In the tutorial every entering student explores a topic of interest to the student and the instructor in a small group, discussion-intensive setting. The objectives of the tutorial are to illuminate methods of inquiry rather than to cover topics comprehensively, focusing particularly on writing, critical reading, oral communication, and information literacy skills. In addition, the tutorial initiates the process of planning for a liberal education at Grinnell through advising conversations between students and their instructors. By promoting close working relationships between tutorial instructors and their students and by combining the roles of instructor and academic adviser, the College provides students with academic advisers attuned to the interests and abilities of their advisees.
A tutorial (4 credits) is required of all students who enter Grinnell as first-year students and of all transfer students below third-year student standing whose previous work does not qualify them for an exemption. A student must complete the tutorial with a grade of C or higher to meet the tutorial graduation requirement and to be eligible to enroll in a “Plus-2” or independent project. Students who receive a D or F in the tutorial must earn a grade of C or better in a course designated or approved by the dean’s office as Intensive Writing (IW).
Tutorials are offered only in the first semester.
Planning Your Tutorial (includes list of current and previous years' descriptions)
Planning Your Tutorial
- Objectives & Guidelines for the Tutorial
- Things you need to know to plan your syllabus
- Tutorial Titles & Descriptions
- Tutorial Titles & Descriptions Archive (1994-Present)
Teaching Critical & Analytical Skills
Quick links to sections below:
- Teaching Writing in Tutorial: 10 Tips for Success!
- Creating Effective Peer Review Groups to Improve Student Writing -- From the University of Delaware
- Paula Smith's Review of Essay Skills in Eight Workshops
"Getting Started or ... Invention Strategies"
"Beginnings and Endings"
"Creating, Testing and Using a Thesis"
"Staying Aware of Your Audience"
"How to Develop Paragraphs and Essays"
"The Art of Transitions"
"Advanced Sentence Building"
- Advice from John Bean about Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning
- Sample Assignment 1
- Sample Assignment 2
- Sample Schedules
- In this link, Peter Elbow offers examples of assignments that help students use writing as a tool for learning. Many of these examples are great informal writing prompts.
- WW Norton -- offers a free online handbook, including a section on Writing/Rhetoric, a section on Research/Documentation, and a section Handbook/Exercises. If your students need more work on anything from avoiding comma splices to understanding plagiarism, you may want to refer them to this resource.
- On this site maintained by the Writing Across the Curriculum Clearinghouse at Colorado State University, you will find advice on how to create good writing assignments and answers to such questions as "How can I avoid getting lousy student writing?" and "Do writing and peer review take up too much class time?"
- Academic Honesty Guide: The Academic Honesty Guide is a locally produced booklet that explains how to cite sources and offers exercises students may do to demonstrate their mastery (you may substitute your own exercises if you wish). If you want your students to have another experience considering these issues, you may refer them to the quiz entitled "Learning How to Use Sources" on the PWeb Community page.
- Academic Honesty Signature Form
- Writing Lab
Advising Tutorial Students
The Role and Responsibilities of the Adviser
- Advisers' Handbook includes a wealth of information regarding advising first-year students for registration; interpreting test scores; using the four-year plan; overview of college regulations to help a student graduate; off-campus study; internships and other career planning; advising special populations such as students with disabilities and international students; FERPA and privacy laws; courses of study; and academic resources/support (ARC).
- Responsibilities of Advisers at Grinnell College
- Advising Syllabi
- Academic Honesty Booklet
Advising for an Individually-Mentored Curriculum (Use with Your Advisees)
- Academic Planning for New Students – especially Departmental Advising and Registration Suggestions
- Grinnell College Academic Catalog – especially Courses of Study
- Online Schedule of Courses – pioneerweb.grinnell.edu and click on ‘Courses and Academic Information’ tab
- Schedule Planner – pioneerweb.grinnell.edu and click on ‘Courses and Academic Information’ tab
- Syllabus summary - copies for instructors and students are distributed to Tutorial advisers on Friday prior to the first Sunday meeting with Tutees
- Academic Policies section of the Student Handbook
- Grinnell College’s Mission Statement & Core Values
- Elements of a Liberal Education in the College Catalog
Information about Your Advisee
- WebAdvisor – pioneerweb.grinnell.edu and click on ‘Courses and Academic Information’ tab
- Advising file – hard copy provided by Academic Advising
- Talk with your advisee to find out their academic and personal goals
Offices that Support Your Advising
- Academic Advising Office x3702
- Registrar’s Office, x3450
- Career Development Office (CDO), x4940
- Off-Campus Study (OCS), x4850
- Student Health and Counseling Services, x3230
Ethical Use of Sources in the Tutorial
The Writing Lab offers assistance in understanding academic honesty and proper citation in academic writing. We provide informational presentations for Tutorial classes on these subjects as well as individual consultation on citation styles in specific disciplines (APA, Chicago, MLA, and so on).
Evaluation of Tutorial by Students
Tutorial Faculty Syllabi
Kathleen Skerrett organized her 2002 tutorial "Ideas of Love in Western Culture" by focusing on the skills each unit focused on -- reading, writing, information literacy, presenting, discussing.
Chris Hunter's 2008 tutorial "Community Organizing: Empowering People, Effecting Change" used a series of short papers with required rewrites, oral presentations, and a mix of assignments including reflection, description, evaluation or readings, and collaborative group projects.
Sarah Purcell's 2002 tutorial on American Memorials combined academic resources with field trips, examination of objects in Grinnell, music, web presentations and film.
Janet Davis's 2008 tutorial, Technology and Place: Transportation, Communication, Computation, used both formal and informal writing and revision as well as an "anatomy of a research paper" and various presentations to develop students' writing and research skills.
