off campus(I had
spoken with him just the previous week about his tutor hour load: whether it
was too heavy or too light).  Both of whom were math tutors which comprise
about half of our tutor requests.

Can I require them to give me a two week notice if they need to quit for
justifiable reasons?  Of course then what do I consider justifiable reasons?

Does anyone out there have any suggestions?  They would be greatly
appreciated.

I'll get down off my soapbox now.

LouAnn Oppitz
Peer Tutoring Coordinator
Inver Hills Community College
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

-----Original Message-----
From: Lynnae DOPP [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2000 12:48 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Tutor contracts


Do any of you include on your "tutor employment contract" a clause
asking/requiring them to stay and work for the department for at least a
year?  I realize the problems with enforcing such a requirement, but do you
indicate in writing anywhere that you are counting on a 1-year commitment?
If so, could you please send me a copy of your contract?  Responses may be
e-mailed to me directly at [log in to unmask]

Thanks
Lynnae Dopp
Weber State University
Ogden, UT