students in the writing center

Writing Center



The Writing Center provides free assistance with writing, reading, and speaking to all Westminster students, faculty, and staff. When you come to the Writing Center, you can expect an individualized session with an experienced writing consultant who will provide feedback at every stage of the writing process, from research and brainstorming to final edits. Consultants can offer feedback for any writing, whether for classes, applications, scholarships, graduate programs, or personal writing projects. The center also provides language support for multilingual students.

The Westminster College Writing Center supports writing and writing instruction by all members of the Westminster community through individual writing consultations, in-class writing workshops, and faculty professional development.

At the Westminster College Writing Center, consultants pride themselves on their ability to engage a sizable community of writers, furthering their education through compassionate, respectful one-on-one consultations. Our consultants are committed to helping students engage with ideas, create and develop arguable claims, and make informed decisions about their own writing. Writing Center consultants collaborate with all students, from all disciplines, at any stage of the writing process, on any aspect of writing.

Writing Center consultants employ best practices to foster learning. Rather than tell writers how to write, we prioritize involving the writer in their work and encourage students to develop their own authentic voice. We strive to teach students long-term writing habits and revision skills rather than simply editing students’ work for them. The Writing Center conforms to the Westminster College Policy on Academic Honesty, insisting that all students’ academic work be their own.

The Westminster College Writing Center is committed to fostering a learning environment that is racially and linguistically inclusive. As part of a higher education system that was built upon racially exclusive language, thought, and methods, it is our responsibility to identify these oppressive structures, recognize how they are perpetuated, and take action to reduce them.

Operating at a predominantly white institution, we have consciously and unconsciously perpetuated an oppressive language ideology that harms speakers and writers of marginalized languages and dialects, particularly students of color and multilingual students. By privileging one variety of English (typically dubbed “standard”) as the only suitable means of expression, we have been complicit in white supremacy, academic discrimination and linguistic injustice. Standard English is not race-neutral and in fact upholds the assumption that the speech and writing of middle- and upper-class white English speakers is the norm by which all other languages and dialects should be judged. Other dialects or ways of writing are seen as deficient, and students are instructed to change their language to conform to this standard, thereby ignoring the diverse languages and dialects that Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander, low-income, and multilingual students bring to our community. Failing to accept students’ right to communicate in these equally valid and expressive varieties of language has limited the identities they can express and in many cases led them to silence themselves from using those varieties. As perceived enforcers of this standard, we have benefited from the privilege it affords us.

To reject these racist and linguistically oppressive assumptions and work instead for an inclusive and anti-racist practice, we commit ourselves to the following:

  1. Call out Racism: We will open dialogues in the Writing Center about how racism influences the way we write, how we were told to write, and how we are graded. We will focus on centering people of color and multilingual students at the heart of these discussions and de-centering “standard” American English while acknowledging the power and privilege that it conveys.
  2. Invite all Language Varieties: We will consult with writers on the basis that no language variety is better than another, and that the dismissing of any language variety as “incorrect” is based on social standards, not quality of language. By doing so, we will create a brave space for both writing center staff and writers to express their identities, helping writers make informed choices to use the full range of language at their disposal, including but not limited to standard English.
  3. Involve Faculty and Staff: We will convey our message to Westminster staff and faculty to encourage open-mindedness to students’ language varieties and to decenter standard English as the only acceptable means of communication. We will do so by fostering campus discussion of inclusivity and raising marginalized voices, particularly as it relates to linguistic justice. We will help faculty learn how to help students acquire the conventions of standard academic English while developing and using other language varieties.
  4. Question our own Biases: We will develop professionally to understand how intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and language affect writing and operate within a predominantly white academic institution. We will continue to critically analyze our own overt and covert racial and linguistic biases. We will hold each other accountable for these biases and continue to educate ourselves and writers about the importance of recognizing and combating linguistic injustice. While we understand that we may often fall short in these efforts, we will continue to work toward a just, equitable, and inclusive writing center praxis.

Appointments

The Writing Center offers 3 kinds of writing consultations during posted hours:

  • In-person (schedule an appointment or drop by the center)
  • Synchronous online (schedule an appointment and meet in real-time with a consultant)
  • Asynchronous online (upload your writing to receive written and video feedback)

You can watch an instructional video if you need help arranging an online consultation or e-consultation. To receive feedback through an e-consultation, you must upload your writing and include a description of the assignment. If you request an e-consultation, a consultant will get feedback to you within 2 business days.

The Writing Center is available to help all Westminster College students at every stage of the writing process, from planning written work to writing and revising it. In addition, the Writing Center can help you develop your abilities to locate authoritative sources, cite and quote them responsibly, and write persuasively.

Writing consultants are trained in grammar and punctuation issues and can teach you how to edit and proofread your paper, but they will not edit or proofread for you. All work done and discussed in the Writing Center will remain confidential and not be shared without your permission.

The writing consultants are advanced writers who received training to help you improve your writing. Consultants represent diverse disciplines such as biology, business, chemistry, economics, education, English, environmental studies, history, music, philosophy, religious studies, and social sciences.

To prepare:

  • Provide your student ID number when you make an appointment.
  • Allow at least 45 minutes for a face-to-face consultation.
  • Schedule an appointment at least 2 hours before the paper is due. Otherwise, you will not have enough time to receive help on your writing and revise it accordingly.
  • Limit your appointments to 1 per day (per assignment). You can arrange multiple consultations for different writing assignments.

In addition to offering faculty and staff feedback on their writing, the center also provides workshops and assistance with assignment design.

Contact the Writing Center Director, Chris LeCluyse, at 801.832.2417 or clecluyse@westminstercollege.edu) if you would like:

  • Writing Center flyers
  • A brief presentation of the Writing Center's services
  • An in-depth workshop on topics such as revision, academic style, citing sources, or particular kinds of writing
  • Help with incorporating writing into a course, designing writing assignments, or giving feedback to students

Commenting on Student Papers Workshop

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT OR REQUEST FEEDBACK

Upcoming Events

Write Your Way Into Grad School Workshop

Oct. 19, 2021 | 4–5:00 p.m.

two students working on a laptop

Hours

  • Monday–Thursday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
  • Sunday: 2–7:00 p.m.

Contact

Become a Consultant

Register for ENGL 310: Theory and Teaching of Writing. This course, offered spring semester each year, will introduce you to the teaching of college-level writing as well as the ideas behind it. In addition to learning about rhetoric and composition theory, you will see how writing is taught in the Writing Center and conduct your own writing consultations. Completing this course will qualify you to work in the Writing Center as a paid consultant. ENGL 310 is a designated service-learning course. It also counts as an upper-division elective for the English major and meets the advanced writing requirement if taken for 3 or 4 hours.