I’m teaching a First Year Seminar. What special services and resources do you have for that?
We offer many resources to help support first year seminar instructors and their students:
- You can also check out our Oral Expression Resources page, which has resources for students but also a faculty section with instructional techniques and pre-made activities.
- You can consider Required Visits for a Whole Class.
- You can ask for Assignment Feedback to get an idea of how your assignments will be read and interpreted by students.
- You can request instructional materials (e.g., handouts, practice activities, peer review worksheets, etc.) from the Center.
Can students practice a presentation and record it?
Our filming setup is not currently operational, but we can usually arrange for students to practice presentations. Students working individually can usually schedule regular tutoring appointments, but students working in groups or requiring access to a projector will need to make special arrangements. Please contact Mandy Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How do students make appointments for speaking tutorials?
Students make appointments online just as they would for writing tutorials. Students working individually can usually schedule regular tutoring appointments, but students working in groups or requiring access to a projector will need to make special arrangements. Please contact Mandy Taylor at email@example.com for more information.
Can I require an entire class to use the Center for a speaking assignment or presentation?
Yes, but please read about Required Tutorials for an Entire Class. Also, if you are requiring students to film, use LI115 (as opposed to a tutoring room), and/or visit in groups, availability is extremely limited due to the constraints of our current setup. If you would just like students to work individually or in small groups with a tutor in a tutoring room, we are better able to accommodate that.
Is the Writing and Speaking Center just for first-year students?
No. Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, MAT students, and some Staff use the Writing Center as well. Some of the tutors even use it.
Are all the tutors English majors?
Some are English majors, some double major in English and another subject, and some are completely outside the English major.
Meet the Tutors.
Meet the Tutors.
Can you help students with formatting and citations?
We can help to some extent. The tutors come from all different majors, so we don’t necessarily have first-hand or exhaustive knowledge of every style manual, so we can’t simply check papers to make sure they follows certain guidelines. However, we can usually assist students with things like deciding when to credit a source, paraphrasing, etc. For specific formatting and citation rules, we can look at style manual and other resources with students and discuss some examples to get you on the right track. If we can’t answer their questions, we will probably refer students to the professor or a reference librarian for assistance.
How can I find out if my students used the Writing and Speaking Center?
If a student has a Writing Center tutorial, he or she can request that the tutor e-mail you the contact report (appointment summary).
Can I require my entire class to visit the Writing and Speaking Center?
Yes, but please read about Required Tutorials for an Entire Class.
How do students schedule appointments?
Students schedule appointments online. They can select the time they’d like, and they fill out an online form to let us know what class they are in, what assignment they are working on, and what they would like to address in the tutorial. Once their appointments are scheduled, they receive an auto-confirmation e-mail, and they can cancel, reschedule, or modify their appointment online.
Can students schedule repeating appointments?
Sure. Students can schedule as far in advance as they would like, so they can schedule a series of appointments up to the end of the semester if they wish. We do find, however, that relatively few students benefit from this type of arrangement as it does not necessarily fit the timing of the assignment or anticipate their needs, so we recommend students not schedule without specific steps of specific assignments in mind.
Can students use the Writing and Speaking Center if they have not started the assignment yet?
Of course. The tutors are happy to help with all stages of the process. Students need an idea of what they want to work on (brainstorming, outlining, formulating a thesis, etc.), but they do not need to have started writing yet.
How do I arrange for a tutor to visit my class and explain how the Center works?
How do I schedule a workshop?
The Center no longer offers in-class workshops as we found that they were not the best way to address students’ needs. Workshops are also very time-intensive for the Center, so they limited our ability to provide other services, and we were only able to provide workshops for a handful of classes each semester. While the Center no longer provides workshops, we are happy to advise you on how to develop your assignments and instruction. If you would like assistance with your assignment or with developing in-class writing instruction, please e-mail Mandy Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What kind of training do the Writing and Speaking Center tutors receive?
After a rigorous application and selection process, peer tutor candidates complete a one-semester upper-division training course with Dr. Click or Dr. O’Sullivan and Mandy Taylor. During this training, peer tutor candidates learn the history and theory of writing centers, but they also receive training in tutorial procedures, sentencing conventions, and rhetorical awareness. The peer tutor candidates interview veteran peer tutors, participate in mock tutorials, observe real tutorials, and assist veteran peer tutors in order to learn how to work in the Center. All peer tutor candidates must pass the training course and a proficiency exam before beginning work at the Center. Once hired at the Center, peer tutors receive additional training during weekly meetings.
How do I encourage students to use the Writing and Speaking Center?
Students get the most out of tutorials when they visit of their own accord, but there are several things professors can do to help. Class visits help acquaint students with how the Center works and how it can help. Professors can also show that they value student effort on and improvement in writing by allowing students to revise and resubmit assignments.
We have polled incoming students and found that the overwhelming majority are not opposed to using the Center, but we do find that students need some guidance from professors to learn when and how to incorporate our services into their process.
I referred a student to the Writing and Speaking Center, but I haven’t seen much improvement. Why is that?
We strive to make better writers instead of better writing and better presenters instead of better presentations. In other words, the student you referred probably benefitted from the experience of the tutorial, but that benefit may not be immediately reflected in his or her writing or speaking. Tutors also only give suggestions, so students may choose not to follow our advice. It’s also possible that we addressed a skill other than the one you had in mind.