Peer Writing Consultants at New Paltz can now earn CRLA certification

The Center for Student Success at SUNY New Paltz is now certified by the College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA), the leading international organization promoting reading, learning assistance, developmental education and tutorial services at the university level.

The certification recognizes the College’s new Peer Writing Consultants training program for meeting internationally accepted best practices for collegiate writing assistance.

It also grants the Center for Student Success the authority to recognize students who complete their training as CRLA certified tutors, a valuable credential that signals their ownership of transferrable skills valued by universities and employers around the world.

“CRLA is well-known in higher education,” said Writers’ Studio Coordinator Domiana DeFelice. “This program sets the standard for tutor training in communication strategies, learning theory, goal-setting, study strategies and more.”

“The certification signals that our Peer Writing Consultants are trained in a program grounded in best practices. CRLA equips our tutors with in-depth knowledge of learning strategies and communication techniques they can carry with them wherever they go.  And through training and reflection, the writing consultants also develop a language to discuss these transferrable skills with future employers.”

The Center for Student Success developed its innovative tutor training program for Peer Writing Consultants in spring 2017. The training focuses on providing hands-on, collaborative training to help writing tutors develop and implement research-based strategies to promote active learning and critical thinking among diverse groups of learners.

“I became a peer writing consultant at the CSS because I was interested in helping my fellow students better understand the written word,” said Austin Carpentieri ’18 (English), one of the first cohort of CRLA-certified Peer Writing Consultants. “I really want to continue to teach college-age students, and I feel that this certification and the work I am doing at the CSS will be beneficial for reaching that goal.”

The program achieved a remarkable level of engagement in a short time, helping to deepen the pool of qualified writing tutors available to New Paltz students of all majors, free of charge. The model received CRLA’s International Tutor Training Program Certification (ITTPC) in November, and will launch its first cohort of Level 1 CRLA Certified Peer Writing Consultants at the beginning of the spring semester.

“Our tutor training is aimed at helping students become independent learners,” DeFelice said. “Instead of telling a student how they can fix something, we focus on asking questions and supporting them through their learning process, to get them to that next step themselves. So rather than a student coming in one time and working with a writing tutor who might tell them an answer, they’ll work with our tutor to set goals and focus on meeting them over the course of many sessions.”

Any SUNY New Paltz student can sign up for a free consultation with a Peer Writing Consultant. Visit the Writers’ Studio online to learn more and schedule a session.