The following was written and approved by the staff of the Writing Center in November 2019.


From the College Mission: Amherst College educates students of exceptional potential from all backgrounds so that they may seek, value, and advance knowledge, engage the world around them, and lead principled lives of consequence.

Writing is a cornerstone of a liberal arts education. By developing the skills and habits of mind that enable effective communication, students prepare to engage meaningfully with the world. The Writing Center empowers students to develop their own processes and voices as writers, speakers, readers, and learners. Our commitment to inclusion, creativity, and rigorous intellectual engagement informs our approaches to individual consultations, group instruction, programming, and pedagogical support.


  • We believe that there are multiple approaches to the writing process, and that each writer can develop their process through reflection, guidance, and practice.
  • We believe that writing and public speaking are learnable skills, and that all people have the potential to grow and excel in their practice. 
  • We value learner-centered approaches to teaching writing and speaking that balance best practices with reflective experience and the unique goals of each learner.
  • We believe that words can transform [lives, minds, communities, the world]. Writing can serve as a tool for developing one’s own thinking, as a means of connecting to others, and as a vehicle for communicating new knowledge.
  • We value linguistic diversity, which we recognize as intertwined with cultural identity. We honor the agency and voice of individuals and support the right to free expression.
  • We understand writing and speaking to be inherently social and collaborative acts.


  • We aim to build and nurture a community in which writers and speakers can develop skills, voice, confidence, and fluency, at their own pace.
  • We aim to teach writing and communication as both process and product: as tools for making sense of the world and one’s place in it and as means to communicate those insights.
  • We aim to provide faculty and instructional staff with varied forms of support for the effective teaching of writing, speaking, and reading. 
  • We aim to support students as they learn and practice the skills and habits of mind essential for developing as writers and speakers.
  • We aim to guide students to develop the rhetorical awareness necessary to transfer writing and speaking knowledge across disciplines and genres.
  • We aim to approach our work guided by intellectual curiosity, collaboration, and creativity. We aim to be actively engaged with both the College community and with our professional communities.