In addition to offering individual writing conferences for students, the Writing Center provides a range of support for faculty who want to put more emphasis on writing in their classes.
Below, we’ll suggest some ways that the Writing Center might be a part of your class each semester, and we’ll also offer some resources that you can put to use on your own if you like.
If you have other ideas, we’d like to hear them. We’re always happy to brainstorm with you about new ways we might interact with faculty and students, and in every case, we’ll want to tailor our own resources to the specific needs of your class.
Include us on your syllabus
One of the most essential ways to let students know that you want them to make use of the Writing Center is to include a supportive statement on your syllabus, on Canvas, or on individual assignments. Feel free to copy the example below and paste it into your class materials.
Writing Center Description for Syllabi
As you work on the writing assignments in this class, consider making an appointment at the Washington College Writing Center. There, you can meet with a knowledgeable peer consultant and receive one-to-one feedback over any kind of writing, at any stage in your writing process: before you begin writing, once you’ve started, or as you’re editing a final draft. In this exchange, you’ll get a new perspective on your ideas, and you’ll gain some strategies to help you improve on what you’ve written. Every writer, no matter how experienced, can benefit from the response of a thoughtful, engaged reader.
The Writing Center is a resource that is available to any member of the college community. To find out more, drop by the Center in Goldstein 106 or visit their web site at http://www.washcoll.edu/wc/offices/writing-center to schedule an appointment.
Invite us to your class
At any point in the semester, you can contact us to have a member of the Writing Center come by your class for a brief introduction. We’ll take 10-15 minutes to introduce students to our services or to remind them how to make best use of us during their writing process. We’d recommend that a visit like this should occur either early in the semester or near the due date for a significant assignment.
Offer students an incentive
As is the case with all well-meant exhortations, simply telling students that they should go to the Writing Center probably won’t have a significant influence on their behavior. Offering threats, of course, is even less effective. The best way to encourage students to be responsible about their writing and to make effective use of the Writing Center is to offer them an incentive. This might take the form of a quiz grade, a few bonus points on an assignment, or some other extra credit. You can even turn the experience into an excellent opportunity for reflection. Below is a response form Professor Alisha Knight developed for her classes. Feel free to modify this form or create something similar. However, we would ask that you please talk with us first if you plan on creating a formal incentive for your students. That way, we’ll be on the same page when your students come in for writing conferences, and we’ll be able to help them meet your expectations.
Writing Conference Reflection Form
Writing Center ‘Debriefing’ Form
If a student participates in a consultation session in the Writing Center and submits a brief report to me after the session, then I will drop her/his lowest quiz grade. This is a standing offer that can be redeemed multiple times this semester. In other words, submit a debriefing form after each visit to receive extra credit.
Your Name ___________________________________________________________________
Writing Center Consultant’s Name ________________________________________________
Date of Visit __________________________________________________________________
What was the original purpose of your visit? (E.g., to brainstorm for ideas, to develop an outline prior to drafting an essay, to discuss your thesis statement, etc.)
What did you actually discuss and how did you apply what you discussed to the completion of the assignment? (Continue your debriefing on the back of this form.)
Schedule in-class workshops and peer review
We regularly offer in-class workshops for faculty teaching everything from introductory level courses to senior seminars, and we’d be happy to talk with you about planning one or more of these for your own classes. Below is a list of our most frequent requests:
Getting started on assignments
Focusing thesis statements
Developing and sustaining arguments
Shaping research projects
Using sources in academic writing
Paraphrasing and summarizing
Working on specific kinds of assignments (research proposals, literature reviews, personal statements)
Using documentation styles (MLA, APA, CMS)
Understanding sentence structure and punctuation
Doing textual or literary analysis
Typically, for the purpose of coherence, we prefer to take on only one topic per class meeting. Our workshops are normally designed for a 40-50 minute session, but we can work with you to plan something a bit shorter or longer depending on the topic.
A member of the Writing Center can also visit your class to introduce students to the process of peer review and help facilitate group work. If you’re developing a writing intensive class, you might want to combine peer review sessions with one or more of the options mentioned above so that students have an opportunity to focus on their writing across the semester.
Talk with us about your course plans
We’re happy to talk with you at any time about ways of making writing more central to your own teaching. We can brainstorm with you about writing assignments, offer insight into the kinds of feedback students find most helpful, and provide resources to support the writing activities you already have in place. Feel free to contact the Director or Assistant Director at your convenience to set up a time to talk.