The Center for Excellence in Writing has proven to be a powerful resource for graduate students.
Feel free to come in with specific questions, for a brainstorming session, or to request feedback on a specific aspect of your work. While we may not have a consultant in your discipline, sometimes a thoughtful outside reader can provide you with a valuable perspective about the clarity of your work. There are times when just talking it out with a peer can help you unknot the inevitable tangles in your project.
We can help you with a wide variety of writing projects including:
Even though I had a rather difficult and exclusive topic, he took the time to understand necessary concepts in order to approach the essay.
The CEW helped me a lot in both my dissertation and drafts of my journal papers.
Since CEW consultants are not copy-editors and our work with writers is interactive, we encourage you to use a combination of CEW consulting services and the Graduate Student Association's free copy editing services.
The GSA can be used for straightforward copy-editing work that can be done outside of your presence. Working with a CEW consultant is best for planning revisions and making editorial changes that need to be discussed to make sure your meaning is preserved. The CEW may also help you with stylistic revisions to make your work easier and more pleasing for your audience to read.
If you need both levels of work, it is a great idea to use both GSA and CEW services. For example, you could get copy-editing out of the way before you meet with a CEW consultant. Or you can work with a CEW consultant first on revisions related to meaning and then send your draft out for copy-editing. CEW consultants can also help you to respond to revision suggestions made by the GSA copy-editor.
You can submit up to 50 pages at a time to the GSA.. For full dissertations, students should plan to submit chapters individually and several months in advance of the deadline. Turnaround time for documents submitted to the GSA is roughly two weeks. The GSA also has a Live Chat feature in which you can speak to an editor for a quick copy-edit of a short document (300 words or less), or questions related to grammar and formatting.
Here is the link to access GSA copy-editing services:
Check out our Write Through: Dissertation Inspiration resources below, or jump to our Graduate FAQ at the bottom of this page!
Write Through: Dissertation Inspiration is a collaboration between The Graduate School and The Center for Excellence in Writing. It includes dissertation retreats, workshops on productive writing strategies, and the Write Through article series. Our goal is to bring community, support, and shared wisdom to dissertation writers across UB.
Dissertations writers can become isolated which might lead to a loss of motivation and periods of inactivity. To help dissertation writers keep moving forward toward their goals, we offer programs that create contexts of community, support and accountability. These take the following forms:
Writing Groups: These are weekly meetings, usually in 3 hour blocks, in which writers come together to work on their individual projects. They are usually structured with goal setting at the beginning of the session and a report of accomplishments at the end. The frame of conversation around working time allows for discussion and sharing to overcome common challenges in the dissertation process. Ideally, writers form a community of friendship and support. (Spring 2023 Writing Groups - Sundays 1pm - 4pm and Thursdays 7pm - 10pm.
Dissertation Retreats: Our Dissertation Retreats help you to make bursts of significant progress toward completion of major projects. Dissertation Retreats are five day, focused, writing events. Similar to writing groups, writing days are framed by goal setting and conversation, but the majority of the time is spent working on your individual project. (Next retreat: Spring Break 2023)
Join our listserv (see below) to get announcements and reminders about graduate student programs. Questions? Email email@example.com
We can also help departments to develop in-house groups and retreats.
I like the retreat for hearing the collective struggles and successes of the group. It makes me feel part of a community of writers.
Click here to subscribe to our Graduate Writing Support listserv to receive occasional emails about our various graduate writing and dissertation support programs and events.
Enter the listserv name "CEW-GRAD-WRITING-SUPPORT-LIST" in the box, then enter your UB email. If you are unsure whether or not you are already subscribed, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the listserv FAQ page.
Frequently asked questions about our Graduate level writing and consultations services. If you can't find an answer to your question here, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
We employ MA and PhD level consultants from a variety of disciplines. Our graduate consultants are successful writers in their disciplines and also may have coursework in composition pedagogy and/or experience teaching writing.
Please note: We employ both undergraduate and graduate level consultants. If you are a graduate student, be sure to select a consultant at the appropriate level (designated as M.A. or PhD.)
We may, but we may not. Because of their experience with writing instruction and focus on language, many of our consultants are from English. We are always looking to diversify our consultant pool, but it is impossible to represent every discipline. You should not expect that your consultant be an expert in your content area. Our consultants are, however, very good at helping you gain perspective on the writing process, evaluating and discussing the rhetorical elements of texts, providing thoughtful and sensitive readings of your work, as well as helping with stylistic and grammatical elements of texts. Sometimes it is not an expert that you need, just a thoughtful reader with whom to “talk it out.”
While we can look at an electronic version with you on your laptop, many consultants prefer working with a hard copy that can be easily viewed and that you can mark up during the session. So, if you can, bring a hard copy along with any specific questions or areas of concern. You will direct the agenda of the session.
Our sessions are generally around 45 minutes long, so there is only so much that can be covered in that time. If your paper is very long, decide which portion or portions you want to focus upon. You can schedule follow-up appointments as needed.
The CEW is a great place for international students because working one-to-one with a native speaker who understands the process of language acquisition is perhaps the most efficient way to grow as a writer. We also have multilingual, international writing consultants who understand your experience and the language learning journey. Improving proficiency in written English is a long process, so many international students choose to schedule regular, ongoing appointments. As an added benefit, working one-to-one with a native speaking peer gives you excellent conversational practice as well!
The CEW is not an editing service. The GSA has an editing service that is paid through your student fees. If that service does not meet you needs, you may want to consider hiring an editor for the final stages of your wriitng process. The CEW provides collaborative, one-to-one attention to your writing, for example when editorial changes might affect meaning that requires discussion. Sometimes a combination of consultations and a traditional editing service might be a good solution. The CEW does try to maintain a list of graduate students or recent PhD graduates who offer editing services on a freelance basis.