Writing Assistants

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Writing Assistants

Our writing assistants program is an initiative that fosters writing as a means of learning in undergraduate courses. Writing assistants read and respond to drafts, and they meet in person once per paper with the same 10 – 12 students who are assigned to them.

Working with a Writing Assistant exposes involved students to the benefits of seeking feedback on their drafts and of planned, timed revision. It also reinforces help-seeking behavior and underlines the value of peer-to-peer learning.

The program's success relies on the careful choice both of writing assistants and of committed faculty members.

Writing assistants are carefully screened, interviewed, and highly recommended undergraduate students. They are carefully trained during the first semester of their employment in a course that teaches them effective strategies for writing useful comments on student papers and conferring with students one-to-one. The course’s final project is a paper based on their own original research.

Writing Assistants

• Are paid $1,200 per semester

• Are drawn from all majors

• Are recruited and carefully vetted; they must be interviewed, provide a writing sample and letters of recommendation

• Are attached to one course per semester

• Work with the same ten or eleven students each semester

• Take a three-credit upper division writing course during their first semester that trains them to write effective comments on student papers and hold effective one-to-one conferences

• Are educated in the process of writing to learn, that is, using writing to foster learning in the disciplines

• Are trained to work with faculty members

• Meet with Center for Excellence in Writing directors regularly, once their course is completed and if they continue in the program.

Faculty members

• Are interviewed to assure a good fit with the program

• Will meet with program administrators to help them work effectively with writing assistants

• Will meet with program administrators to help create effective writing assignments that foster learning in the discipline


• Improves student writing

• Acquaints students with the support provided by the Center for Excellence in Writing after their course is finished

• Provides students with positive experiences of consulting others about their papers

• Enforces early deadlines to show students the advantages of working on papers in stages

• Provides faculty members with better-quality papers

• Provides fellows with a significant work experience that will benefit them for years beyond graduation

Program administrators:

Paula Gillespie, Director, Center for Excellence in Writing, Associate Professor of English

Glenn Hutchinson, Interim Director, Center for Excellence in Writing

Charles Donate, Writing Center Coordinator, Center for Excellence in Writing


Research on former peer tutors and writing fellows at three institutions: http://www.writing.wisc.edu/pwtarp/,Peer Writing Tutor Alumni Research Project

FIU’s writing center and Latin@ students: CCCC http://cccc-blog.blogspot.com/2010/09/successes-and-mini-successes-of-latin.html,Conversations on Diversity: