Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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University Writing Center
University Writing Center
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.
People often mistakenly think of writing centers as places for people in trouble—places where "experts" tell them everything that is wrong with their writing. That is not the case here. We believe that writing is a social act and that talk about writing is essential to revision, no matter the skill level of the writer. Whether you are a freshman brainstorming essay topics for English 100, a junior revising a lab report for Psychology 323, or a graduate student fine-tuning references in Turabian on an article being sent out for publication, our staff of graduate students and talented undergraduates are trained to assist you with your writing concerns.
Our consultants come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. We believe that the best person to tutor writing from a particular discipline is a person who writes in that discipline. In other words, the best person to tutor a lab report from biology is someone who has spent time writing in the genres valued by biology. Not only is the University Writing Center staffed by graduates students in English who are proficient in a number of different discourses, we also have consultants that specialize in psychology, history, computer science, theater, natural sciences, instructional design and technology, journalism, communication, and career writing.
The Consulting Session
A typical consulting session is usually fifty minutes long. Your consultant will begin the session by asking you what you want to work on and for a copy of your writing assignment, which will help the consultant understand what your instructor values for writing. Once the values important to the assignment are clear, the paper will be read aloud, after which the consultant will help you prioritize what the session should focus on and lead you through a number of collaborative activities to help you find ways to revise.
Another common misconception about writing centers is that they are places to bring papers for someone else to edit. Consultants are trained to begin with global-level issues as determined by the assignment. That is, consultants will typically address issues such as purpose, audience, and organization before focusing on sentence-level issues. Once the global-level issues have been addressed, the consultant will focus on sentence-level issues by teaching proof-reading strategies and helping you understand and revise the grammatical errors you make the most.