Writing Center

1. Sometimes students seem to be able to convey the required content in papers, but the actual writing itself leaves much to be desired. I feel better equipped to teach students content rather than basic writing skills. What resources are available to help me and the students?

The Writing Center can offer several options. The writing center coordinator can meet with you to discuss possible writing assignments and strategies that can be easily integrated into specific coursework. The Writing Center can develop a writing workshop that is tailored to the course topic and goals. The Center is prepared to work closely with you to develop resources that will meet your specific needs as well as the writing needs of your students.

2. How do students access the Writing Center?

Students and instructors can access the Writing Center in a variety of ways. You can contact the center by phone at 360-546-9650, by email at writingcenter@vancouver.wsu.edu, or in person at VLIB 203. Writing Center hours will be posted on the door. You may also contact the writing center coordinator at 360-546-9651.

What kinds of assistance does the Writing Center provide?

Face-to-face writing consultations

A student writer may have a conversation with a trained, peer writing consultant. A consultation typically lasts 25 to 45 minutes. The consultant will read the paper and begin by noting the strengths in the piece. The consultant will focus on “global” issues: thesis, organization and logic first. Issues of grammar and style will be addressed once the paper has a strong thesis and is well organized with a cohesive, logical flow. The consultation is a conversation. This means that in order for the consultation to be effective, the student writer must participate. The consultant will encourage/facilitate a “give-and-take” dialogue with the student writer focused on improving the writing.

Online writing consultations

Student writers may submit work via the online writing service (OWL). A writing consultant will read and write a response to the student writer, using the global approach described above. Because the OWL exists in a text-only environment, it is not preferable to a face-to-face consultation. It does, however, provide a way for student writers to get feedback on their writing when they are not able to come to the Writing Center in person. Writers can contact the OWL by emailing writingcenter@vancouver.wsu.edu. OWL responses may take up to 48 hours depending on hours of operation.

Individual consultations by appointment

Students who wish to work with a specific writing consultant on a specific issue on a consistent basis may set up regular appointments. Often students working at the master’s or doctoral level set up appointments with the writing center director during the thesis or dissertation process. Undergraduate students who feel they need more consistent help with their writing also may set up a regular schedule to meet with a consultant.

Grammar and style consultations

When, in the course of a consultation, the writing consultant identifies a grammatical issue that seriously impacts the clarity of the writing; the consultant will demonstrate how to locate the issue in a writing handbook. Often students do not understand how to identify specific grammatical issues in a handbook; by modeling this process, the consultant begins to enable the student to become a more effective editor of his or her own work. While we do not “edit” papers in the Writing Center, we do provide student writers with the tools they need to address their editing questions.

Grammar workshops

Each semester the WSU Vancouver Writing Center offers a series of grammar workshops. These workshops are taught by an adjunct instructor who specializes in technical writing. Workshops are informative and interactive. The instructor offers student writers a wealth of information on grammar, punctuation and style. A schedule of these workshops for the current semester is available in the Writing Center and on the CLA website. Interested writers may call 360-546-9650 to register for a specific workshop.

Citation workshops

The Writing Center offers workshops on MLA, APA and Chicago/Turabian citation formats. You can request a specific workshop held in your regular classroom or in the Writing Center. “The Centerpoint” For the past year, the Writing Center has produced a newsletter called “The Centerpoint.” This newsletter contains information about Writing Center events, bios of the writing consultants, and writing tips and strategies as well as articles about writing submitted by faculty across the disciplines. To submit material for publication in “The Centerpoint,” please contact the writing center coordinator at 360-546-9651.

3. Is someone from the Writing Center available to make in-class presentations about the process of scholarly writing?

Specialized Workshops: You can come to the Writing Center Coordinator to request an in-class workshop on a specific issue. You can work with the director to customize the workshop for a specific assignment. Informational

Classroom Visits: A representative of the Writing Center will come to your classroom to discuss the available services. The representative will describe the Writing Center’s approach and give students information that will help them to prepare for a productive writing consultation. Please call the Writing Center at 360-546-9650 to schedule a classroom visit.

4. Does the Writing Center help with grammar and spelling?

Absolutely. However, it is important to understand that we take a “global to local” approach. We begin our discussion of the student’s writing with global issues like thesis, organization and critical logic. After these issues have been addressed, the consultant will discuss grammar and syntax problems that inhibit clarity and meaning in the writing. We will demonstrate how to address the grammar issue using one or two examples and then ask the student to continue on to find and correct a few on his or her own. In this way, we are able to see that the student has a sense of the problem and at least some tools for addressing it.

5. Can the Writing Center help with APA/MLA/Chicago Style?

The Writing Center library contains style manuals for all of these citation formats. Our consultants are familiar with the basics of each, and some are expert in at least one. We also offer workshops for students who would like to become more proficient in APA, MLA or Chicago. Instructors who require a version of one of these formats that varies from the current handbook can place a copy of their preferred format in the Writing Center for student and consultant reference. 6. Where is the Writing Center located? What are its hours? The Writing Center is located on the second floor of the Library building, room 203. Hours are: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. , and Friday 10a.m. - 2 p.m., and Sunday noon - 5 p.m.