If you are new to CI or just want to know the WMC better, you may find it useful to review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and our answers below.  

Who works in the WMC?

The WMC consists of faculty, professional staff, and employees who are  student assistants or undergraduate consultants.  Undergraduate or peer consultants have been recommended by faculty as strong writers and are required to take a three-unit course in tutoring writing, concurrent with their first semester of tutoring. We are working toward diversifying our staff both in disciplines and ethnicity. We strive to be a writing and multiliteracy center serving the needs of the entire CI community. The best way to do that is to hire tutors with a variety of majors and backgrounds.

How much help can the WMC give my students?

WMC consultants can sit down with students and brainstorm for ideas, think through a tentative organization, and be a sounding board for ideas. An early trip to the center may help students avoid becoming too attached to a draft that does not respond fully to an assignment. Later in the process, tutors can look over a draft and comment on places where coherence or clarity suffers. Consultants can also help students become more effective editors of their own papers.

We strive to help students learn to identify grammar and usage issues in their writing without acting as copy editors. This can take more than one or two visits to the center. Some students may benefit from weekly appointments with a tutor to work on their writing. Tutors are taught to be mindful of the University’s definition of academic dishonesty, or "an attempt by a student to show possession of a level of knowledge or skill that he/she does not possess" (CSUCI 2009-2010 Catalog 60).

Should I require my entire class to visit the WMC?

Although we appreciate your interest in helping students to become better writers, we recommend that students make the voluntary decision to come to the Center.  Reluctant or resentful students do not learn well.  Also, please keep in mind that the Center's staff is small.  We recommend that students make an appointment in advance to meet with a writing consultant. 

Are there ways I could encourage students to use WMC services?

Yes! Please visit this link for tips.

Most important is to tell all of your students that you value clear writing. If you speak to the class as a whole, then recommendations for individual students to visit the center will be a part of a continuing promotion of writing to learn.

If you perceive several students need reinforcement of an aspect of writing, you can urge groups of your students to arrange for sessions on special topics. The WMC has space for small group (4 or fewer students) tutorials.

What if I want to communicate with the tutors working with my students?

Feel free to make specific comments and requests on the Instructor-Tutor dialog form. Students should present these forms at the beginning of a tutoring session and fill them out with their tutors at the session's end. 

While students are encouraged to bring along their assignment sheets (or access them on Blackboard), faculty are welcome to send their assignments and/or scoring guides to the WMC Faculty Director so that tutors can review them before students come in.

Should I recommend a student who would make an excellent tutor?

We are committed to serving writers from across the curriculum and welcome student tutors from various majors. All tutors are required to have recommendations from two CI faculty members. If the student takes your advice and applies to work at the center, expect a request for a recommendation -- see the form on Tutor Recommendation Form(MS Word, 39.5KB)

What happens during a tutoring session?

Goal of the WMC

The WMC is part of a student's long-term learning process. Improvement in writing takes commitment, hard work, and time. We want students to learn to get readers' opinions, to revise frequently, and to proofread their own writing. An appointment at the WMC is a good beginning.

The Session

The consultant usually begins by asking what the writer wants to work on, when the assignment is due, who might have reviewed it (and if so the kind of comments that have been provided). Then the consultant may read the draft quickly or the consultant might ask the student to summarize the prompt and the argument that is written.  An important factor in setting the agenda for the interaction is the stage of the writing process for the particular assignment - problems relating to the prompt and confusion about organization are more appropriate for early drafts, while sentence-level and concerns such as grammar and punctuation are more important for later drafts.

Students can make appointments by calling or dropping by. When they come in, they should bring along a copy of the assignment and a draft of the paper if they have started one. WMC consultants help with the entire writing process from brainstorming and refining a topic to revising and citing sources.

WMC consultants have been educated to offer a multi-level response to student papers. Tutors can provide the following kinds of responses:

  1. A response to the paper as a whole. The tutor will respond as a reader and address questions of audience, purpose, and form, including the constraints of the assignment. The tutor will look for things such as lack of focus, unsupported arguments, and organizational problems.
  2. A sentence-level negotiation of meaning. When a student is writing about concepts that are new or difficult, their writing may become confusing or even incomprehensible. In these cases, the tutor will point out sentences and ask the writer to help him or her understand the intended meaning and revise the syntax.
  3. Selective attention to systematic grammatical problems. While an error-free text is something we all want, the WMC does not proofread for students. Rather, consultants evaluate which forms are causing the most trouble and focus on those for the session. We have found this method helps students become better readers of their own writing. Students with multiple grammatical concerns in a paper will require more than one session with a tutor.

How Many Sessions?

We encourage repeat visits. Weekly visits with a tutor are also available and encouraged for students with the need for more help with their writing.

The Stamp

If you want to know if your students are using our services, consider asking them to have their papers stamped. The stamp includes the date of the visit and the name of the consultant your students saw.  Note: all writing on the paper will be done by your student and not the tutors.