Information for Faculty and Staff

Thank you for your interest in the work of the Center for Excellence in Writing (CEW). Our goal is to work with you in our shared mission to promote the development and well-being of students.  We welcome all communication (email writing@buffalo.edu) and appreciate you connecting your students with the writing center resource.  

Faculty Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do in the writing center?

We devote the majority of our resources to one-to-one consultations.  Our consultants shape their work in each session based upon the unique goals and needs of the writer and the particulars of their writing situation. In other words, we are writer-centered. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all approaches. Whenf your student visits us, they will get 45 minutes of our consultant’s time, a listening ear, a chance to talk through their ideas and dilemmas, and thoughtful feedback on their writing.

 

Who uses writing center services?

Writing ability is developed through active participation in communication situations and writing processes. Use of the writing center is an increased form of participation. Therefore, our users tend to be among the most hard-working and engaged writers on campus.  Many make regular, even weekly, use of writing support. Many users are working on high stakes projects like personal statements and other application materials.  Around 30 percent of our users are graduate students. More than half of our users are multilingual.  Faculty and staff are welcome to use our service as well, and our consultants regularly make appointments with each other to “talk out” their writing dilemmas. 

Who works in the writing center?

Our staff is comprised of one full time director, one GA, and between 30 – 40 writing consultants.  Our writing consultants are all students.  Our undergraduate consultants have generally been recommended by faculty members and have taken a semester-length course in Writing Center Theory and Practice as a prerequisite to employment.  Our MA and PhD level consultants are from a variety of disciplines, and many of them teach writing in the University’s Academic and Professional Writing Program.  Our consultants are not content experts, but they provide thoughtful feedback on both rhetorical and mechanical levels. We aim for ten hours of professional development each semester.

Should I require my whole class to use the writing center?

We would appreciate it you didn't!  Writing Centers have practical and pedagogical reasons for discouraging instructors from requiring or incentivizing writing center use.  Most importantly:    

  1. Demand for writing consultations regularly exceeds our supply of appointments.  When our schedule is filled with students fulfilling a course requirement, writers who are self-initiating out of an authentic need for support may not get the help they need. 
  2. Research and our past experiences show that self-initiation at an authentic point of need is the recipe for a successful developmental experience in a consultation.  With required visits, we tend to have excessive no-shows and reschedules, appointments lacking in engagement, and sometimes brief consultations in which the writer only wants verification of their visit. This is demoralizing to staff and a waste of resources. 

The good news is that this policy allows us to be available to your students when they need us. Positive experiences in the writing center will lead to regular use and intensified writing development! 

How can I encourage my students to use writing center services?

We appreciate you connecting your students with our resource -- all students need and deserve this form of support.  You can help us by

  1. Including information about us in your syllabus:  You can copy and paste this paragraph into your syllabus:

    The Center for Excellence in Writing (CEW) is available to help you with your essays, supplementing class instruction with informal, supportive dialogue from an experienced and skilled fellow student (undergraduate or graduate level). The CEW offers both in person and remote consultations. We can help with planning, brainstorming, revising and to work through any obstacle you are encountering in the writing process.  Go to buffalo.edu/writing to learn more and to make an appointment.  Should you have any difficulty, email writing@buffalo.edu.
  2. Scheduling a quick class visit.  Having one of our friendly consultants pop in to your class can do wonders for giving the students a sense of the positive ethos of our center, what to expect and how to connect.  10 minutes should do the trick!  Email writing@buffalo.edu to arrange a visit. 
  3. Periodically reminding students about the availability of writing support, and framing writing center use as a habit of hardworking, engaged students. 
  4. Directing students to support materials on our website. 

Aside from one-to-one consultations, what other kind of support do you offer?

For graduate students

Working on extended projects such as theses or dissertations can be an isolating experience in which many of us begin to lose momentum or get bumped off course.  Our writing retreats, weekly writing groups, and productivity workshops are designed to help graduate writers manage both the writing and non-writing parts of graduate work.  Interested graduate students should email writing@buffalo.edu to register for our graduate student list serve, check our website for upcoming offerings or follow us on social media. 

To promote empowering ideas about getting through the writing process, keep an eye out for the “Write Through: Dissertation Inspiration” series which is distributed through The Graduate School and is also accessible through our website. 

For Faculty

  1. Individual consultations on assignment design and assessment practices.

  2. Workshops on topics related to writing instruction such as responding to student papers and managing your workload.

  3. Starting in Fall 2021, we share helpful ideas about writing instruction through a monthly newsletter.  Email writing@buffalo.edu to subscribe.

For international students

We love working with international and multilingual students. UB is fortunate to have students from all over the globe studying with us and those doing university work in a second (or even third!) language are really taking on a challenge!  To serve multilingual students, we provide our consultants with a good deal of professional development informed by TESOL and Translingualism. We tend to do more sentence-level work with multilingual students, helping them to reformulate confusing sentences and find the words that most accurately convey their intended meanings.  

International graduate students often work intensively with consultants over a long period of time, forming close and mutually beneficial intellectual partnerships. The progress they make regularly astounds us.  In short, do not hesitate to direct your international/multilingual students our way!

Resources for Faculty

The Center for Excellence in Writing  encourages faculty to integrate writing into their curriculum in order to help students synthesize and transfer knowledge and get involved in the discourse of the discipline.  Here are some resources. 

Syllabus insert

Copy and paste the following language into your syllabus:

The Center for Excellence in Writing (CEW) is available to help you with your essays.  Our appointments will be one-to-one via a virtual platform where you can see and talk to a friendly writing consultant and share your draft.  We can help with planning, brainstorming, revising – really to help you to work through any obstacle you are encountering in the writing process.  Go to buffalo.edu/writing to make an appointment.  Should you have any difficulty, email writing@buffalo.edu. ​