TU-Peer Writing Tutor Alumni Research Project
Writing Center alums reflect on their experiences
In 2019, Transylvania University’s Writing Center (TUWC) were interested in learning more about their alums. As part of this process, we reviewed Bradley Hughes, Paula Gillespie and Harvey Kail’s “What They Take with Them: Findings from the Peer Writing Tutor Alumni Research Project,” or PWTARP. This project, which explored the impact of tutoring on tutors themselves, was insightful, especially as each of us was preparing to begin our time as on-campus tutors. We learned that tutoring would impact us in a variety of ways, including the development of personal and professional skills, a new relationship with writing, and an interest in collaboration.
Still, in discussing PWTARP, we recognized that something was missing. Hughes, Gillespie, and Kail had only focused on large universities, a category that did not include Transylvania University. Could it be different for a small, liberal arts college? We decided to find out by replicating PWTARP. We corresponded with 56 alums of Transylvania University’s Writing Center, sending them each a survey with both questions from the original as well as new questions, which were intended to provide data pertaining to the specific impact of Transylvania University on their experiences. We then coded these responses to identify three common themes, which aligned with the original study, as well as an additional theme: TU Extra. Our version of this study, then, showcases the unique and distinctive nature of the small, liberal arts experience. We discovered that TUWC alums were greatly impacted by their experience as staffers, especially within their personal, professional, and civic lives. Below, you will find some results.