The Writing Center is a place to talk about writing. We believe that we become better writers when we seek feedback and reflect on our writing at all stages of the writing process.
Our peer writing consultants aid that reflection by asking questions and making suggestions that guide writers toward making effective choices, not just in pieces they discuss in the Writing Center, but also in their future writing.
Consultants are readers and responders, not graders or evaluators, and they’re not experts in every genre of writing. Yes, they provide the crucial feedback of a real reader, but they don’t have all the answers. This basic assumption should help everyone involved with the Writing Center:
- consultants shouldn’t feel that they have to know all conventions of writing in all genres
- writers visiting the Writing Center shouldn’t feel that they are being judged, that their writing will be magically fixed by a consultation, or that they are losing any of their authority over their work
- classroom instructors shouldn’t worry that consultants will give their students advice at odds with their values or assumptions about writing
The Writing Center is currently closed for the Summer 2015 break. We will reopen on Monday, August 31, 2015.
The Writing Center and the Virtual Writing Center close on school holidays, fall, winter, spring, and summer breaks, Senior Day, and finals week.
Visiting The Writing Center
What to bring to your session:
- Any notes, drafts, or sources you’ve been using on your current writing task
- The assignment
- Ideas about what you’d like your session to focus on
- A print or digital copy of your newest draft; if you’d like, you can bring a laptop or e-mail a copy in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org
What to expect from your session:
- The big picture: With one of our peer writing consultants, you’ll discuss the writing project (including the assignment itself and any notes from your professor), your goals for the session, and your strengths and weaknesses in approaching this kind of assignment.
- The text: If you have a draft of your writing, you’ll then discuss it with the consultant, focusing on the goals you discussed together. (If you don’t have a draft yet, that’s okay; we can help you discover ways to get started.) Many consultants will ask you to read your work aloud with a pen in your hand.
- Question and answer: Don’t be surprised if the consultant asks you a lot of questions–that’s what they’ve been trained to do! You might be asked to explain big-picture and sentence-level choices you made in your draft. For example, you might be asked, “Can you help me understand how these two paragraphs relate to each other?” or “How would you rephrase this sentence if you were explaining it to a friend?”
- A report: Together with the consultant, you’ll write a report of your visit, including brief notes on what you discussed and what some of your next steps could be. The consultant will then email a copy of the report to you and, with your permission, your instructor.
- Optional follow-up: If you’d like another visit to continue your conversation with this consultant later, be sure to set up an appointment. We encourage you to visit often, at various stages of your writing process.
Virtual Writing Center
The Virtual Writing Center (VWC) is designed as a digital version of our face-to-face Writing Center (in the Howard Colman Library). While we recommend the rich communication of a face-to-face consultation, we realize that some writers find it inconvenient to travel to campus. This service is only available for Rockford University students.
Please allow up to 48 hours for us to read and respond to your draft. When we are overwhelmed with face-to-face consultations (especially during midterm and exam times), we may not be able to respond to requests for online draft reviews in a timely fashion.
The Fine Print:
- We do not provide remedial or proofreading services.
- Peer tutors will not help with take-home exams unless the instructor sends us permission in writing.
Online Writing Resources:
- Web site of The Norton Field Guide to Writing, the handbook used in RHET 101 and 102, includes writing, grammar, and research exercises, sample papers, and guides for usage and documentation.
- The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University is a reliable, comprehensive source for writers at all levels and from all disciplines and majors.
- ‘Dave’s ESL Café’ provides a good online base for English Language Learners.