Wildcat Writing Center clients meet one-on-one with one of our trained Writing Coaches. Typically the student comes in with a working draft of the assignment and sits down with one of our coaches. The student and Writing Coach discuss what the student hopes to accomplish from the meeting and then read through the paper together with those goals in mind.
Often we address “higher order concerns”, or big picture elements, (such as thesis development, organization, audience and purpose,) before “lower order concerns”, or sentence level elements, (such as sentence structure, spelling, grammar, and citation). It would do no good to fix all the grammatical errors in a paragraph, for instance, only to discover after that that paragraph no longer provides useful evidence for the student’s thesis and needs to be cut.
The session is student driven, so rather than directing the student on what edits to make, the Writing Coach responds to the work as a typical reader, and then discusses with the student various options for accomplishing the student’s goals. Again, our goal is to provide a non-evaluative atmosphere where students learn to take ownership of their work and practice writing skills that can help them not only on the immediate assignment, but in the long term as well.
Is the JWU Writing Lab different from the Center for Academic Support?
The outcome of a Wildcat Writing Center visit depends largely on the state of the paper the client initially brings to the consultation, and the amount of time there is to work on the assignment after the visit.
Typically, our visits fall into five categories, ranging from the student seeking help to get started to the student having already gone through several drafts.
Please see "What to Expect from a Writing Center Visit" for detailed explanations of these scenarios and their expected outcomes.
Although we would love to guarantee every student an “A”, it takes a great deal of time and several drafts to write a perfect paper. We can guarantee that students will leave the Wildcat Writing Center with a clearer idea of the purpose of their assignments and the nature of their arguments, as well as a fresh sense of how to approach any difficulties.
While we normally point out grammatical or sentence errors during a consultation, it is not our goal to proofread your paper. There are several reasons for this, but one of the main ones is that our primary focus during the appointment is to address the major concerns, such as strength of ideas, whether or not the requirements of the assignment are met, use of evidence, clarity, etc. By addressing these larger issues first, many of the smaller ones, such as grammar, correct themselves. That is, clear thoughts can give way to clear sentences.
A second reason is that a goal of the Wildcat Writing Center is to help students own their writing process and develop skills to become better writers. Editing is part of the writing process, and if we did that work for them, we would be taking away their opportunity to learn and grow as writers.
No. While we value a student’s desire to improve their writing, our services are only valuable if the student plays an active role in the process. Typically a paper needs more than just grammatical edits to truly be improved, and so a student needs to be present to insure that his or her original intentions are maintained in the editing process.
When you book an appointment with a Writing Coach at either Harborside or Downcity, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a link to cancel your appointment. If you are unable to make the appointment, please click the link to cancel the appointment.
Yes, we always welcome walk-in appointments and do our best to accommodate everyone that needs help. However, if we have an appointment scheduled, we must honor that appointment first and foremost. It is always best to schedule an appointment ahead of time to guarantee availability.
As a faculty member, how can I encourage my students to use the JWU Writing Lab?
The best way is to allow us to visit your classroom and explain the benefits of visiting the Writing Center directly to your students. Another way is to encourage students on your own by making an announcement in class or placing an insert into your syllabi and/or a link to our website: http://pvd.library.jwu.edu/wwc.
While we appreciate all types of support, we do discourage mandating student visits to the Wildcat Writing Center. While the intention may be good, often times students forced to use our services do not come in with the open-mindedness and willingness to work that make a WWC consultation truly beneficial. Extra credit and/or revision opportunities that are contingent on a WWC visit are welcomed, however.