Erik Simpson's tutorial, Comedy, includes six class days devoted entirely to writing workshops; a class blog; a focus on the liberal arts education; writing and oral presentations that culminate in a portfolio; and a plan-poll list of answers to the question "What do you wish your tutorial professor had told you?"
Other Tutorial Syllabi
- Decline and Renewal in the Heartland (Jon Andelson, Fall 2004)
- The Places I've Been: Outsiders, Exiles, Tourists (Yvette Aparicio, Fall 2001)
- Color, Culture, Class (Katya Gibel Mevorach, Fall 2008)
- Doing History: The Pullman Strike (Victoria Brown, Fall 2003)
- Humanities 101: The Ancient World (W.J. Cummins, Fall 2003)
- Americans in Paris: Through the Looking Glass (Jan B. Gross, Fall 2002)
- The Hero's Journey (Dennis Hughes, Fall 2003)
- Images of Africa (Kathy Jacobson, Fall 2002)
- The Middle East in the Popular Imagination (Kathy Kamp, Fall 2009)
- Narrative and Identity (Johanna Meehan, Fall 2004)
- The Making of Human Rights (Elizabeth Prevost, Fall 2008)
- Movement, Feeling, Who We Are (Liz Queathem, Fall 2009)
- Biotechnology: Bountiful Harvest or Bitter Harvest? (Diane Robertson, Fall 2008)
- NO LIMITS? (Monty Roper, Fall 2009)
- Marx, Nietzsche, Freud: The Foundations of Cultural Criticism (Alan Schrift, Fall 2009)
- Emotion and Cognition (Laura Sinnett, Fall 2004)
- Humanities I: The Ancient Greek World (Paula Smith, Fall 2004)
- Painting Modernity (Susan Strauber, Fall 2004)
- Music in the Balance of Power (Roger Vetter, Fall 2002)
- Primitive Skills in the Modern World (John Whittaker, Fall 2003)
Tutorial Faculty Syllabi (on the web)
- Russia in Revolution (Todd Armstrong, Fall 2001)
- We Are What We Eat: Food, Culture, and Identity in Literature and Film (Jin Feng, Fall 2002)
- Utopia and Revolution in Russia and the United States (Kelly Herold, Fall 2000)
- Freedom (Daniel Kaiser, Fall 2003)
- Exploitation and Subversion: The Politics of Popular Culture (Jean Ketter, Fall 2003)
- American Memorials and the Politics of Memory (Sarah J. Purcell, Fall 2004)
- Owning the Intangible: Possession, Theft, and (Mis)Appropriation of Ideas (Samuel A. Rebelsky, Fall 2010)
- Darwin's Legacy in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (John Rommereim, Fall 2000)
- Degradation and Development in Tropical Forests (Monty Roper, Fall 2003)
- The Origins of Capitalism (Pablo Silva, Fall 2009)
- Computers: Facts, Misconceptions, and Ethical Issues (Henry Walker, Fall 2008)
History of the Tutorial
Fall 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of the addition of the tutorial to Grinnell's curriculum. Below are documents related to the history and growth of the program.
- Tutorial Chronology
- Clotfelter Tutorial Proposal
- Obermiller Tutorial Proposal
- Early Tutorial Brochure
- Grinnell Magazine article, 1970
- Grinnell Magazine article, 1996
- Grinnell Magazine article, 2010
- Al Jones Tutorial History Spring 1999
- Clotfelter - History of the No-Requirements Curriculum, 2003
- Tutorial Brochure, fall 2011
Tutorial Entertainment Information
Tutorial Entertainment Information Each Tutorial is allowed up to $200 for entertainment. In the past, these funds provided pastries for those early morning class sessions. While this is still a common use of the funds, faculty have also thought of creative ways to bring their students together. For instance:
- Movies (either downtown or on campus)
- Pizza party
- Field trip
- Food/drink from a coffee shop
- Craft supplies for class activity
- Dessert social at faculty home
- Breakfast at local restaurant
- Hosted community meal
- End of semester gathering (often at faculty member's home)
- End of year gathering in May (often at faculty member's home)
REIMBURSEMENT Faculty should send itemized receipts to the Associate Deans' Office for reimbursement. Expenses in excess of $200 will not be reimbursed, nor will non-itemized receipts. Receipts should include
- Faculty member's name
- Number of students attending
- Date of the expense
- Purpose of the expense
LOCAL CHARGES If you use a local merchant, please be sure to sign the charge slip or receipt and write “Tutorial” on it. Please send itemized receipts to the Associate Deans' Office to compare to the charges received from Accounting. If charging at a local restaurant, you need to include the names of people attending. Please be sure that your name is legible.
COLLEGE CHARGES If you use the College Catering Office, please be sure to give them the tutorial account number (10-1070151-52602) and ask them to include your name when identifying the event. If you make catering reservations by email, please cc ASODean[at]grinnell[dot]edu when you send the request. If you need to reserve a college van, please ask Facilities Management to call for the appropriate account number. Again, please make sure that your name is on the bill. If using Local or College charges, please be aware that there is a lag between the dates of the expense and when the invoice is received for processing (sometimes over a month). Faculty members are responsible for keeping track of expenses so that they don't go over budget.
Tutorials present an opportunity for experimentation for those interested in developing an interdisciplinary course, and faculty members who have taught shared-theme Tutorials report benefitting from scholarly exchange. New Tutorial instructors also have welcomed the mentoring that collaborative teaching provides.
Previous shared-theme Tutorials have included
(Context of law in the formation of fundamental political and moral principles for the governmental system; Context of law in the context of an overall governmental system)
- Religion and Politics (REL / POL)
- Papermaking (ART / CHM)
- Human Rights and Human Dignity (POL / SOC)
- What's "Right" about Rights? (POL / POL)