Support for Faculty
Our most popular resource among faculty, the Writing Assistance Program assigns trained undergraduate writing assistants to individual courses throughout the disciplines.
How the program works
The program operates on the premise that revision is the single most critical process in improving student writing. A writing assistant allows you to require an extra draft without increasing your reading load. Your students will benefit from the feedback the writing assistant offers; you will benefit by receiving substantially improved papers in the final drafts.
The logistics of using a writing assistant are best devised when you and your writing assistant sit down together at the beginning of the term to discuss your goals and expectations. Typically, your writing assistant will read your students' papers, raise questions and make comments, and return the papers to the students. Students then revise their drafts and turn final papers in to you.
In some instances, you will see the need for a student to meet individually with the writing assistant. The details of these meetings ought to be worked out between you and your writing assistant and are determined in large part by the writing assistant's schedule.
The one requirement of the program is that students must turn in drafts to the writing assistant on time. Your students should understand the multiple-draft process as a course requirement.
Requesting a writing assistant
To request a writing assistant you can either contact Stephanie Boone, the Director of Student Writing Support, or download the request form (PDF), fill it out, and return it to Stephanie Boone via either e-mail or HB 6250.
We ask that you provide us with certain information about your course so that we can more effectively assign our writing assistants. A syllabus is espectially appreciated, in that it helps us to determine how many writing assistants you might need. In most instances, assistants can be expected to handle up to 450 pages of student text in a term. More than this amount will require an additional assistant.
Please note that writing assistants are in high demand, and there are terms when we cannot accommodate late requests. We give priority to requests for courses with significant writing components and to those requests we receive by deadline.
Ideas for using a writing assistantAs stated above, most professors use a writing assistant to require an additional draft of each paper assigned. Other ways that professors have used writing assistants include the following:
- Have the writing assistant work with certain papers and not others.
- Have the writing assistant address small stages of a larger project.
- Have the writing assistant hold open "office hours" for students who would like to talk one-on-one about their writing.
- Please note that writing assistants are required only to read and comment on student text; any further use of the writing assistant must be negotiated with the individual. If you would like to use your writing assistant in ways that would require more time, please note this on your request form.
Tips for making the working relationship a good oneThe working relationship between professor and writing assistant can be extremely rewarding - especially when lines of communication are open. Here are some tips for making sure that your writing assistant fully understands the goals and expectations of your course.
- Give the writing assistant a copy of your syllabus.
- Establish the expectations and parameters of the job.
- Establish and enforce all deadlines.
- Meet with your writing assistant regularly.
Further questions and special requests of the Writing Assistance program should be directed to Stephanie Boone, Director of Student Writing Support Services.
RWIT - the Student Center for Research, Writing and Information Technology - is a collaboration among the Writing Program, the Library, and Academic Computing.
RWIT is designed to offer our students a "one-stop" shop where they can get help with writing, research, multi-media technology, and basic data base construction.
RWIT tutors are undergraduate students who are hired because of their exemplary writing and research skills. Tutors are trained to:
- Diagnose writing and research problems
- Improve students' understanding of the writing and research processes
- Introduce students to the conventions of scholarship
- Help students generate and organize ideas
- Help students find, evaluate, and cite sources
- Offer feedback on student work
- Assist with multi-media compositions, including videos, Web sites, and PowerPoint presentations
- Make referrals
Our tutors are trained to respond facilitatively to student work. Tutors will typically begin with students' ideas and then work through research issues, structure, organization, paragraphing, style, and grammar. Multi-media compostions are similarly evalutated and responded to.
If you have a concern about a student's writing, or if you are designing a particularly challenging writing assignment, please contact Stephanie Boone, Director of Student Writing Support. If you are assigning a research project and would like to discuss research support, please contact Laura Braunstein, Librarian. If you are assigning a multi-media composition, please contact Susan Simon of Academic Computing, who can work to attach a technology tutor to your course.
Hours and Location
RWIT is located on the first floor of Berry, in the northwest corner, behind the Computer Help desk.
Hours are 4 - 6 and 7 - 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday
We can accommodate walk-ins, but students should know that their busiest times of the term are also ours - students should sign up early for slots around midterms and finals.
The Writing Program Online Writing Materials site offers students extensive advice about all aspects of writing in an academic environment. First-year students will find advice about what constitutes academic writing in What is an academic paper? All students will find information ranging from creating a good thesis sentence, to tips for revision, to advice about grammar and style.
We strongly encourage you to visit this site. Faculty who have visited it and read through the material have not only had good words to say about the resource, but have also incorporated the site into their syllabi, some even assigning aspects of the site as required reading for their students.
If you have questions about the Writing Materials for Students web site please contact Karen Gocsik, Executive Director of the Writing Program.
The Writing Program provides opportunities for faculty to gather to talk about writing. Topics include:
- Designing writing assignments
- Responding effectively to student texts
If you are interested in participating in a workshop, or in developing a workshop for your department, please contact Karen Gocsik, Executive Director of the Writing Program.
Please direct your questions to our administrative staff.
If you have questions about the Writing Program's goals or courses, please contact:
Chair of the Writing Program
Baker Library, Room 236
If you have questions about pedagogy, syllabus and writing assignment development, or the materials on this Web site, please contact:
Executive Director of the Writing Program
Baker Library, Room 235
If you have questions about RWIT or the Writing Assistance Program, please contact:
Director of Student Writing Support
Baker Library, Room 234
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