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.
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.
Dissertation Retreats: Our Dissertation Retreats, co-sponsored by The Graduate School, 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 projects.
Topical Workshops: In addition to the intellectual, scholarly challenges, writing a dissertation is a large, multi-dimensional project to manage. In the rearview mirror, most dissertation completors, recognize the project management skills that they have developed, the pitfalls they encountered and how they dug themselves out of these holes and got back on track. It can save graduate students a lot of time and frustration to be aware of these dimensions and pitfalls in advance and to begin collecting strategies toward a successful dissertation journey. Topical workshops on Dissertation project management include time management, mindset, community and well-being.
If you are interested in any of these dissertation support programs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the latest schedule and get on our list-serve.
We can also help departments to develop in-house groups and retreats.
I would participate in this every day until my dissertation was complete, if it was available.
I like the retreat for hearing the collective struggles and successes of the group. It makes me feel part of a community of writers.
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.