1. As an instructor, how can I encourage my students to visit the Writing Center?
Consider talking to your students about the Writing Center during the first two weeks of class. Include a positive statement in your syllabus that will encourage them to come. You may schedule an orientation to the Writing Center where we briefly explain our services; your classes can visit the Writing Center for this service, or we can come to your classroom at a time that is convenient for you.
2. Should I require Writing Center visits for my students?
The Writing Center strives to offer a positive and collaborative effort between students and tutors, not as “remediation” or a “cure-all” for writing problems.
Yes, you may require students to visit the Writing Center. However, research points to the fact that students have a positive response when they are allowed to come to the Center on their own free will. Of course, an instructor may want to strongly recommend that a student visit us, but please refrain from using language that may equate the Writing Center with punishment for “terrible writers.”
3. At what point of the writing process should students visit the Writing Center?
We encourage students to meet with a tutor as early in the writing process as they can. They may even visit the Center before they begin an assignment if they need clarification or brainstorming help. Although we do not edit or proofread, we are happy to look over a finished essay to check for clarity. However, we would much rather see a writer earlier in the essay development stage rather than later to find the paper does not follow the instructor’s assignment criteria.
4. What will the tutor and student discuss during a session?
The writing tutors are trained to listen first to students and then respond to their requests. Since our tutors are not editors, we focus on assignment issues such as organization, thesis development, and clarity. If there is time remaining in the 45-minute session, tutors will help students discover patterns of grammar errors and discuss the skills necessary to correct them as well. In a tutoring session, we hope that the student will do most of the talking while the tutor asks helpful questions, giving positive guidance and feedback.
5. Can students expect to get an A on their papers after visiting the Writing Center?
Tutors will address larger writing concerns first, such as writing unity and clarity, before addressing other issues, such as grammar. Although we do not edit papers, we will model techniques for self-editing and may point out patterns of errors and give examples for correction. However, tutors will not go through and fix all mistakes in a paper. Many times, one tutoring session is not sufficient to address all the issues found in a writing assignment. We also suggest instructors encourage students to make multiple appointments with tutors throughout the semester for sharpening writing skills. However, students are responsible for polishing their own papers as well as for following advice given by tutors. For their future academic careers, our goal is to make students better writers — instead of only creating one better paper.
6. Will writing tutors give my students expert and correct information regarding APA and MLA documentation?
Our tutors are trained in the basics of APA and MLA documentation. As writing tutors, their job is to assist students and demonstrate how to find the correct information needed for their papers in the MLA and APA handbooks. Students are responsible for properly writing documentation information in their essays, and tutors are trained to let students “do” their own work as well.
7. Can students enrolled in online classes take advantage of the Writing Center services?
YES, we have recently begun accepting essay submissions via e-mail. The email service and face-to-face tutoring are available for distance learning students as well as for students attending classes on campus. Directions for e-mail service are available on the Writing Center’s main page. Students need to allow a 48-hour turnaround period to receive tutor-reviewed essays.