PEP’s Tutoring program is an opportunity for students to get feedback from PEP professors, graduate and undergraduate student tutors and their peers, outside the classroom. It provides less structured academic spaces where students can study and work on assignments. Tutors are there to provide help in various subject areas – from calculus, to poetry, to psychology.
Tutoring is one of the few times the students may have quiet time to do their homework, and the only time they have access to computers to write and edit homework. Students in PEP take on average 2 – 4 courses per semester and thus this time is very valuable. Tutors can help students with individual courses and tutors who specialize in specific areas can be resources for the students. Tutoring also gives students the opportunity to study together in small groups, ask each other questions about homework or upcoming exams, and continue discussions from class in a collaborative environment.
“In a regular tutoring session, I may edit horror short stories or brainstorm with students on essays about Malcolm X or Sun Tzu.It’s rewarding for me because they’re all really smart, kind, and motivated students.” – Abaki (tutor since 2018)
Tutoring is a crucial aspect of PEP because it maintains an academic environment for the students, allowing free intellectual exchange and more focused revision of homework, papers and coursework.
“For me, as a graduate student studying English literature, it has been a great opportunity to work with students on written composition across a range of different disciplines–many of which I would not encounter otherwise. For the students too, I think, study hall provides a space where student explore ideas from across courses, and can engage and explore them from different perspectives.” – Anna Preus (tutor since 2015)
Wash U provides multiple three-hour time blocks for tutoring every weekday. Tutors in the program will visit MECC on a bi-weekly or weekly basis to work with the students. This allows them to cultivate relationships with the students and get to know their strengths, interests and struggles, which allows them to better serve students. Consistency from tutors is crucial and all tutors commit to at least one full semester, if not more.
Tutors proctor study halls that run for 2 hours and 50 minutes or 3 hours. There are restrictions on when these study halls may take place. Currently, tutors work in the prison during the following slots:
“Working with PEP has allowed me to grow in terms of adapting curriculums to make them more inclusive and hone my techniques in facilitating the learning process of others. Without hesitation I can say that this has been the most rewarding and eye-opening experience of my academic career.” – Siera Stoen (tutor since 2014)
Why are tutors important?
Tutors are important because they play a large role in cultivating an intellectual community at MECC, as they are also fellow students (graduate and undergraduate.) Additionally, they supervise the computer lab, which students need to be able to use to write their papers. Overall, they also help to maintain MECC and Danforth campus communication.
What do tutors do?
Tutors work with students if they have questions, need research help, want to talk through their ideas or need help editing their work. They are a source of resource for PEP students.
How often do tutors go into the prison?
Tutors visit MECC on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. They commit to being tutors for a minimum of one semester.
What kinds of courses do tutors work with students on?
Tutors work with students on the current courses that are being offered during the semester. To see what the specific courses currently are, please see our Course Listings page.
What kind of specialized opportunities are there for tutors?
In addition to the regular proctoring of the daily study halls, there may be opportunities for tutors to lead specialized workshops on topics ranging from computer skills to writing and research strategies. All proposals must receive prior DOC and PEP approval. As PEP also leads a Reading Group program for those for those who are not PEP students and may be interested in applying to PEP or in advancing their analytical skills, tutors may also have the opportunity to assist with this program.
What do I need to do to become a tutor?
If you would like to become a tutor, please fill out the application at the bottom of this page. PEP staff will then contact potential tutors for an interview. Those who proceed to the next stage after the interview will shadow a tutor for at least two sessions in MECC.
Applicants are admitted into the tutor program based on the program’s needs, applicant availability, and MECC student needs. Applicants should notify PEP administration to discuss moving forward to the final step of the tutoring process, which administered by the DOC.
The Department of Corrections requires that tutors become “Volunteers-in-Corrections” (VICs). In addition to completing a separate DOC application, tutors get two separate TB tests, a drug test and go into MECC for an interview. After admittance into the tutoring program, you will receive more detailed instructions.