For Faculty: Conversations about Writing

The Writing Center offers faculty individual consultations on writing instruction. Writing associates offer a perspective on the teaching of writing that complements your particular disciplinary expertise and classroom experience.  As tutors at the Writing Center, they have seen many writing assignments and have gained a deep understanding of how students of diverse ability-levels, backgrounds, and learning styles respond to them.  As trained teachers of writing, they can draw on their backgrounds in writing pedagogy to help you to improve your students’ writing with the least amount of time and grief.

We would be pleased to meet with you to discuss whatever aspect of writing pedagogy you wish.  Here are a few examples of the type of consultations that we can provide, with descriptions below.

If you are interested in having a personal consultation with one of our writing associates, please contact Jyl Gentzler.

Conversation on Assignment Design

Whether you are creating a new course or fine-tuning assignments you have used for years, we’d be pleased to offer feedback, suggestions, or more general discussion of writing assignments. The consultation we offer might center on the level and specificity of the guidance that you provide in your assignments, the optimal sequencing of assignments, compositional approaches implicitly and explicitly conveyed by your assignments, formal and informal assignments, the clarity of your assignment language, or any related topic of interest to you. Our aim is to support your efforts to produce writing assignments that elicit the kind of essay you want your students to produce, and that fosters the skills, knowledge, and understanding you intend for them to gain. We’d be pleased to review in advance any syllabi, course materials, or draft assignments you’d like to discuss.

Conversation on Written Comments

Developing as a writer requires not only practice and instruction, but also expert feedback. The written comments you provide for your students on their papers may well represent the majority of the individual feedback that you offer them as writers. To support your efforts to maximize the effectiveness of this feedback, we are available to pursue a conversation centering on review, analysis, and discussion of a set of already commented-upon papers, or a more general discussion on the subject of commenting. Our conversation might address such topics as how students perceive and work with comments; alternative commenting models; managing macro- and micro-level writing concerns; supporting feedback with classroom instruction; commenting for nonnative English speakers; use of rubrics; use of in-text marks (for those who comment by hand); the role of grades in feedback; and efficiency strategies for time spent commenting.

Conversation on Writing Instruction in the Classroom

With the increasing diversity of educational backgrounds and preparation levels that our students demonstrate in their written work, many faculty members are seeking to teach writing more explicitly and in more depth. To support these efforts, the Writing Center offers conversations both to explore new ideas for the classroom and to provide feedback on lessons and plans that you are developing. Our conversation might address pedagogical strategies for helping students to generate ideas and to revise effectively, such as in-class writing and peer-revision activities.  We might also discuss lessons on engaging with sources, distinguishing voices and avoiding accidental plagiarism, or strategies for writing while conducting research.