The intellectual challenge of writing center work comes from having to entertain both the student’s and the teacher’s understandings simultaneously in ways that allow us to compassionately explain where these understandings collide and where the gaps occur.
–Nancy Maloney Grimm, Director of Michigan Tech Writing Center
What We Do
Our main goal is to engage students in a conversation about their papers. We are an active learning center, and our consultants are experienced in asking questions that can prompt more thinking about a paper, or about a particular matter of style or correctness. We do not edit papers, but we do talk with writers about correctness, and help them discover ways to proofread their own papers. We do not co-write papers, but we do engage in conversations that lead to a writer discovering what else can be said and other ways to say it. And, we do not claim to evaluate the correctness of claims made in another discipline, but we can talk about how well a paper seems to address the criteria of an assignment and about certain organizational strategies and sentence structures that are common to many disciplines.
In short, we are in the middle between teacher and student. We consult with writers to help them move forward and develop their writing. We look to prompt their thinking and to help guide them to understand and meet the criteria of a given assignment. A session at the Writing Center enables students to improve their paper, though it may still not be grammatically-perfect and completely error-free.
Encouraging Students To Use The Writing Center
Many students would probably never hear of the Writing Center if it weren’t for their instructors. By informing students about the resources and support available to them, faculty can give students new tools for succeeding in a course. Here are just some ways that faculty can encourage students to visit the Writing Center:
- Including information about us in the syllabus
- Arranging for some of our consultants to talk about the Writing Center during a classroom visit
- Apply to have a peer writing mentor work with a class
- Refer individual students to the Writing Center for one-on-one help
We are happy to provide assistance to faculty members regarding a variety of writing-related topics. In addition to all that we do for students, our consultants can also serve as a resource for you, especially if you’re drafting a writing assignment. If you’re curious about how students will respond to it, stop by and have a consultant give you feedback from a student’s perspective. Our consultants are experts in reading and responding to college assignments.
If you have concerns about a syllabus or an assignment sheet, you can consult individually with the Writing Center’s Director, Clyde Moneyhun (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the Assistant Director, Melissa Keith (email@example.com). They are available to meet with faculty and graduate students to discuss any aspect of incorporating writing instruction into a course.
If you would like to utilize the services of the Writing Center in your class, we suggest hosting a classroom presentation. Several of our consultants will visit your class and give a short, but informative, presentation about the Writing Center. We also pass out handouts and pencils to help students find us on campus. Your students are more likely to visit the Writing Center after seeing one of our presentations and being introduced to our services. We recommend timing the presentation several class sessions in advance of the due date of your writing assignment so that students have enough time to make an appointment.
We are happy to tailor our presentation to your needs. To arrange a visit please email the Assistant Director, Melissa Keith: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include our website address and contact information on your assignment sheet; students can schedule an appointment online and find answers in our resource directory. Including information about us in the syllabus is a great way to alert students to our many services. Some faculty members offer extra credit to students who use the Writing Center to improve their writing. Here is a sample text that can be included in a syllabus:
“For support and feedback at any point in the writing process, you can meet with a writing consultant at the Writing Center. To make an appointment, go to www.writingcenter.boisestate.edu or call 208-426-1298. On their website you can find more information about the Writing Center, including a list of tutors and their areas of expertise. After each session with a tutor you will receive a paper record of your visit.”
Recommend A Student To Work In The Writing Center
If you are a faculty member and would like to recommend a student for a position in the Writing Center, please contact us. We value faculty suggestions and use this information in making our decision about hiring future consultants. If you have someone in mind that you think would be a good fit at the Writing Center, please email their name and qualifications to Clyde Moneyhun (email@example.com) or Melissa Keith (firstname.lastname@example.org) by mid-March. Potential candidates will be contacted and invited to apply if they are interested.