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 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. 


Who works in the Writing Center?

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

Can I require a student to visit the Writing Center?

Although you can require a student to come to the Writing Center, it may not produce the desired results. Students who are required to come may not be as motivated to work on improving their writing as students who decide to visit.  We suggest you encourage students throughout the term, especially those who might need extra writing support.

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.  It is helpful to bring your assignment prompt with you on your visit.  To make an appointment, call (305) 284-2956 or 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. 

3. Bring your class to the Writing Center for the same quick tour. 

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.  We will help those students who are allowed to receive such help get in touch with proofreaders or editors they can pay for that service.


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 really strong writers, even in my honors classes?

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.


Some of my 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.


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

Yes, we are now sending email notification when students visit the Writing Center.  In addition, each time writers visit the Writing Center, they have the opportunity to fill out a Strategies for Revision Record form.  They take this form with them when they leave the Writing Center.  If you would like them to submit this form with their papers, you might want to mention this in class or on your syllabus.  On our website, we offer a description of the Writing Center that you should feel free to cut and past into your syllabus.

Information for Syllabi 


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 the reading.  Can you help?

We can help students understand the readings that they are working on, and we keep several books on reading strategies on our shelves.  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.


How can I encourage my students to use Writing Center services?

There are several ways you can help make the Writing Center an important part of a student’s academic resources: You can mention the Writing Center on your syllabus (see our “Resources for Faculty” page for a downloadable description of the Writing Center for your syllabus: Information for Syllabi ); you can bring a tutor into your class to explain Writing Center services; you can recommend our services throughout the semester to particular students or whole groups; and you can encourage revision in your students’ writing projects, allowing them the time and motivation to keep working on their writing throughout the term..


Can the Writing Center help me revise or develop writing assignments for my courses?

We are always happy to work with faculty on your writing prompts.  Below are links to writing across the curriculum and writing in the disciplines (WAC and WID) websites.  In addition, the College of Arts and Sciences sponsors the Summer Writing Institute, which provides full-time faculty in CAS with tools and strategies to further integrate writing instruction into content-based classes.

WAC Clearinghouse: wac.colostate.edu
Writing in the Disciplines: wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop2e.cfm


Should I give extra credit to students who use the Writing Center?

No.  Students who come to the Writing Center for points are, often, not genuinely coming for help.   Since we have a limited number of appointment slots, we would like priority to go to students who are actively seeking writing help.


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

Our tutors 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.


Besides tutoring, what other services does the Writing Center offer for students?

We offer workshops for students throughout the school year on topics of interest to them, including citation styles, using supporting evidence, and assembling a writing portfolio.  We also offer many links through our website to helpful and informative writing guide sites.

Writing Center Writing Guides


What services does the Writing Center offer for faculty?

If requested, we will come into your classes to work on particular writing issues.  We also provide helpful links for the teaching Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) or Writing in the Disciplines (WID) on our website.


Do tutors in the Writing Center discuss grades with students?

No.  Writing Center tutors understand that grades and evaluation are matters for the instructor.  We concentrate on helping the writer become a stronger writer and write a stronger paper.


What is the “Grammar Hotline”?

The “Grammar Hotline” is a service we’ve offered for many years.  Any time the Writing Center is open, anyone can call (we’ve had calls from across the country) and ask for specific help solving a limited grammatical question or problem.  The number is (305) 284-2956.


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.

 

The Writing Center • (305) 284-2956