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Abstract

This article examines the relationships among the student, tutor, and professor as played out in tutorial sessions. It is an extension of our interactive presentation “The Absent Professor” at the 2010 Center for the Improvement of Teaching conference. This presentation discussed the different perspectives that students, tutors, and professors bring to the table; participants engaged in mock tutorial sessions to explore the complexities of this relationship. Using tutors' experiences from the conference and actual tutorial sessions, the article draws on both practice and theory in an attempt to arrive at an understanding of how the complicated and often complicating presence of the professor affects the tutorial session. The article illustrates how professors' comments, assignment sheets, syllabi, and in-class discussions inform the meeting between student and tutor. We rely on Andrea Lunsford's (2008) definition of collaboration to take into consideration all three perspectives. We conclude with an analysis of potential tools that can result in more productive tutorial sessions.

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