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Bringing People Together: Help for SNL writers and UCWbL tutors April 6, 2011

Does this scenario sound familiar?  

An SNL (School for New Learning) writer comes into the writing center and sits down with a tutor to work on a draft for a portion of her Advanced Project.  The conference begins congenially, with the tutor and writer shaking hands and exchanging introductions.  Following introductions, the conversation goes something like this: 

Tutor: What would you like to work on today?

SNL Writer: I am trying to get started on my literature review for my Advanced Project.

Tutor:  Which class is this for?

SNL Writer:  It’s for my Advanced Project.

Tutor:  Yes, but which class is the project for?

SNL Writer: It’s not for any particular class, it is a graduation requirement.

Tutor: Oh. Do you have a copy of the graduation requirement with you?

SNL Writer:  Well, I have my competence statement and my annotated bibliography with me.  I thought I might be able to use it to help me figure out how to begin the literature review.

Tutor: (hesitating) Well, an annotated bibliography is a good place to start.

(Writer hands the document to the tutor, and the tutor looks over the document)

Tutor:  So it looks like your topic is communication in the workplace. Do you have a tentative thesis or a research question that the bibliography is centered around?

Writer:  Well, here’s my competence statement.

Tutor:  Oh, this seems pretty specific, almost like a thesis.  Is everyone in your class supposed to research and defend the same argument?

Writer:  There isn’t a class. My committee approved it.


As you can see, the tutoring session can be fraught with communication problems for SNL writers and for their tutors. Both can become quickly frustrated.

Rest assured that this is not the tutor’s fault, nor is it the fault of the writer.  The very nature of the SNL program is different from every other program at DePaul. While every UCWbL tutor is fully qualified to help writers with the written projects of writers and staff,  UCWbL tutors are  often unfamiliar with SNL terminology, including words and phrases like “competence statement,” “advisory committee” and “externship” as well as acronyms such as “ILP” and “PGAP.”  To make matters worse, some of the things that a tutor might ask might seem irrelevant to the SNL writer, especially when the writer is working on an ILP (Individual Learning Pursuit) or Advanced Project.

Here are some things that both the SNL writer and the UCWbL tutor can do to avoid this frustration:

UCWbL Tutor SNL Writer
  • Be sure to check the student’s WC Online profile–you should see “SNL” listed as the student’s major (although this is not always the case).
  • Learn Basic SNL Terms
  • If you don’t understand, ask the writer to clarify terms for you. For example, “Can you explain what a PGAP is?”
  • Get familiar with the SNL program at http://www.snl.de.edu/, and SNL assignments at http://snl.depaul.edu/writing/SNLAssignments.html
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from tutors who are familiar with the SNL program:

Amanda B (SCWG leader)

Bernie P (SCWG leader)

Elaine W (SCWG leader)

Heather R

Justin S (SCWG leader)

Lisa L

Maddie M (SCWG leader)

Margaret P

Marianne K (SCWG leader)

Nancy R

Tom M (SCWG director)

  • If you have not listed SNL as your Major in your WC Online profile, change your profile major to say “SNL”
  • Be prepared to explain SNL terms for your tutor.
  • When you make a new appointment, put “SNL” under course name, and the type of project under course number (i.e.; externship).  (or ask the office manager to do it for you)
  • Bring copies of relevant forms (PGAP, ILP, externship, etc.) and corresponding competence statements to your UCWbL appointment.
  • Ask for a tutor who is familiar with the SNL program, or works with Suburban Campus Writing Groups

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