FAQ from Instructors

Are my students using the Writing Center?
The best way to find out if your students are visiting the Writing Center is to tell them to ask the tutor for a copy of the objective summary that is written after the meeting. The tutor will email the report to the student, who can then share it with you.

You can also email the director to inquire about individual students. If a writer has given permission to share the tutor's report with you, the director will send a copy upon request. If no permission was given, you'll receive confirmation of the day/time that a conference took place and the name of the tutor.

Is it a good idea to require students to visit the Writing Center?
Students tend to be more engaged during conferences when they come to the Writing Center voluntarily. Announcing in class and on your syllabus that you encourage everyone to use the Writing Center and repeating the recommendation privately to individual students usually convinces them to try it.

If you decide to require a Writing Center visit, please keep the following in mind:

  • Before requiring all of your students to visit the Writing Center for a single assignment within a particular time frame, contact the director to see whether we can accommodate your class. Sometimes our schedule is too full to permit it.
  • If you require one visit at any point in the semester (i.e., students get to choose when to go), advise the class not to wait until the last minute. Students who wait until the last week of the semester to make an appointment are unlikely to be able to fulfill the requirement, and we won't make special arrangements for them.

If you award extra credit for Writing Center visits, make it clear to students that to earn credit, they must stay for the entire session and actively participate in the conference.

I told a student to go to the Writing Center to work on grammar. Why does the paper still contain errors?
When it comes to grammar, mechanics, syntax, and word choice, Writing Center tutors focus on process rather than product. That is, we teach students strategies for editing their work and helping them practice identifying and fixing errors. To increase the likelihood that the student will internalize what we're teaching, we focus on a limited number of types of errors per session. Even after hours of hard work, the final product that the student hands in might not be perfect. However, students who visit the Writing Center consistently will improve their writing on the sentence level from semester to semester.

To discuss options for supporting students who need extra help with sentence-level issues, contact Jen Callaghan or Director of Multilingual Writing Vanessa Petroj.

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