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We've experienced similar issues recruiting tutors for the Writing Center. What has been working for us over the last 2-3 years has been:

  *   Sending current tutors (or the Director) to various affinity-based students/organizations to encourage applicants from their members (ex. Africa's Legacy, Black Student Union, Hispanic-Latinx Alliance)
  *   Reaching out to coaches to ask them to promote the job to their athletes
  *   Posting flyers to encourage applicants in our Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and getting that office's staff on board to answer questions about the position
  *   Getting really explicit about the personality and characteristics of good tutors in emails to faculty (ex. don't just send your "strongest" writers; send us your best "peer reviewers" as well as students who hit roadblocks early in the semester but are figuring out effective study skills). We also made a second email to faculty of color requesting the names of candidates that I could contact personally.
  *   Lowering the minimum GPA slightly to capture those students who have a rough start but then really learn how to study -- they are the best at giving advice to other people who are shocked by the shift to college
  *   Recruiting from the first composition class in the sequence, not the last, provided that tutors would complete the full sequence before beginning work (ex. taking freshman comp while taking the tutor training course)
  *   Gathering quick videos from tutor alums from a variety of backgrounds talking about how their Writing Center experience helps them at their current job/grad school.

This year for the first time, we also held a "behind the scenes tutor recruitment" tabling event in the courtyard in front of our library where we discussed what tutors actually do, the training they receive, the application process, and strategies for standing out during the interview.

I also have current tutors serve on a "Search Committee" with me, and I train them in HR best practices related to diversity, etc. We have conversations about what we feel like we're missing in our current staff (ex. too few STEM majors, extroverts, veterans/ROTC, parents, multilingual speakers, etc.) and focus on building a balanced cohort rather than just "these were the 'best' eight candidates."

Basically, we revamped the entire process from top to bottom, but we're seeing results in not just racial diversity but all kinds of diversity! We're not a perfect match but the overall campus, but I think we get closer every year.

I hope this helps!

Vanessa Flora-Nakoski
Writing Center Director & Lecturer in English
My Design Coordinator
Preferred Pronouns: "she, her, hers"

Writing Center Office: Hill Hall 102
Faculty Office: Hill Hall 205

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Subject: Diversity Recruiting Practices for Tutoring Centers

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Hi everyone,

I am developing a strategic plan with the goal of increasing the diversity of the staff recruited and hired by my institution's tutoring center. Certain ethnicities and ages are significantly underrepresented among the current tutoring staff, and we fear this might result in the tutoring center underserving specific populations of students (such as older students) due to lack of sufficient representation among the tutoring staff. This staffing discrepancy currently exists because the tutoring center primarily receives applications from niche, non-representative groups of students. I suspect this is, at least in part, because the tutoring center has been passively receiving applicants rather than taking a proactive recruiting approach.

Specifically, I am seeking your suggestions on best practices to support proactive diversity recruiting efforts. We are finding that it is not enough to simply welcome applications from anyone, and that instead some kind of mentorship and active outreach is probably necessary to help more students realize that they can succeed as tutors. Anecdotally, a recent hire notified our staff that she hadn't originally considered applying because none of the other tutors looked like her. Similarly, we encounter many tutees who would make excellent tutors, but who are hesitant to apply because they feel like they're not "smart enough" to be tutors (even with regular encouragement from the tutors they receive support from).

If you have any success stories, best practices, and recommendations related to proactive diversity recruiting efforts, please let me know. I also welcome any general information or anecdotes related to diversity and tutoring centers. My hope is that, by cultivating a more representative team of tutors, more students will feel that tutoring is a safe and inviting space for them to receive academic support.

Sincerely,
Keegan Phillips
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[She / Her / Hers]
Research Analyst
Institutional Research
Truckee Meadows Community College
7000 Dandini Blvd | Reno, NV 89512
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