The Writing Centre (TWC) came under the wing of the Learning and Teaching Centre in September 2007. Since then, we have undergone a number of upgrades, including putting substantial funds into tutor training and increasing the variety of services we provide.
Some students and instructors think of an academic writing centre as a last resort: a “language laundry service” or a “text triage” where poor writing is patched up prior to submission. Our mandate, in contrast, is to help students develop writing and self-editing skills that will make such last-minute measures unnecessary. In short, we focus on the writers, not the writing.
Writing Centre tutors do not edit students’ papers for them; rather, we address the fundamental techniques and attitudes that students bring to their writing.
To accomplish this aim, we practice a ‘hands-off’ tutorial method, posing questions and offering advice rather than taking over students’ texts. As active participants in the tutorial, students are more likely to retain and apply the insights gained during the session.
The brevity of the tutorials (half an hour) allows students to tackle one or two issues at a time without getting overwhelmed. Multiple issues can be addressed in subsequent tutorials; this way, students comes to regard writing as process of practice and revision, rather than a matter of last-minute panic.
If students miss more than two appointments, they are not allowed to book appointments online for the four months following email notification. These students are still welcome to attend the Writing Centre on a drop-in basis.
How We Operate
A session may run like this:
An English 125 student, distressed by the grade her first essay received, comes to work with a tutor. While the tutor may see multiple problems with the student’s writing, the tutorial must always be guided by what the student is ready to learn. If, for example, the student wants to know why her instructor wrote “awkward” next to a paragraph, the tutor can focus on techniques for improving clarity and concision. The student can then apply these insights to subsequent pieces of writing, avoiding or catching awkward phrases before submitting her work for grading. If she feels there are more aspects of her writing that require improvement, she can book another appointment at TWC.
Though this example features a first-year writing issue, The Writing Centre serves students of all levels and disciplines. Many graduate students come to us for help with their theses and dissertations as well as their course work. We encourage these students to visit us regularly, since writing – no matter how advanced or sophisticated – is a skill that can always be improved.
Return to the Writing Centre
The Writing Centre - 250-853-3675 - firstname.lastname@example.org- Rooms 135K, L and M in the McPherson Library - Open Monday through Friday