Basing their paper on their actual tutorial experiences as well as a mock tutorial session at the CIT 2010 conference, the co-authors find that their tutoring can bear more fruit when the differing nature of feedback from the absent professor
is flexibly taken into account in the tutorial encounter:
Professor Pat Harris, a last-minute substitute for the absent Professor
Josh Slater, spoke of the need for "fast, accurate and non-invasive" diagnostic tests to help control outbreaks.
Although Natalie describes an extreme situation, it brings into sharp focus the specter of the absent professor.
Because face-to-face conversations with students present an immediate challenge, the specter of absent professor often raises questions about authority that remain vague for peer tutor and writer alike.
As we reflected on the various situations we encounter in our writing center, we identified four common scenarios in which the absent professor becomes significant and looked for ways to understand and respond effectively to student writers.
In the stories that emerged on our small campus, we identified five distinctive situations in which the absent professor plays a significant role.
Following our discussions about the absent professor, as writing center coordinator I began to invite one professor from each of the three divisions each semester to our writing center meetings, which had an effect we did not imagine.
And, in all of these cases, the absent professor is an inevitable presence.
We viewed "The Absent Professor" as an opportunity to learn, from the tutee's perspective, what contributes to a successful tutorial involving the student, tutor, and the absent professor.
As we navigate through these different tasks, we are not only working with the student, but also the absent professor.
I handed her a copy of my paper and the grading rubric (see Appendix C) my absent professor had given me.
The student starts to recognize what is being asked of him or her in the assignment and, while working with the student to build this roadmap, the tutor is also able to see the absent professor more clearly.