For Undergraduate Students
Our drop-in center is located on the second floor of the Brandel Library and provides one-on-one 40-minute writing conferences given by trained undergraduate students. You may use our online calendar to schedule appointments in advance if you wish to guarantee a spot. Need help using the online calendar? Download these directions (PDF).
Areas of Expertise
Several of our Writing Advisors (WA’s) have specialized in biology, nursing, or English as a Second Language (ESL), and are especially equipped to understand the needs of scientific writers and multilingual writers. Check with the Writing Center in person for more information, or look at our online calendar.
Conferencing in the Core Curriculum
Trained student Writing Advisors work alongside students enrolled in Core Curriculum Courses; they function primarily as sympathetic first readers of drafts who can give writers targeted feedback on their drafts, though they may lend assistance at any point of the process of putting papers together. Since WA’s are undergraduate students and may themselves be enrolled in Exploring courses or Keystone Seminars, their role is close to that of a genuine peer, and their work is a form of collaborative learning.
COMPASS (Centering Our Minds Passionately Around Student Success)
In this intensive twelve-day program, domestic first-year students prepare for the academic and social challenges of college and adjust to life on campus. Writing instruction and assignments are a core of the COMPASS program, and the Writing Center supports COMPASS students as they deepen their understanding of academic discourse, gain confidence in reading and understanding prompts, explore writing as a process and form college-level writing habits.
Students who desire more consistent writing help and who would appreciate working consistently with the same person may make arrangements through Student Enrichment Services and Support.
Writing Advisors work at the football study tables to coach athletes who are working on writing assignments.
Faculty Writing Seminar: Teaching by Means of Writing
The underlying assumptions for this faculty development seminar are that all disciplines want students to think well and that the process of writing can be an effective starting point for thinking: ergo, writing can be a useful teaching method, if our goal is to induce students to think. That’s all fine and good, of course, but how do we effectively incorporate writing into our teaching? This seminar is designed to work at responding to that question. We’ll do some background reading in and discussion of general pedagogy and writing pedagogy, but we’ll also do some hands-on work using our own syllabi and writing assignments and North Park student essays. This is a wonderful opportunity for sustained, in-depth conversation with colleagues from across the whole array of disciplines and for strategizing teaching plans for next year. Participants receive a modest stipend, and all books and copies are made available to you gratis. Contact Carol Martin for further information.
The Writing Center is delighted to schedule a five-minute “Introduction to the Writing Center” presentation given by Writing Advisors for any class as a useful way to remind students of Writing Center services. Contact the Writing Center to schedule a visit.
Assignment Review Services
The Writing Center reviews writing prompts for faculty who would appreciate (anonymous) student feedback on writing assignments before circulating them in their classes. Faculty send their assignment to Carol Martin, who removes identifying features, then circulates the assignment to seasoned Writing Advisors. The WA’s review the assignments, write up their observations, and send comments back to Carol. She removes identifying features from the comments and returns the commentary to the faculty member. Those who made use of this service in the past a) thought that their assignments were probably already in pretty good shape, and b) found the feedback useful anyway. Please allow at least two days’ lead-time.
For more on designing effective assignments see "Suggestions for Dealing with Writing Assignments," on our faculty resources page.
Want someone else to think through a research assignment with you? Contact Laura Burt-Nicholas to talk through a research prompt, think about opportunities for problem-based learning, or talk about ways the library could help you with problematic research assignments.
Scheduling Writing Conferences for Non-Core Curriculum Classes
If you have an upcoming writing assignment and wish students to receive Writing Center feedback on their drafts, please contact us in advance to set up a schedule of appointment times. For more information, see Conferencing in the Writing Center; for a general overview, know that we work best when:
- The professor sends us a copy of the assignment and all relevant due date information (the more we know about the professor’s goals and writing expectations, the better);
- We are able to spread the appointment times over a workable time frame;
- The professor requires a draft of the paper that can be delivered to the Writing Center before the first appointments begin, so that WA’s have time to prepare advance feedback;
- The professor receives a sign-up sheet from the Writing Center with available appointment times, circulates it in the class, and returns the filled-in sheet to us;
- The professor does not just “recommend” a Writing Center visit, but also offers an incentive.
For Graduate Students
WRIT-5000: Writing for the Professions
This class is a one-credit course custom-made to suit the writing that professionals encounter and designed to bring together a variety of types of writing instruction that will ensure competence in writing commensurate with the demands of graduate studies.
WRIT-5000 has two required components that must be taken at the same time because they work together. The first component is a four-week workshop in which graduate students meet together to receive direct writing instruction and workshop their writing with a professional writing instructor. The second component is a series of eight one-hour coaching sessions in which students meet with a professional writing coach to work directly on the writing assignments they have received from the workshop. After the workshop, students continue meeting with their coaches and bring writing assignments from other classes and even any workplace writing. The student and coach determine the best ways to spend the session because the coaching sessions offer individualized feedback and practice on your own writing habits.
Currently, WRIT-5000 is available for graduate students in the School of Nursing only.
Private Professional Coaching
The Writing Center can provide graduate students with information about private tutoring, which can be arranged on a case-by-case basis. Contact the Writing Center for more information.