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Writing Center Faculty Resources

What happens during a typical writing center consultation?

When a consultation session begins, the consultant talks with the student about the writing assignment. The student explains the assignment and shows the consultant the work he or she has completed. The student then reads their work aloud. The consultant leads the student through a series of guided questions that begin with higher order concerns in the paper (focus, tone, organization, and development) and then moves into lower order concerns (sentence structure, punctuation, usage, and spelling). The student retains ownership of the paper at every stage of the consultation in both the literal and figurative senses; the consultant does not write on the student's paper and leaves all decisions about the paper up to the student. The consultant provides the student with handouts to support and further explain concepts they are discussing. At the end of the session, the consultant reviews the work they have completed and offers suggestions to the student about what steps to take next with the paper (e.g., revision, consulting the instructor, making a follow-up appointment).

Assignments

The Writing Center staff provides assistance to students from every academic discipline with all types of writing assignments. Often, students seeking assistance in the Writing Center provide only partial information about an assignment, which makes it difficult for staff to assist them effectively. Because of this, the Writing Center offers professors the option of sending copies of class assignments to be put on file at the Writing Center. With this information, the consultants can review the assignment in advance and make better use of the student's time during the appointment.

Consultant Reports

After students visit the Writing Center, a consultation report is completed by the consultant. This report contains general information such as the student's name and the date, time, and duration of the consultation. The consultant indicates the general areas of writing that were addressed during the session along with comments that summarize the consultation. The form is then sent via e-mail to the professor in a timely manner. This allows the professor to be informed about the student's work on the assignment, as well as providing communication between the professor and the Writing Center.

Student Ownership

Writing Center consultants assist students with their writing,but do not do the work for the the student. The Writing Center does not proofread or revise papers for students. For example, consultants help students learn to recognize and correct grammatical errors, but they do not point out every error in student papers. Conversely, the Writing Center does not predict or even speculate about the grade students will receive on a paper. Students are encouraged to consult with their professors when they have specific questions about an assignment or a grade they have received. The Writing Center does not enter into conversations about particular assignments or professors, but, instead, recommends direct communication between professor and student.

Orientation Visits

Orientation sessions are conducted by Writing Center consultants to offer information about the Center and to discuss the services it provides to students. Classes may visit the facility for a tour or a consultant may visit the classroom. The length of orientation sessions depend upon the preferences and requirements of the professor. General information, such as the hours of operation, the location, and what to expect during a typical consultation are discussed. If more specific information is requested, the orientation can be customized to better suit the needs of a class.

Workshops

The Writing Center will prepare and present workshops on specific topics at the request of faculty member. Grammar, punctuality and citation formats are popular and can be used with an entire class. Please contact the Writing Center (2712) to discuss specific topics to meet the needs of your class.

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