North Park University - Chicago North Park University - Chicago

Undergraduate Programs


For Undergraduate Students

Drop-in Center

Our drop-in center is located on the first floor of the Brandel Library and provides one-on-one writing conferences given by trained undergraduate students.

Areas of Expertise

Several of our Writing Advisors (WA’s) have expertise that may be especially useful to you, such as knowledge of MLA, APA, or Chicago style formatting, or experience working with multilingual writers or adult learners. They may even be majoring in the subject for which you are writing a paper.  Check with the Writing Center in person for more information.

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.

Writing Partners

Students who desire more consistent writing help and who would appreciate working consistently with the same person may make arrangements through Student Engagement.

For Faculty

Include the Writing Center in Your Syllabus

Here is a summary you can use, or use as a starting point, if you wish to mention our services in your syllabus.

Writing Assistance:
The Writing Center provides to all North Park undergraduate students one-on-one writing consultations given by trained undergraduate students. Writing Advisors are available to conference with you on any paper at any point in the process, from understanding the assignment and brainstorming to revising drafts to reviewing your bibliography and more.

The Writing Center’s goal is to strengthen writers, not just written products, so your consultation is not just about the specific assignment but about your growth as a writer. All writers—even professional writers—benefit from input at various stages in the writing process. The writing center aims to cultivate that process and provide a safe and respectful space that promotes healthy, coordinated habits for writing and learning.

Hours & Location
The Writing Center is located on the 1st Floor of Brandel Library, room 123.  There is no need to make an appointment; you may stop by whenever the writing center is open:
Sunday, 4 pm – 8 pm
Monday-Thursday: 10 am to noon, 1 pm – 5 pm, and 6 pm – 10 pm

Note that the Writing Center opens week 3 of each new semester begins and stays open throughout finals week.

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/syllabuses 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 Melissa Pavlik for further information.

Classroom Visits

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 Melissa Pavlik, 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 Melissa. 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.

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

WA’s (Undergraduate Writing Advisors) meet with graduate students during Writing Center drop-in hours where they serve as “sympathetic first readers” who can work on higher order concerns such as interpreting prompts, paper organization/development, and checking citation format. WA’s are always welcome to direct graduate students back to their professors if asked content-based questions they feel unqualified to answer or to Melissa Pavlik at for grammar/ESL concerns.

Graduate Student Drop-in Hours: Mondays and Thursdays from 5-10pm. These drop-in hours are hosted by a professional writing coach who has experience working with our SoN graduate students in the former WRIT5000 “Writing for the Professions” program. No appointment is necessary.

Individual Appointments can be made with Melissa Pavlik: (773) 244-4918  or by scheduling a meeting:

Synchronous Online Conferencing is available on a limited basis. Contact Ellen Blum Barish at for more information.

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.