The Misconceptions of the University Writing Center (UWC)
By: Hannah Hallock
The University Writing Center is a place most commonly known for English majors to get help writing papers, but this isn’t the only thing the Writing Center does. Understanding the misconceptions of the UWC can help benefit the centers and the clients alike.
English majors and English classes only. The goal of the UWC is to help everyone regardless of their major or class. They can help anyone with writing and brainstorming and they can meet with groups of people who need help on projects.
Consultants of the English major variety. Most of the consultants are not English Majors. Everyone, however, is trained the same way through the required ENG-W 396 class by the director of the University Writing Center, Marilee Brooks-Gillies.
Bad writers required. The UWC is for everyone. Everybody has something they struggle with when it comes to their writing. Even the consultants make appointments to help strengthen their own writing skills!
Wait, what about English as a Second Language (ESL) or English Language Learners (ELL)? During the required training course, ENG-W 396, the consultants have lessons about ESL writers and how to help them. They are trained on the PIE graphs for the ESL/ELL students and periodically host training sessions after staff meetings throughout each semester.
The two locations do completely different things. Although these locations are far away from each other, they do the same thing. Their goal is to help people with any sort of writing they have. Even though they are on opposite sides of campus, the consultants rotate between the two locations to ensure convenience for each client.
Copyediting is our job. The consultants can point out patterns and refer to handouts to help improve writing, but they will not fix your paper for you. They’re there to NEVER tell a writer they are horrible. Their jobs are to support the writer, help with brainstorming, content ideas, organization, citations, clarity, continuity, and elaboration. Dropping off a paper with the consultant is not something students should do, but also something student can’t do because the purpose of the Writing Center is to help writers grow. The consultants help with writers strengthen their writing by conversation instead of by red pen marking up pages.
Human dictionaries. In their training the consultants are not required to have dictionaries or manuals of editing memorized. Like students and other writers do, consultants look up structures and conventions from handouts and books. This information on hand not only benefits the writer, but it also benefits the consultants.
Speak and be heard here. The Speaker’s Lab is in the basement of Cavanaugh. The UWC can help you write a speech and offer suggestions, but if you want a more thorough the Speaker’s Lab is the resource for that. However, if you were concerned about the language of your speech, the Writing Center is a great resource.
See all and know all the professors. The UWC consultants communicate with some professors, but they do not speak with them daily and are not kept up to date on the assignments and guidelines that the professors give their students. If you want to make sure you are getting the most from your appointment, bring in a copy of the assignment and rubric so the consultants can help you to the best of their ability.
Only visit if you are required to by a professor. People can come in whenever they want for whatever they want either by walk-ins or appointments, but appointments are secured while walk-ins are by chance.
The Writing Center is for everyone, and its top priority is to help strengthen your writing. If you have any questions, feel free to email them at email@example.com or call them at 317-274-2049.