Weekly Learning Tips for First-Year Students

CTL offers Weekly Learning Tips for First-Year students. The series is designed to provide HWS first-year students with study and learning strategies as they embark on a new academic journey at HWS and connect with the HWS community. These same tips can be found on the CTL Blackboard site. If you have ideas for additional weekly tips or would like more information, contact Ruth Shields (shields@hws.edu or x3959).

Teaching Fellows Program

In its fourth year, the Teaching Fellows Program is supporting nine departments across campus: Anthropology/Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Geoscience, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, and Spanish and Hispanic Studies. The interaction among Teaching Fellows, students, and faculty has helped create a supportive, inclusive educational environment on campus. Please refer questions about the program to Ruth Shields (shields@hws.edu or x3959).

Interested in becoming a teaching fellow? Visit our student staff page for more information and an application.

Peer Tutoring Program

Students wishing to improve their performance in their course work may meet with a tutor, either individually or in small groups, to enhance their understanding of course material and to improve their performance on assignments and exams. Tutoring offered through CTL should be considered a semester-long commitment, not a one-time situation. Tutoring groups are commonly arranged when several students need assistance in the same course.

Students wishing to meet content-area tutors must submit a Tutor Request Form to CTL, providing contact information, the course(s) in which tutoring is needed, and information on academic concerns. The Coordinator of Student Services will contact the course instructors for recommendations for qualified tutors. All tutoring sessions are held at CTL.

Students wishing to apply to be a tutor must complete a CTL Tutor Application and attend a Tutor Orientation Session.

CTL Study Mentors

CTL Study Mentors provide assistance with general organization and study skills by using the CTL Big Picture, weekly study schedule, and other time management tools. They also connect first-year students with departmental support and assist in planning for upcoming class work. Students needing assistance can make appointments with the study mentors on TutorTrac; you may also refer them to Sam Vann (vann@hws.edu or x3060) or David Silver (silver@hws.edu or x3351).

One-on-One Writing Consultation & Tutoring

The Center for Teaching and Learning provides professional writing specialists and Writing Colleagues (student writers) to work with HWS students at any stage of written work, from topic selection and brainstorming through organization and drafting to final polishing.

Writing Colleagues are normally available on Sunday from 3-9pm, and Monday through Thursday from 7-10 p.m. (although we have fewer hours early in the semester and more as the semester moves on). We also have time available most weekday afternoons. When you call to make an appointment, we will match you with available slots. We try to accommodate students without appointments, but are often already full.  Learn more about scheduling an appointment at right.

We are glad to meet with faculty to help create writing assignments that will be useful in specific classes. We are also available to assist your class or particular students with the various components of writing. 

Please note that the Center views this service as a venue to help students improve their writing and thinking, not a proofreading service. 

Senior Symposium

The fourth annual Senior Symposium will be April 13, 2012. This symposium, open to all HWS seniors and MAT students, provides students with a venue to present their independent projects, scholarly research, and intellectual passions. Students are given a culminating experience for their academic career at HWS. The CTL will be offering preparatory workshops on abstract writing and presentation tips to support students on this journey. Please visit the Senior Symposium website to view titles and abstracts from last year's presentations. Any student interested in participating should visit the Senior Symposium website and engage a faculty sponsor. Contact Ruth Shields (shields@hws.edu or x3959).

Oral Communications Program:

As part of CTL's support for curriculum Goals 1 and 2, CTL will be enhancing our support for oral communication skills. Currently, we are available to help students with general public speaking, presenting research projects, poster and Power Point presentations, and practice and feedback for graduate school and scholarship interviews. Contact Ruth Shields (shields@hws.edu or x3959).

Scholarship, Professional and Graduate School Statment Support

The CTL provides one-onone writing support for scholarships, professional, and graduate school essays, and coordinates practice for interviews. Students may make appointments with a CTL Writing Colleague through TutorTrac or contact Susan Hess (shess@hws.edu or x3787).

Project Eye to Eye

This mentoring program matches college and Geneva school district students who share similar learning disabilities. Based on a national arts model, this program allows college students to pass on their experiences and solutions to younger students. Coordinated by Alexandra Connell '10 (alexandra.connell@hws.edu) and supervised by David Silver (silver@hws.edu).

Group Study Tables:

Afternoon or evening study tables provide tutoring in a small group setting for specific class sections. Students make appointments to join the group at a particular time via TutorTrac; most groups are limited to three. If a tutor is available, a study table can be organized with the instructor's approval. Contact Sam Vann (vann@hws.edu or x3060).

Disability Outreach, Education & Services

The Center for Teaching and Learning seeks to offer Hobart and William Smith students the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential and to provide students with full access to all educational programs, activities, and facilities. In seeking to meet these commitments, we recognize that students differ in their needs and learning styles. The Center for Teaching and Learning is committed to ensuring equitable participation in all programs and activities of the Colleges.

Disability Services at the CTL coordinates and provides accommodations and support services to persons with all types of disabilities.  The high level of commitment needed to provide accommodations and services is balanced with a humanistic approach that seeks to enhance independence and recognize the uniqueness of each Hobart and William Smith student.  Our goal is for each person to acquire the skills and to achieve the level of personal growth required to develop an independent lifestyle, which is essential in meeting individual, career and life objectives. To learn more about CTL's disability policies and procedures, visit the Disabilities page. Contact David Silver (silver@hws.edu or x3351).


This program permits online scheduling of appointments and tracks usage of the Teaching Fellows program, Writing Colleagues, and Study Mentors. TutorTrac is available from the CTL website and Blackboard. It allows students to make appointments from any HWS linked computer at any time. To discuss any difficulties accessing TutorTrac, contact Sam Vann (vann@hws.edu or x3060).



Making an appointment

Any student who desires to set up a writing session should access the TutorTrac site and book an appointment with a writing colleague. Sessions are normally scheduled in 30 minute or 1 hour time slots based on length of paper.

It is advantageous to plan ahead, especially late in the semester when staff tend to “book up.”

If you need to cancel, please call X3351. We appreciate a 24-hour notice so that other students may take your time slot.

Preparing for a session

  • Call to make an appointment: write down the date, time, and name of tutor.
  • Always bring your assignment with you.
  • Analyze your assignment and your draft (if you’re bringing in a draft), and come with specific questions and precise goals. What do you want to focus on during your time? 
  • With drafts over five pages, try to get them to us by 9 a.m. the day of your appointment.  Since our goal is helping you to assess and diagnose and improve your own work (rather than “editing” for you), provide a note with the following information:
    • What are the strengths of your paper?
    • What are you most worried about with this paper?
    • What issues or areas do you want the tutor to focus on when reading it? 
    This way (if schedules permit) the tutor will be able to get a start on your paperbefore the appointment.  Also remember to submit the assignment along with the paper, as well as any problems you have attacking the assignment. 


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.