Hume Center Policies and Procedures for Students
Tutoring is available to every currently-enrolled Stanford undergraduate and graduate student.
What Happens in a Writing Consultation?
The Hume Center's goal is to help you improve and feel empowered as a writer. To this end, writing consultations are based on purposeful conversation between you and a writing tutor. You can expect to do a great deal of talking as you explain your ideas or writing goals. The tutor may suggest and explain strategies to assist you at whatever stage of the writing process you are at (brainstorming, drafting, revising, fine-tuning) or can provide constructive feedback on selected sections of your draft focusing on elements such as organization, argument, or style. Because our goal is to help you improve and develop as a writer, we focus on giving you tools and strategies you can use to edit and proofread your own writing; this is also why we will not edit or proofread your work for you. If you are in need of an editor, we have a list of editors-for-hire available at the front desk.
Toward the end of the session, you will receive a brief reflection and feedback survey to help you plan for your next steps and to help tutors evaluate how they can work most effectively with students. We encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity to think about your learning over time and to note your own growth.
We are happy to work with you at any stage of the writing process, even before you start writing. We highly recommend meeting with a tutor early in the writing process—for example, during the early brainstorming phase, or when you have a first draft prepared—so that you have time to revise before an assignment deadline.
Writing Tutoring Appointments
We have expanded appointment-based writing tutoring from 30-minute to 50-minute consultations. This change allows more time for you to work with your tutor on your writing, as well as to reflect on the session and plan for your next steps.
You can make:
- A single 50-minute appointment
- Appointments totaling 100 minutes per week; a maximum of 50 minutes per week with the same tutor unless you have been granted an exception to this policy
- Appointments up to two weeks in advance
When you arrive for your appointment, sign in at the log-in station and proceed directly to your tutor's room (a full schedule is posted in the reception area). Please arrive a few minutes early for your appointment. If you are not present ten minutes into your appointment time, your appointment may be given to someone who is waiting. Once you have completed the reflection and feedback survey, please log out at one of the kiosks.
Drop-in Writing Tutoring Sessions
Drop-in tutoring sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can have one or more drop-in sessions per day, depending on availability. Sessions last for approximately 30 minutes, but can be shorter at busy times. Occasionally, Hume Center administrators may need to limit the number of sessions you can have in a fixed period of time.
When you arrive for a drop-in session, proceed directly to the lounge and log in at the computer to the left of the door, then let the writing tutor know you're waiting to see him or her. You must stay in Hume once you’ve logged in. If you leave, your spot may be given to the next student on the list.
Recurring Writing Appointments
We welcome the opportunity to build a working relationship with you and to provide support as you work on large-scale writing projects, such as an Honors thesis or dissertation, by arranging weekly meetings with the same tutor. If you wish to have a recurring appointment, please follow these steps:
- Arrange a single appointment with a tutor (50 minutes) to discuss your writing goals; with the tutor, develop a plan for what you will work on each week throughout the quarter. Feel free to meet with several consultants before committing to weekly meetings with one.
- Once both you and the tutor agree that weekly appointments would be useful, speak to a front-desk staff member who will arrange recurring appointments for a period of four weeks. Ideally, both you and the tutor will speak to the staff member together.
- A week or two before the four-week period is over, revisit your writing plans with the tutor to determine if additional weekly appointments are necessary and if both of you wish to continue working together. This check-in will ensure that you are continuing to meet your writing and learning goals.
- If you and the tutor decide to continue your regular meetings, a front-desk staff member can schedule those appointments through the rest of the quarter.
Weekly appointments can be arranged for up to 50 minutes per week with the same tutor. These sessions are most productive when you and the tutor work together to determine weekly writing tasks and goals to help you make progress on your writing project and that contribute to your ongoing development as a writer. In rare situations, a student may disagree with the tutor’s determination that ongoing weekly meetings are no longer necessary. If this happens, we ask you to first of all talk with the tutor so that you fully understand his or her point of view. If you still wish to continue meeting with the same tutor, he or she will arrange a meeting with the director or associate director who will make the final decision—in consultation with you and the writing tutor—about whether weekly meetings should continue.
