Writing Center Overview

IWU WC'S POLICIES AND GUIDELINES 

Appointments and the Space:

Making Appointments: All appointments are made through our online appointment service, WCOnline. Students, staff, and faculty must register for this free service before they can sign up for appointments. You don't need to use your university email password when registering but you must use your IWU email address. Be sure to look for a confirmation email to complete the registration process.

Online Appointments: All online appointments (must be scheduled for an hour long due to technology issues that may arise) require the use of working technology and a full draft. This point means that you MUST enable the camera option to have an online appointment or risk having your online appointment access disabled. We require the use of a camera to ensure that the writer we are working with is the writer whose paper we are editing. We cannot ensure this is the case unless we see your face, therefore the requirement of the camera is non-negotiable. Further, we ask that you refrain from using your cellphone during online appointments just as you would in face-to-face meetings. These devices are at best distracting, and inhibit your ability to fully engage in the writing process. If you abuse the online option in any way, as up to the Director's discretion, your ability to access online appointments will be revoked.

Face-to-Face in the Center Appointments: We now require that either yourself or the tutor read your drafts aloud. Much research has been done on the benefit of reading aloud as it allows for patterns of error to be noticed quickly and addressed in a holistic manner. We also request no cell phones be present during any writing center appointment and that you remain engaged in discussing your draft with the tutor.

Length of appointments: Tutorials are usually 30 minutes to an hour long; longer blocks of time will be allotted -- depending on the paper length -- if you contact our director at ascanlon@iwu.edu. Tutorials are always scheduled on the hour or half-hour. The appointment system will send a confirmation email after you make an appointment. Tutors will read only one paper per session. Portfolios as a whole are not appropriate for tutoring sessions; however, tutors will look at individual papers in a portfolio during a session and will be happy to assist writers drafting an introduction, reflection, or overview to the portfolio. We do offer reading hours for longer appointments so that the tutor might read the paper ahead of time and offer feedback during the hour-long follow-up session.

Cancellations: Students should cancel their appointments through the online system up to a half hour before the appointment is schedule if they are unable to keep them. Students who miss three appointments will lose their right to make appointments via WCOnline for the remainder of the semester and must seek walk-in sessions.    2. Notification of instructors. Students have the right to have their instructors notified about their visit to the Writing Center. Should a student elect to notify his/her instructor, the tutor and the student will negotiate the description of the session. Notification of the session will be sent out via email to the faculty member within one week.

Late to Appointments: Tutors will wait five minutes for students who have previously made a half-hour appointment. After five minutes, if walk-in student is waiting for tutoring, that student will be given priority and the scheduled appointment will be canceled. They will wait ten minutes for hour-long appointments.

Take-home essay exams: The standing policy of the Writing Center is not to assist students with take-home essay exams. However, if the Writing Coordinator has received email or written permission from the instructor to give tutoring assistance to students with take-home exams, tutors will aid those students. If a student comes to the Writing Center for help on a take-home exam after approval from the instructor, verification of the visit will automatically be sent to the instructor.

Safe zone: We reserve the right to revoke a student, staff, or faculty member's access to the writing center for being in violation of our policies or those of Illinois Wesleyan University. We are an open environment, committed to fostering diversity, respect, and learning. Anyone found actively working against this commitment to diversity, respect, and learning will be asked not to return.

Faculty Information:

Short Class Visits: While the Writing Center encourages class visits to the center in Ames 105B as a means of promoting the Center and encouraging its use, such visits need to be planned ahead of time with the Writing Center Director, ascanlon@iwu.edu. Alternatively, we will conduct in-class visits to your class  to speak about what the writing center offers to students.

Writing Class Visits: The writing center will also arrange specific writing-related sessions in the classroom or department meetings. Offerings include -- but are not limited to -- peer revision, small-group tutoring, thesis statement development, and moving beyond the 5 paragraph essay. 

