Who can use the Writing Center?
All current Baruch undergraduate and graduate students are welcome.
Who are your consultants?
Our consultants are graduate-trained teachers of college writing—most hold terminal degrees in Writing, English, TESOL or a related field. In addition to their work in the Writing Center, they teach courses here at Baruch or at other institutions across the city, and many write or edit professionally. Their bios are available here.
What happens during a Writing Center consultation?
A lot of that depends on the student. Generally, though:
- Students spend the first 5-10 minutes of the session in conversation with their consultant, as we learn more about your student as a writer, their assignment, where they are in the drafting process, and what they’re hoping to get out of the session.
- After the student and consultant decide together what the session’s goals will be, they spend the majority of the 50-minute session working towards those goals.
- Students write a lot—taking notes, brainstorming, revising, and drafting new writing. They’ll learn and practice new techniques for reading, brainstorming, research, drafting, and revising. There’s a lot of conversation, and plenty of time to answer questions along the way.
- In the last 10 minutes, students write a session record with their consultant—they’ll get a copy, which will help them remember what they learned, how they learned it, and how they can practice it in future writing. They can opt to send a copy to you, too.
I am concerned about a student’s writing or language skills. What should I do?
We’re here to help you support students with writing and language needs. You’re welcome to refer students to our consultations and workshops. We welcome, too, conversations with you about your students’ writing, whether concerning a whole class or a particular student. Contact us and we’ll collaborate to develop the support your student needs.
Can I require my class to come to the Writing Center?
We ask that you don’t, for reasons both practical and pedagogical.
- Practical: We’re often booked solid days in advance, and don’t usually have the resources to support an entire class of students required to visit us, or to even guarantee that individual students required to visit will be able to find an appointment.
- Pedagogical: Students who are required to go the Writing Center often come without the investment necessary to be productive, since our pedagogy requires active work and participation throughout the session or workshop. Students who come with the primary goal of getting a signature certifying they’ve been here tend to get a lot less out of our resources.
How do I refer a student to the Writing Center?
You can download the referral form here. Students tell us that your referral is the most influential factor in their decision to use our services. They’re more likely, too, to feel encouraged and motivated to seek out support by statements like, “I’d like to help you develop your writing so you can excel in this class,” rather than by negative feedback.
Can someone come to my classroom to do a workshop on a specific writing topic?
Nobody can teach your students in your course more effectively than you. We’re happy to meet with you to help you adapt one of our workshops to your course’s needs, or to discuss approaches to teaching specific writing skills. While we don’t have the resources to develop and deliver in-class workshops for every writing skill required across the curriculum, we’re happy to help get you started and support you along the way.
My student worked with someone in the Writing Center, but there are still errors/problems in his paper. Why?
Writing is a process, and improving writing takes time. Because we focus on long-term, transferable skills, you can expect each session to be packed and productive, but also to focus only on 1-3 key areas of improvement. We also expect the student to continue to write and revise independently after a session. Additionally, we don’t edit or proofread students’ writing (though we help them develop strategies to do so themselves), so there may very well be errors or problems after they leave the Center.
Will I know if my student has used the Writing Center?
At the end of a session, your student has the option to send you a copy of the session record, co-authored with their consultant, that summarizes the work they’ve done during the session. Some students don’t want to send a record to their professor, even if we encourage them to (and we usually do). If you’d just like to know if a student came to see us, you can call or email the front desk, where one of our assistants can check the scheduler to confirm attendance.
What if the consultant at the Writing Center tells the student something I disagree with?
Readers often have different reactions to the same piece of writing; colleagues often have different approaches to teaching writing. (Thank goodness!) It’s a good opportunity for conversation on these topics—with your student, and with us. As a policy, you should know that we never discuss grades with students.