Stetson University

Frequently Asked Questions from Faculty

What takes place during a tutoring session?

Put simply: conversation between peers about writing.

More specifically, tutors

  • listen actively, ask questions, and make suggestions, helping writers develop ideas, make effective arguments, and achieve clarity.
  • work with writers to identify patterns of error in usage, form, and style, explaining rules and offering strategies for editing and proofreading.
  • help writers with anything from understanding assignment prompts to finding library resources to using correct citations.

Tutors never write any part of writers’ papers or edit their papers for them.

How can my students use the Writing Center most effectively?

Generally, student writers will benefit from multiple writing center visits, both early and later in the writing process. In the early stages of drafting, tutors can help writers understand their assignments and work with them on focus and argument. Later on, tutors can help writers with sentence-level issues. Time for revision after a visit to the Writing Center is always recommended.

Can I require my students to visit the Writing Center?

We believe that students should be encouraged but not required to visit the Writing Center.  While required visits can be beneficial to students, tutorials are most effective if the writer is a willing and engaged participant. A required visit can result in a writer bringing a negative or apathetic attitude to the session, which limits productivity. In addition, required visits often result in students rushing to the Writing Center at the last minute, often right before their papers are due, which prevents them from being able to make substantive revisions based on the tutors’ suggestions. If you still choose to require your students to visit the Writing Center, please note that we cannot guarantee that all of your students will  be seen by a tutor, especially if they do not have an appointment.

Will I be notified if my students visit the Writing Center?

The content of each tutoring session is confidential. However, prior to each session, students have the option to indicate whether or not they want their instructors to be notified of their visit. You will receive an email once per week listing all of these names. This email will also contain a brief summary of the session written by the tutor. Any questions about a particular student’s visit to the Writing Center should be sent to writingcenter@stetson.edu or to Director Maggie Herb at mherb@stetson.edu

My student visited the Writing Center, and her paper still contains grammatical or punctuation errors. Why?

The Writing Center does not function as an editing service. Tutors are trained to attend first to “higher order concerns” (focus, development, organization, etc.) and typically work on issues of style and grammar only after these bigger picture issues are addressed. In addition, while tutors will certainly identify and explain patterns of error to writers, they are not able to identify every error a paper may contain within the course of a tutorial—nor is this a good use of their time. We find it most effective to teach writers rules and concepts so that they can apply this knowledge in the future.

Does the Writing Center offer support for faculty?

Yes! We are open to all members of the Stetson community. In addition, specific support for faculty is also available. Director Maggie Herb holds weekly hours in which she is available to help faculty and staff with their professional writing tasks, such as assignment prompts, conference proposals, cover letters, articles, and more. Email Maggie to arrange a consultation: mherb@stetson.edu

Can a representative from the Writing Center visit my class?

Yes! Class presentations are generally about 10 minutes long. During this time, the tutor will talk to your students about the purpose of the writing center and what to expect from a tutoring session. We can also visit classes for longer periods of time to assist with particular writing assignments or tasks. To arrange a visit, please email writingcenter@stetson.edu at least a week in advance.  

 

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