Take-home Essay Exams: The standing policy of the Writing Center is not to assist students with take-home essay exams. However, if the Writing Center Director has received email or written permission from the instructor to give tutoring assistance to students with take-home exams, tutors will aid those students. If a student comes to the Writing Center for help on a take-home exam after approval from the instructor, verification of the visit will automatically be sent to the instructor.

COP Program: The policy of our commenting on Prompts (COP) program is provide student and faculty responses to a prompt within a week. If, for some reason, a faculty member needed a rush on feedback, we would provide that rush if possible. For more on our COP program, visit the faculty and student resources section of our website.

Ethical Guidelines:

The Relationship between Tutors and Clients 

  1. As writing center tutors, we provide support to students and refer them to available campus resources as deemed appropriate. These may include student services referrals, such as referrals to the Office of Residential Life, Counseling and Consultation Services, the Career Center, Disability Services, Multicultural Affairs, etc., or to academic services, such as the student’s instructor, adviser, the Director of General Education, etc. 
  2. We offer suggestions on papers. We do not judge; we do not offer grades. As often as possible, we ensure that changes come from the client. Our comments are suggestions which the client may or may not incorporate; the evaluation of a paper is the responsibility of the instructor, not the tutor. Responses to student writing should always be constructive. We support the University Policy Concerning Student Conduct & Academic Integrity as detailed in the IWU Student Handbook. 
  3. We maintain a professional distance between ourselves and the client. At the same time, we will strive to maintain a comfortable, relaxed and positive environment in the Writing Center. Behavior from clients which the tutor considers too intimate should not be tolerated and should be reported to the Writing Coordinator. 
  4. Given the guidelines above, we acknowledge that there is a broad spectrum of different tutoring styles and request that if a tutor's style is not to your liking, you make the productive effort of discovering which tutor will best serve your needs. This this end, we have provided biographies for each tutor on this website and on WCOnline so you can better make an informed decision. 
  5. We will wait at least five minutes for students who have previously made appointments. After five minutes, if a walk-in student is waiting for tutoring, that walk-in will be given priority. 
  6. We will not engage in discussions with students about faculty nor will we evaluate the quality of assignments. When asked by students for our opinion about an instructor or assignment, we will focus on study and learning strategies to be successful in the course. 
  7. We will not meet with writers outside of our scheduled hours. Tutors must be paid for their work and therefore that work must be documented. Additionally, we believe in ensuring our tutors' safety, and that means being able to provide them a safe, comfortable environment in which to tutor.
  8. We respect the privacy of our clients and of the tutorials. 
  9. We do not allow the use of cellphones--excepting in emergencies--during an appointment as they are at best distracting and at worst inhibit the writer and tutor from having a productive conversation.
  10. We reserve the right to revoke Writing Center privileges for any student who does not engage our services in an ethical, constructive, and respectful manner.

The Relationship between Tutors  and the Center

  1. We do not take supplies from the writing center; we do not pay for writing center supplies out of our own pocket, either.
  2. We record our hours accurately. We must be paid for the work we do, and only the work we do. 
  3. If discussing tutorials amongst ourselves, we do not specifically mention the student by name or description. We only discuss tutorials if other writers are not in the center and only if there is an issue with which we'd like help to brainstorm ideas. If we have a problem with a writer, we let the director know.
  4. We do not share on social media or elsewhere descriptions of tutorials. Tutorials are private and confidential and only shared with faculty if the writer requests.
  5. If another tutor acts in a manner we deem detrimental to the Center, we will discuss it first with that tutor and, according to our discretion, with the Writing Center Director.

 The Relationship between Tutors and Faculty 

  1. We will notify faculty members of the tutorial if given permission by the student. In this notification, we will describe student engagement and preparation if requested by the faculty member. 
  2. We may tutor papers for classes in which we are currently enrolled, depending on the nature of the course and the preference of the tutor. We will maintain confidentiality and not mention the appointment outside of the center.
  3. We maintain academic integrity by not writing papers for our clients and by explaining proper citation in a variety of documentation styles.