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Writing Fellows: Information for Faculty

What is the Writing Fellows program?

The Writing Fellows program places undergraduates in positions of intellectual leadership, emphasizes the significance of writing skills, and applies the concept of peer mentoring to the process of writing papers. It also creates new opportunities for intellectual exchange between and among students and faculty.

Two central beliefs guide this program. The first is that all writers, no matter how accomplished, can improve their writing by sharing work in progress and making revisions based on constructive criticism; the second is that collaboration among student peers is an especially effective mode of learning.

Together, Writing Fellows and faculty work hard to create a warm, friendly atmosphere in which collaborative learning takes place and to which students respond with hard work and dedication.

Who are Writing Fellows?

Writing Fellows are articulate, insightful, high-achieving undergraduates who have demonstrated an enthusiasm for thinking and learning about the writing process as well as a commitment to helping their peers. They undergo a full semester of training in an upper-level English class, in which they read recent work in composition studies, practice commenting on student drafts, conduct original research on writers and writing, and reflect on their own experiences as writers and tutors. Thereafter, they gain a full semester of experience working as a Writing Assistant in the Center for Writing Excellence.

With at least one year of experience under their belts, Writing Fellows are assigned to writing-intensive courses in a wide range of disciplines. In these courses, Writing Fellows work closely with faculty and assist students with their writing, praising effective strategies and offering specific suggestions for revision. When providing oral and written feedback to students, they bear in mind both the general principles they learn in their training and the specific issues to which they are directed by their supervising professor.

What do Writing Fellows do?

Writing Fellows support faculty's writing instruction and students' writing achievement by providing thoughtful, meaningful, and constructive written feedback on drafts. While conferencing with students, Writing Fellows help students brainstorm ideas, articulate and organize thoughts, and strengthen content. Writing Fellows do not grade papers, attend class, or demonstrate expertise in a course's subject matter.  

How do faculty benefit from participation in the program?

Some faculty have informed us that working with Writing Fellows saves them time during the grading process. Others maintain that while they spend the same amount of time grading, they can concentrate on issues of course content because Writing Fellows have already talked with students about matters of structure and organization. Several faculty have also stated that working with Writing Fellows has led them to clarify their course goals and revise their assignments.

How do Writing Fellows benefit from participation in the program?

Writing Fellows gain valuable teaching experience, an opportunity to improve their interpersonal skills, and a chance to develop as writers, readers, and speakers.

Which courses are eligible for participation in the program?

The Writing Fellows program is open to all courses in which at least 2 argument-driven papers of approximately 5-7 pages are assigned. 

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