Take-Home and Finals Policy
Hume Center tutors will work with students writing take-home exams if the professor has stated, in writing on the exam itself or via an email to our office, that students may bring the exam to the Hume Center for help. Students might ask a professor whether exams may be brought to the Hume Center far enough ahead of time for the professor to put a written statement on the exam sheet or contact us.
What Happens in an Oral Communication Consultation?
During the consultation, you can expect a receptive, encouraging and empathetic listener that is ready to discuss your speaking engagement and, more specifically, to discuss your assignment or interview, your concerns, where you are at the preparatory phase, and what you hope to accomplish.
For Oral Presentations
You do not have to have a presentation ready; we love working with people in the early stages of their preparation. Based on the initial assessment, you can expect your OCT to structure the appointment in a way to help maximize your success. For students who are in the initial process, your OCT will serve as a sounding board to help you brainstorm, narrow down your topic, and/or outline your presentation. For students who already have a presentation, your OCT will record and time your presentation. This footage will be used to give you focused and empowering feedback on your delivery as well as on your presentation design and the structure and focus of your content. If PowerPoint or Keynote is new to you, OCTs can also provide technical support discuss best practices.
For Mock Interviews
OCTs at the Hume Center have helped many students prepare for academic and professional interviews. For mock interviews, we request that students bring a set of questions that are generally asked for the position they are applying to, as well as documents submitted for that position. During this consultation, you can expect OCTs to ask you what you hope to accomplish, what concerns you have about your communication skills, and how you want to conduct the mock interview. In general, during the mock interview, OCTs review materials and questions, and then role-play the interview process. You can expect these sessions to be recorded and, after several questions, the footage reviewed for feedback on delivery (how you communicate verbally and non-verbally) and on the content (how clear, concise and structured your responses were).
Whether you access the Hume Center’s oral communication tutors for a formal presentation or interview, we are here to help you at every step. Public speaking can be stressful, especially for busy Stanford students. We are here to help, and you can expect a comforting, sympathetic ear that is committed to your success.
Oral Communication Appointments
You can make:
- A 45 or 90 minute appointment. A single, 45-minute appointment is recommended for standard interviews and short speaking engagements, whereas two 45-minute appointments are ideal for longer presentations, job talks, lectures and case interviews.
- Up to eight 45-minute appointments in one quarter.
- Appointments for any week during the quarter.
When you arrive for your appointment, sign in at the log-in station and proceed directly to your tutor's room (a full schedule is posted in the reception area). Please arrive a few minutes early for your appointment. If you are not present ten minutes into your appointment time, your appointment (either for 45 or 90 minutes) may be given to someone who is waiting. Once you've completed your appointment, please log out and complete the brief survey. Your feedback is very important to us!
Missed Appointments and Cancellations
Missed Appointments: You will receive an email message from us when you miss an appointment. After two missed 50-minute writing or 45-minute oral communication appointments, you will not be able to schedule appointments online for the remainder of the quarter. You will still be able to meet with a drop-in writing tutor as available by visiting the Hume Center during drop-in hours or visiting peer tutors in satellite locations. Similarly, you will be able to meet an OCT with an open appointment slot by visiting the Hume Center on the day-of.
Cancellations must be made online by 11:59 p.m. the day before your appointment. If you miss the cancellation deadline please make every effort to come to the appointment and avoid a missed appointment.
If you have a complaint about your experience in a tutoring session, we ask that, if possible, you first of all speak informally with the consultant, as many misunderstandings or problems can be worked out in such a conversation. If you wish to pursue a complaint or dispute, please make an appointment to see Norah Fahim, Associate Director of the Hume Center, who will advise you on any further course of action.
If you have questions about our policies or would like to request an exception to our policy, please contact Hume Center Director Zandra L. Jordan, email@example.com or Associate Director Norah Fahim, firstname.lastname@example.org.