“What do you mean I need a thesis statement?”
Sometimes, what seems to be a simple question requires a complex response. How do you talk with your students about writing? How do you work with students as writers?
We’re working to build resources for teachers to help address writing challenges in their classrooms. Browse the FAQs below to learn more about what the Writing Center does and how we can support you as a teacher.
What does the Writing Center actually do?
The Writing Center offers tutorials, shared study space, a computer lab, and free printing for UAF students and members of the Fairbanks community. Our writing tutorials are offered by graduate students in the English Department as well as a few talented undergraduates who can help at any phase of the writing process, from generating ideas to fine-tuning final drafts. We work across disciplines within the university, reading everything from lab reports and engineering dissertations to persuasive essays and short stories.
Where is the Writing Center?
Our main location is in 801 Gruening, where we have our computer lab and 2-4 tutors available during our open hours to work with students. On weekdays between 2:00 and 4:00, there is a writing tutor at Rural Student Services to work with students there. The CTC campus on Barnett Street downtown also has a writing tutorial service. More information about the CTC Writing Center.
Which of my students could benefit from a tutorial at the Writing Center? Is it only for weak writers?
Writing tutorials are not only for weak writers. Our tutors are experienced academic and creative writers, and understand how to push even the strongest students to take valuable risks in their compositions. While we do help with writing “weaknesses” – whether this means grammatical errors or a struggle to create structure within a piece of writing – we also encourage students to look at the bigger picture. Who is the audience for this piece of writing? What are you trying to accomplish with it? How will you make choices that make this piece of writing successful? How does this writing contribute to the larger conversation?
Are there any tutors at the Writing Center who could help my students with their science/engineering/technical writing?
We work with writing across academic disciplines, as well as with non-academic writing (resumes, cover letters, etc.). All of our tutors are able to help with any type of writing – from lab reports to engineering dissertations.
I have some students for whom English is not their first language. Is there someone at the Writing Center who can help them?
Yes. We often work with students learning English. You can learn more about each of our tutors, their backgrounds and writing specialities here.
I’m tired of marking up grammar/spelling/sentence structure errors in student papers. Can writing tutors fix these?
While our tutors always mark common errors in student writing and discuss the correction with the students, a tutorial is much more than an editing session. Writing Center tutors can work with students on generating ideas to start their writing, outlining, reorganizing, creating powerful thesis statements, etc. Ultimately, it is up to the student as the writer to make the final call on which suggestions to take on. It’s helpful if you as a teacher can get this message to your students.
Can I require students to get their papers edited at the Writing Center before the due date?
Though there is no rule to say you cannot require Writing Center tutorials of your students, our experience has been that this approach does not always work well. We often have these students making appointments for the day their paper is due and though they fill the requirement, they are not engaged in the tutorial and do not have time to revise.
Do you have any online resources for my students?
Students should refer to our “Resources for Writers” page to learn more about the Writing Center and also access links to a few online resources. We’re working to make more available.
Can you send a tutor to my class to give a lesson on __________?
We often send tutors out to classes to explain what the Writing Center does and invite students to use our resources. We prefer to work with students one-on-one in the tutorial setting, and so do not send tutors out to teach lessons to large groups. That said, this is not a bad idea. Would you be interested? Do you have other ideas for how the Writing Center could support you and your students as writers? Comment below or contact us to let us know how we can work together to support writing at UAF.
We’d love to hear from you. What do you need to help your students as writers? What else could we be doing to support you? Please contact us to let us know.