Writing Center


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Frequently Asked Questions: For Instructors

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What is the Writing Center?: The Writing Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, offers free assistance with any project that requires writing to all graduate and undergraduate UNLV students.

Consultants work with students individually (or in small groups as appropriate), usually on writing tasks assigned by you, the instructor. Consultants are trained to help students by asking open-ended questions that encourage students to think about their assignments/topics in new ways. In short, they act as second readers of texts. Consultants offer more direct guidance only as appropriate (such as helping non-native speakers of English with issues in grammar and usage).

Consultants are also available to work with staff and faculty on a space-available basis.

The Writing Center is a unit of the College of Liberal Arts, though students from any discipline are encouraged to use the services of the Center. We are happy to assist students with any writing assignment, regardless of major or course.

Who works at the Center?: Writing Center consultants are primarily English department graduate students and instructors, though we also may have some undergraduate peer tutors and graduate students from other colleges (such as Hotel, Business, Communications, and Education). All consultants are trained to assist students with any stage of the writing process, from generating ideas to polishing final drafts.

Where is the Writing Center?: The Writing Center is located in the Central Desert Complex, Building 3, Room 301 (CDC 3-301). Our phone number is 895-3908.

How does a student see a Writing Center consultant?: Appointments are taken on a first-come, first-served basis and last forty-five minutes. Walk-in visits may be available as well. We also have an Online Writing Lab accessible through our web site. Students can post questions about their writing or submit drafts for response via our easy-to-use form.

What is the educational philosophy of the Writing Center?: We provide a friendly, constructive, student-centered environment in which writers may work to develop confidence in their own writing skills and develop strategies to increase the effectiveness of their own writing techniques; thus, our emphasis is on the writing process rather than on the written product.

Since we view writing as a process, we discourage the idea that the Writing Center is a "trauma center" or "fix-it shop" for "bad" writing. We strive to work with your students over time, pointing out patterns of error as well as working together to improve issues such as audience awareness, coherence, organization, topic development, sentence structure, and diction.

Please be assured that we will neither supply your students with the words to express their ideas nor give them the ideas to express. Instead, we ask students the questions that they may not think to ask themselves, thereby endeavoring to help students find appropriate methods of expression and guide them in finding their own methods of articulating these ideas.

Will someone in the Writing Center proofread my students' work?: Because we believe strongly in our educational philosophy, we do not offer proofreading or editing services. Instead, we work with students to find patterns of error in their writing and suggest methods for locating these errors. If necessary, we can refer students to the English department for information on proofreading/editing services that students may hire.

What other services are NOT offered by the Writing Center?: We do not guarantee a "perfect" paper or that a student will leave the Writing Center with an "A" paper. Indeed, we do not guarantee any grade, and we do not give the students any indication of what their final grade for that assignment might be; we feel that grades are at the sole discretion of instructors. In keeping with the University's policies on plagiarism, we will not write papers for students, and we will not type papers. Instead, we provide computers in our Lab for students to compose and revise their work.

Can students bring essay exams to the Writing Center?: They can, though we ask students to make sure that they have their instructors' permission to do so. If you do not want students to bring in exams, please inform your classes. If you notify us about any limitations, we will make every effort to respect your instructions and to pass that information to any student who brings in your exam.

What about Writing Links?: The Writing Center is able to work with students from the Writing Links program. For more information, please visit the program website.

How does the Writing Center reinforce classroom instruction?: Our services are designed expressly to supplement and reinforce your classroom instruction. The following are just some of the ways that the Writing Center can assist instructors at UNLV:

  • Writing Center consultants are ready and willing to discuss all types of writing assignments with students, from dissertations in Electrical Engineering, to case studies for Hotel Management classes, to research papers in many subjects.
  • We also are available to help students practicing to take the essay portions of standardized tests (such as the PPST or MCAT), with polishing a resume, and, as appropriate, with writing letters of application for jobs or scholarships.
  • The Writing Center offers workshops during the semester focusing on common writing challenges. Past topics have included The Ten Deadly Sins (in grammar and usage); Writing Timed Essays; Mastering the MLA; Essays: Writing with Style; and Sentences: Do's and Don'ts. These fifty- to ninety-minute workshops offer assistance and insight from qualified instructors and graduate students into more general writing issues.
  • Writing Center consultants are available to come to your classroom(s) to introduce our services in 10-15 minutes. During these sessions, consultants will briefly discuss our services, provide informational material (such as brochures and bookmarks) for your students, and answer any questions students might have about our services. All that you have to do is to call the Writing Center and request a visit or submit a request form. You may also email the Assistant Director with the time, location, number of students, contact information, and the desired date of the presentation.
  • The Writing Center maintains a small library of writing-related resources, including composition textbooks and handbooks, dictionaries, and various research method and style manuals. These invaluable resources are available to students while they work in the Writing Center.

How can an instructor include the Writing Center in the classroom?

Please consider using one or more of the following ideas:

  • Encourage students to make appointments early in the writing process so they can receive help in all stages of the writing process.
  • Encourage all of your students, regardless of their writing ability, to come to the Writing Center. We are glad to assist any student, from first-year students to graduate students working on theses or dissertations.
  • Keep your writing assignments (and any special instructions) on file with the Writing Center for easy access during consultations.
  • Emphasize that writing skills are important by offering students extra credit (or other incentives) for attending Writing Center sessions or workshops.
  • Use the summary form provided by the Writing Center detailing our session with your student to track your student's progress. Note: While notifying you of the session is the student's decision, we do encourage all students to have completed forms mailed to their instructors.
  • Include a brief description of the Writing Center and our services along with our location and phone number in your syllabus.

Suggested Syllabi Wording: "One-on-one or small group assistance with writing is available free of charge to students at the Writing Center, located in CDC-301. Although some walk-in appointments are sometimes available, students with appointments will receive priority assistance. Appointments may be made in person or by calling 895-3908. When you go to your appointment, please take a copy of your assignment and any writing that you may have completed on the assignment."

One last note: Our Writing Center depends upon your support, so please let us know how we can serve your students better. If you would like to speak directly to the Director of the Writing Center, Dr. Patrice Hollrah, she can be reached at extension 2600. [ top ]

4505 S. Maryland Parkway | Box 455043
Las Vegas, NV 89154-5043
Main (702) 895-3908 | Fax (702) 895-4480

Friday, 24-May-2013 09:58:26 PDT