Our core service is a one to one consultation in which each writer has the opportunity to talk about their particular interests or needs related to writing. The consultant can help the writer with any stage of the writing process.
How can writing consulations help my students?
Writing is a challenging process that involves a great deal of decision making. Especially for writers novice in a genre, the process can become overwhelming and lead to procrastination or shortcuts harmful to their success. "Talking it out" throughout the process, can help writers to keep moving forward. Our consultants are particularly skillful with the mediational moves that can help students, whether it be dialogue, acting as a sounding board, questioning, feedback or direct instruction.
Should I require or incentivize my students to come to the writing center?
In short, no. Writing center support functions best when students are met at points of authentic need and initiate their own visits at the CEW. We do hope you will encourage your students to visit the writing center and we would be happy to visit your class to invite them. Another reason why we ask professors not to require visits or offer extra credit is that we often are running a waiting list and students who really want or need writing assistance find it difficult to get an appointment.
I have heard that you don't edit or proofread papers for students. What does this mean?
It simply means that we won't go line by line through a student paper, locating and fixing every error for them. We are a teaching resource. We certainly will help students to achieve better mechanical control in their writing. They will be actively involved in the process of gaining awareness of their own patterns of error and making progress on these. We encourage students to do global revisions prior to perfecting individual sentences. Many of our consultations are helping students with half finished drafts or drafts that require substantive revision before proofreading.
How do you help international students?
About 60% of our visitors are students working outside of their native language. As one might expect, these ambitious students encounter many challenges from understanding the expectations expresssed in their assignment sheets, to generating sufficient material, to understanding how to integrate research, to writing with clarity and conventional sentence structure. The journey toward proficiency in a foreign language is a long one, and we help students to accelerate their progress. On the sentence level, we help students to reformulate their sentences as needed, expand their vocabulary so that they can express what they want to say, and to recognize the patterns of error that they can look for in their proofreading process. Many international students choose to visit the writing center on a regular basis.
How do you support graduate students?
Many graduate students find that "talking it out" with a peer in a consultation format is a very productive way to help them clarify and develop ideas and work through dilemmas in their process. Many graduate students regularly bring in small chunks of their larger projects to work on issues of language and clarity. We also contribute to productivity and completion through our dissertation retreats and writing groups. Accountability and community can be vital to keep dissertators moving forward.
What if I have a concern?
Positive communication between faculty and the writing center is critical. After all, have a shared purpose in supporting student development and progress. Expect any questions or concerns to be warmly embraced by center leadership. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries or concerns.
UB’s national and linguistic diversity is a significant asset. International students have embraced the CEW’s individual consultation services and are welcome to come in as needed. Many will benefit from ongoing, regular appointments. We hope you will join us in supporting multilingual. See our page on supporting multilingual writers to learn more.