Frequently Asked Question - Instructors

What is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas offers free assistance with any writing project to any currently enrolled UNLV student and any currently employed faculty or staff member. The writing task or project does not have to be school related, not need it be for an English or Composition course.

Consultants work with writers individually (or in small groups as appropriate), often on writing tasks assigned by an instructor. Consultants are trained to help writers by asking open-ended questions that encourage them to think about their writing tasks in new ways grounded in considerations of context, audience, purpose, and genre. In short, consultants primarily 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, usage, and vocabulary-building).

Writing Center workshops about a variety of topics including grammar, structure, and style, are held throughout the semester.

The Writing Center is a unit of the College of Liberal Arts, although students from any discipline are encouraged to use our services. We are happy to assist writers with any writing task, with the exception of documents that will be used for legal purposes.

Who are the consultants?

Writing Center consultants are primarily English department graduate students and part-time instructors, though we also often have some undergraduate peer consultants and graduate consultants from other colleges (such as Hotel, Business, Communications, and Education). All consultants are trained to assist writers with any stage of their 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 702-895-3908.

How does a writer see a Writing Center consultant?

Appointments are taken on a first-come, first-served basis and last up to forty-five minutes. Walk-in consultations may occasionally be available as well. We also have an Online Writing Lab (OWL), which is accessible through our web site, where writers can post questions about their writing or submit drafts for response via our easy-to-use form. Finally, our Quick Questions service gives writers whose questions can be answered in ten or fewer minutes immediate access to an available consultant.

How can instructors verify a student’s writing consultation?

Upon checking in to the Writing Center, students can let us know whether or not they want an instructor notified. The student must present us with their instructor’s email address. The instructor will receive a report about the consultation via email. Notification may take up to a week to be sent.

Please note: Emailed notifications are the only way instructors will be notified. Staff may not sign notes provided by instructors, nor will they participate in any other method of verification, for example, taking a picture with a writer, etc.

What is the Writing Center’s educational philosophy?

We provide a friendly, constructive, writer-centered environment in which trained consultants work with writers to develop writers’ confidence in their own writing skills and strategies to increase the effectiveness of their own writing techniques. Our emphasis is thus on writing processes rather than on written products of writing.

Since we understand writing as a process of making informed judgments based on context, audience, purpose, and genre, we discourage the idea that the Writing Center is a "trauma center" or "fix-it shop" for "bad" writing. Our consultants work with writers over time, pointing out persistent patterns of error and working with writers as they develop strategies for making informed decisions about audience, coherence, organization, topic development, sentence structure, and diction.

Please be assured that we will neither supply students with words to express their ideas nor give them ideas to express. Instead, we ask writers questions that they may not have asked themselves, and so help them develop their own voices as academic writers and find their own methods of articulating their own ideas.

Will someone in the Writing Center proofread for me or my students?

Because we believe strongly in our educational philosophy, we do not offer proofreading or editing services. Instead, we work with writers to find patterns of error in their writing, suggest methods for locating errors, and demonstrate strategies for revising, editing, and proofreading that empower writers. If necessary, we can refer writers to the English department for information on proofreading/editing services for which writers may pay.

What services are NOT offered by the Writing Center?

We do not edit or proofread. We do not do research for writers. We do not guarantee "perfect" papers or that writers will leave the Writing Center with an A paper. Indeed, we do not discuss possible grades or the likelihood of publication with any writer; we believe that grades are at the sole discretion of instructors and acceptance, at the discretion of publishers. Moreover, in keeping with the University's policies on plagiarism, we will not write papers for those who use our services, 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?

Yes, though we ask students to make sure that they have their instructors' permission to do so, and we will not discuss content with writers of essay exams. Instructors who do not want their students to bring essay exams to the Writing center should inform their students. If you notify us about any limits you place on your students regarding Writing Center consultations, 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 contact the Department of English.

How does the Writing Center reinforce classroom instruction?

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

o 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 any subject.

o 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.

o The Writing Center offers workshops during the semester focusing on common writing challenges. Recent topics have included Writing Timed Essays, Using the MLA Style, and Avoiding Plagiarism. These fifty- to ninety-minute workshops offer assistance and insight from trained and qualified consultants into general writing issues.

o 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 (702.895.3908) and request a visit or submit a request form.

o 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.

o Our Quick Questions service is available to any writer whose question can be answered in ten or fewer minutes.

o We offer in-class workshops tailored to your needs. Please contact our administrative staff to make arrangements.

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

Please consider using one or more of the following ideas:

o Encourage students to make appointments early in the writing process so they can receive help in all stages of the writing process.

o 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.

o Keep your writing assignments (and any special instructions) on file with the Writing Center for easy access during consultations. Send them as attachments to

o Emphasize that writing skills are important by offering students extra credit (or other incentives) for attending Writing Center consultations or workshops.

o 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 at your students’ discretion, we do encourage all students to have completed reports emailed to their instructors.

o Include a brief description of the Writing Center and our services along with our location and phone number in your syllabus.

Suggested Syllabus Wording:

"One-on-one or small group assistance with writing is available free of charge to students at the UNLV Writing Center, located in CDC-301. Although walk-in appointments are sometimes available, students with appointments will receive priority assistance. Appointments may be made in person or by calling 702-895-3908. When you go to your appointment, please take a copy of your assignment instructions and two hard copies of any writing that you may have completed for the assignment. If you would like help with bibliographic material, please take your sources."