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Writing Center

Resources for Instructors

Resources for Instructors

Making the Most of Writing Center Services

The Writing Center staff wants to support you and your students. The most effective methods for using the Writing Center to support student writing in your courses are the following:

  • Send in copies of your syllabi, assignments, and writing guidelines.
  • Inform students that they will receive tutoring, not editing.
  • Bring your classes to the Tutoring/Writing desk for an introductory visit.
  • Encourage your students to visit both the Writing Center and our website.
  • Provide extra credit or require Writing Center visit in your assignment description. 
  • Refer individual students who you think need additional writing support.
  • Meet with Joel Bisser, about any special situations or requests.
  • Keep in touch by communicating your questions, comments, and suggestions.

Required Writing Center Appointments

If you wish to require an entire class to come in for an assignment, there are a few things you must take into account before doing so:

  • Please let the Writing Center know as early as possible so we can plan ahead.
  • Inform your students that they will need to plan ahead; we will respond to email submissions in less than 24 hours during the week. 
  • If you require confirmation that a student attended a session, your students should ask for a Tutoring Verification Form, which will serve as evidence that they attended a tutoring session. (Since we document all appointment types, we can also send you an email with a list of all who attended a session). 
  • If a student comes for a required session and is unwilling to actively participate in the session, she/he may be asked to leave without a signed form.

We have had good feedback from required sessions in the past; often it encourages students who may never have used us to give the Writing Center a try. However, we are a small operation, and we must work to serve the entire campus—not just one class. Following these policies will help us provide quality tutoring to willing participants.

If you would like to encourage your students to use the Writing Center, Joel Bisser is happy to talk with you about other effective ways to do so. Please contact him at or ext. 8769

Guides for Commenting on Student Writing:
Haswell, R. (2006). The complexities of responding to student writing; or, looking for shortcuts via the road of excess. Across the Disciplines 3. Retrieved September 29, 2008, from

Land, R. E. (1987, February). Classroom inquiry: What our students taught us about paper making.” The English Journal 76(2), 113-116.

Mosher, J. (1998, February/March). Responding to student papers: responses to avoid and productive advice to give. Word Works, 90-91.

Soles, D. (2001, December). Grading as a teaching strategy. Teaching in the Two Year College 29(2).

Bedford Guide to Teaching Writing
This site provides chapter titles for an excellent guide to teaching and evaluating writing. It also contains a link to sites that sell the book.

University of Minnesota Center for Writing
This site includes information on designing effective writing assignments, responding to and grading student wriitng, detecting and discussing plagiarism, and more.

Create Better Writing Assignments
Reflections on Jim Corder’s “What I Learned at School.” This site offers a condensed version of Corder’s article, which discusses how teachers can create better writing assignments for their students.

Council of Writing Program Administrators
This site provides detailed information about plagiarism, including explanations of intentional vs. unintentional plagiarism, strategies for designing assignments that discourage plagiarizing, and approaches for handling suspected plagiarism.