Writer's Studio

Peer Tutoring

Background and History

Butler University's Peer Tutoring Program began in 1988 with tutors primarily serving a small community of motivated writers on a self-referral basis. By 1993, the tutors were accepting appointments, walk-in and professor referrals, and tutoring over 500 students per semester. By the 1997-98 term, the peer tutors were conducting over 1,500 tutoring sessions. In addition to the one-to-one conferencing, the tutors were presenting classroom workshops on different aspects of the writing process and university-wide workshops. The Peer Tutoring Program also was developing handouts and reference materials to serve the student writers of Butler. Community contacts were initiated in 1993 with a workshop for the Greater Indianapolis Literacy Project and the establishment of a monthly writing workshop for adult learners. The new writers' group published its first volume, Writing our Lives, in September 1994; a second volume followed in 1996. The Writers' Studio received the Greater Indianapolis Literacy League Community Partner of the Year Award in 1997. In addition, tutors and director presented a paper on establishing and maintaining community outreach at the National Peer Tutoring Conference in 1993, as well as director presentations and attendance at professional composition conferences.

What We Do

The Tutoring Program addresses the writing needs of Butler students across the curriculum. It provides evaluation and assistance with every stage of the writing process. The Writers' Studio is a place where student writers of all levels and concerns can share ideas and shape their writing. From its inception, the Peer Tutoring Program has focused on creating an environment where writers can talk about their work. The Studio remains student-centered, less about materials and aids, than the one-to-one experience of writing. No one pedagogy or learning philosophy dictates the day-to-day operation of Peer Tutoring. The tutor's goal is to recognize and accommodate the individual and often idiosyncratic nature of the writing process.

Peer Tutoring is based on two interrelated concepts, collaborative learning and writing as a recursive process. Collaborative learning requires students to assume an active role in their education. Students begin to understand the importance of informed dialogue as a central means of working through ideas rather than academic pursuits becoming a solitary exercise. The tutor and the student learn to participate in a cooperative rather than competitive intellectual endeavor, a way of thinking and learning which they will be required to do when they leave Butler.


Writers' Studio

Peer Tutoring
Jordan Hall, Room 304
(317) 940-9804 (Studio Desk)

Director: Susan Sutherlin
(317) 940-9802