To Debbie Kimberlin who asked "What do you do to encourage tutors to attend
tutor meetings?"

Actually, Debbie, our tutors are required to attend an all-day tutor
training workshop (certified by CRLA) before they begin working as tutors.
We pay them for their attendance, but if they are not willing to give up a
Saturday (usually also the first home football game -- but why would anyone
at Rutgers care?), we acknowledge that they are probably not willing to
accept the parameters of the tutoring that we expect of them.

On the rare occasion that a newly-hired tutor is actually _unable_ to
attend (for example, an unexpected documented illness or religious
reasons), then he is given an extensive independent series of activities to
complete before he will be scheduled.  These activities include viewing
videotapes of some of the training components, some readings, meetings with
certified tutors who are currently working in their subject area, a meeting
with a professor in each of the areas for which he will tutor -- and
documentation with discussion of each of the activities.  It's actually
easier to attend the workshop -- and we feed them breakfast and a pizza
dinner, too.

In addition, to receive their certification and to continue tutoring from
one semester to the next, every tutor must attend 3 in-service workshops
during the semester.  We offer each workshop at 2 or 3 different times so
that each tutor can find a convenient time to attend.  Non-attendance means
no working...

The great majority of our tutors _really_ want the national certification
(the awards ceremony and celebration is a very big event on our campuses!)
and they know up front that certification means that you have met every
aspect of the requirements.

We don't provide activities for the tutors which are voluntary -- they have
enough of that available to them throughout the university.  So, for this
job, training and participation in this very important aspect of their job
is essential.

Also, Debbie, I learned long ago that you only need to provide one or two
examples for some to get the message.  A number of years ago one of our
center directors complained about her "best" calculus tutor and how
unreliable she was about coming to in-service sessions and being late for
her scheduled hours on the job.  I finally gave her a directive:  give this
student one more change, and tell her that it is her last chance before she
is fired.  Then do it!  With much trepidation, the director actually fired
this "terrific" tutor after she was once again late.  And the student was
astounded!  She begged and begged to be allowed to continue tutoring,
exclaiming all the while that she would never be late again.  However, the
director told her that he rehire was contingent upon her ability to
convince me (the University Director over the 5 centers) that she would
turn over a new leaf.  The girl wrote a beautiful letter to me expounding
on her dedication to the tutoring position and her commitment to work as
expected.  I let the letter sit on my desk for a couple of weeks, and the
director explained to the other tutors that she didn't know whether the
troublesome individual would be hired back or not.  Eventually, after about
2 1/2 weeks, I called the girl and asked her to explain the situation, why
she was fired, and what plans she had for changing the situation.  We did
hire her back, and she was a changed person.  In addition, every tutor in
that center knows that there are _real_ consequences to non-performance or
not demonstrating commitment to a work agreement.

We have over 300 undergraduate peer tutors working in our centers on 6
sites, and we do have tutors who fail on their commitment from time to
time.  But, threats do not bring them in.  Knowing that all actions have
consequences is important to all  workers.

Good luck!

Karen G. Smith
Rutgers University's Learning Resource Centers
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