Guest Editorial – Tutor Not Available

A few days ago in the mail I got a letter from learning services. It was to inform me that for approximately two weeks my tutor is going to be unavailable, and if I can anticipate my tutorial needs, to please contact my tutor prior to this time. This includes marking of assignments.

When I paid over $1000 for this 12 month course, no where did it say that my tutor may go away for two weeks. That costs me about $25 a week that my tutor is unavailable. The letter makes no mention of a refund for this money while my tutor isn’t here to mark my assignments or meet my tutorial needs, nor does it make any mention of any sort of accommodation due to this, such as a course extension, or another tutor I could talk to. While I understand and sympathize that the tutors do need to go on vacation, and many of them have other jobs aside from their tutoring duties at AU, the University should seek alternative arrangements for students to get advice for their course. Two weeks is a long time to remember a potentially critical question, and if my course was ending at the end of August, I may need that time to get questions answered for an exam, or to submit last minute work.

If I were at another University, such as the University of Alberta or York University, the Professor wouldn’t just take off in the middle of a semester without alternative arrangements being made for that professor’s services. So why can AU not simply find another tutor to fill in for the one that is going to be unavailable? (I made reference to the tutor going on vacation. This may not be the case. The tutor could be undergoing major surgery, or painting walls at the Ottawa location of the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, in which case the tutor will be gone longer than two weeks — but that’s a topic for another article).

In the end, the letter really should have said: Your tutor will be unavailable for tutoring (insert dates), however, we have made alternate arrangements so that if you require tutorial services while your tutor is unavailable, you can utilize the services of this tutor. We appreciate your patronage.