FAQs for Faculty

What is the Writing Center’s Mission?

The Writing Center at the University of Miami strives to help all members of the university community learn more about writing and become better writers.  Their professional and friendly consultants work with writers one-to-one on all stages of the writing process, from note-taking and pre-writing approaches to revision strategies and proofreading techniques. 

Who works in the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is staffed by full-time Writing Studies faculty and graduate students. The Writing Center is directed by April Mann, Senior Lecturer in the Writing Studies Program.

One of my students is struggling.  Can he set up regular tutoring appointments throughout the term?

Yes. Students can set up regular tutoring appointments at the Writing Center which can be modified according to their progress.

How can I encourage students to visit the Writing Center?

1. Mention the Writing Center and its services on your syllabus and in class.  Feel free to use any or all of the sample paragraph below in your syllabus:

The Writing Center at the University of Miami strives to help all members of the university community learn more about writing and become better writers.  Their professional and friendly tutors work with writers in one-to-one consultations on all stages of the writing process, from note-taking and pre-writing to revision strategies and proofreading techniques.  The Writing Center works to teach students ways to improve their writing, but tutors will not proofread or edit papers or talk with you about grades. To make an appointment, visit their website at www.as.miami.edu/writingcenter.

2. Invite the Writing Center tutors into your classroom for a quick (5-10 minute) overview of Writing Center services.  

Do you help students proofread their papers?

Yes and no.  The Writing Center is a teaching environment.  So we’re happy to help students to learn how to proofread their own work, but our tutors do not proofread papers as a service for students. 

Do you work with revisions?

Yes.   We can help students with every stage of the writing process, including revision.

Can I send all of my students to the Writing Center?

While you can recommend the Writing Center services to your students, we would prefer that you do not require ALL your students to come.   We have a limited number of tutoring appointments available, and we would like to give priority to those who choose to visit.

Can the Writing Center help my stronger writers?

Yes.  The Writing Center’s mission is not primarily remediation.  We know that writers at all levels, including professional writers and academic scholars, seek out feedback and constructive criticism for their writing projects.  In fact, we try to show students that the further they progress in their studies, the more likely they are to show their work to trusted readers.  In fact, we work with advanced writers all the time, from graduate students finishing their dissertations to faculty members writing books, articles, and grant proposals.

Some of my department's graduate students would like help with their writing.  Can I send them to the Writing Center?

Yes.  We are always happy to work with graduate students at any stage of their writing work.  In fact, graduate students with longer projects such as theses and dissertations might want to visit the Writing Center regularly throughout their work, rather than wait until the project is mostly completed.  More than 30% of the Writing Center's appointments are usually made by graduate students.  An additional 10% of our appointments are used by faculty members working on their own writing projects.

Do you send written notices to faculty when their students visit the Writing Center?

Yes, we are currently sending email notification when undergraduate students visit the Writing Center.  

My students don’t seem to understand their assignment.  Can you help?

Yes.  If students bring us their writing prompts, we will try to help them figure out what they’re being asked to do.  However, since we will not have attended your class discussion of the assignment, we may end up sending them back to you for further clarification.

My students seem to be having trouble with their readings.  Can you help?

We can help students understand their readings.  However, since we are not experts in the subject matter of your course, we may end up sending them back to you for further assistance.  We may also recommend the Camner Center for Academic Resources.

How can your consultants help my students in a content-based course in the disciplines?

Our consultants concentrate on helping writers improve their abilities.  If students are writing for your class, we can help them work on the qualities all good writing should possess:  clarity, coherence, conciseness, awareness of audience, appropriate tone, etc. 

Should I make grade decisions based on Writing Center visits?

No.  The benefit to the student’s writing should be reason enough for their attendance at the Writing Center.  In addition, you should not hold students who visit the Writing Center to a higher standard than other students.

Do consultants in the Writing Center discuss grades with students?

No.  Never.  Writing Center consultants understand that grades and evaluation are outside our mission.  Further, we understand that grades are complex and cannot be predicted outside the context of the classroom.  We concentrate on helping the student become a stronger writer and write a stronger paper.

My student brought her paper to the Writing Center.  Why are there still so many errors?

The Writing Center is a teaching environment.  We try to help students improve their overall writing abilities; we do not “fix” their papers.  We do not proofread or edit a student’s work.  In addition, students retain ownership of the papers even after a Writing Center visit; they decide whether or not they want to incorporate the tutor’s suggestions into their work.  They may also have been advised to add additional sections to their papers.  In these cases, the paper should be stronger overall, even if there are more surface-level errors.

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