Our Consultation Practices

At the Center for Excellence in Writing and Communication, our consultations are designed to

  • Promote consistent, long-term writing improvement
  • Give you a model for revising and editing
  • Identify what parts of your writing need work

In line with that, we aim to help improve you as a writer--not just “fix” your paper. The reasons for this are twofold:

  1. You will learn more effectively if you are actively engaged in revision and take ownership of your writing.
  2. Academic honesty: papers written for a class must be the product of your effort, knowledge, and writing ability.

Research has shown that improvements in writing are much more sustainable when the person being tutored is an active participant in revising his or her paper, rather than just getting some corrections; this is especially true for students whose first language is not English (Babcock & Thonus, 2012; Williams & Severino, 2004; Goldstein & Conrad, 1990).

We might show you how to revise a paragraph or two during a consultation, or teach you about the principles behind your recurring grammatical concerns, but the important thing is that you understand the reasons behind the revisions, so you can apply them yourself both in your academics and your future career.

Academic honesty is also an issue. For example, if your writing assignment is being graded for grammar, then that grade should represent your ability to use English grammar–not someone else’s. Again, the Center will not proofread student writing.

Your paper will not be completed at the end of a writing consultation, but our skilled staff will provide you with some important tips and tools for improvement.


Babcock, R. D., & Thonus, T. (2012). Researching the writing center: Towards an evidence-based practice. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Goldstein, L. M., & Conrad, S. M. (1990). Student input and negotiation of meaning in ESL writing conferences. TESOL Quarterly, 24, 443-460.

Williams, J., & Severino, C. (2004). The writing center and second language writers. Journal of Second Language Writing, 13, 165-172.