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About the UWC

 

"In a writing center the object is to make sure that writers, not necessarily their texts, are what get changed by instruction. In axiom form it goes like this: our job is to produce better writers, not better writing." -Stephen North, "The Idea of a Writing Center"

 

Our Mission

The mission of the University Writing Center, which serves the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses, is to offer students at any academic level collaborative, one-on-one consultation on writing projects from any discipline at any point in the writing process.

 

Since 1984, this axiom has been central to the missions of writing centers across the United States. For Western’s writing center, any piece of writing you bring—a short essay for a composition course, a lab report for chemistry, a cover letter and résumé, a chapter from a graduate thesis—is an occasion to teach transferrable knowledge about writing. We are thrilled when you take what you learn in the center and improve the writing you brought to us, but ultimately, our mission is to teach you ways of thinking about writing and encourage attitudes toward the writing process that will help you learn how to write the many and often very different kinds of writing you will encounter learning to write in your major.

If our job is to produce a better writer, what kind of writer should we produce? Our goal is to produce a writer who can engage in what we call “transfer-oriented thinking.” The talk about writing that occurs in the center will help you think critically about what you know about writing and how you are drawing upon that knowledge when you write. In addition, such discussions will help you develop a complex and accurate understanding of how writing functions for professionals in your field, including the amount and kinds of writing you will be doing. In short, we hope to produce writers that critically consider past and future and, in doing so, produce writers that carefully consider context when writing. Careful consideration of context may mean simply applying what you already know about writing. More often than not however, it means engaging in the difficult process of rethinking what you know about the writing process, about genre, and about the relationship between writing and community, or even leaving what you know behind altogether, when writing in new contexts.

To make an appointment, call 309-298-2815. We work with writers from any discipline, at any academic level, and at any point in the writing process. We’ll start by teaching you how to more effectively read your assignment and any feedback you have received on your writing. After reading the paper aloud, we’ll have a conversation about your writing, which will first focus on global-level issues, such as audience, organization, argument and support, and the incorporation of research, and then focus on grammar. When we get to sentence-level issues, we won’t edit the paper for you. Research in writing studies has shown that editing the paper for you won’t produce a better writer. What we’ll do is teach you editing strategies that you can use in other writing situations. We’ll also teach you about the patterns of errors you make the most, why you are making those errors, and how to resolve them on your own.

 

Contact us to schedule an appointment