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University Writing Center

University Writing Center

Welcome to the University Writing Center!

We offer a variety of tutoring services and workshops for students across the campus, from one-on-one in-depth consultations to drop-in hours where you can get quick answers to your writing questions to workshops on taking the GPE, writing strong arguments, and proofreading for error-free writing.

Mission

The primary mission of the University Writing Center is to provide individualized writing instruction (tutoring) to CSULB students. The UWC takes a contextual and holistic approach to developing successful writing skills in both experienced and beginning writers. With support from tutors at the UWC, CSULB students will hone their writing skills throughout their time at the university and will be able to transfer these skills to writing situations in and out of classroom settings. Tutors at the UWC help students brainstorm, develop, draft, organize, revise, format, and proofread their writing, but UWC tutors do not write or edit papers for students. In incorporating the best practices for these goals, the UWC draws upon the scholarly and pedagogical literature of Writing Center Studies.

Students

What Services Does the UWC Offer?

The UWC offers the following services free of charge to currently enrolled CSULB students:

  • 45-minute one-on-one writing appointments
  • 15-30 minute drop-in tutoring sessions
  • Small-group tutorial sessions for 2-4 students from the same class working on the same assignment. NOTE: These sessions must be arranged in advance
  • Workshops on key writing concerns
  • Workshops on the GWAR Placement Exam (GPE)

How Do I Know If I Should Visit the Writing Center?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you should visit the writing center

  • Have you received a writing assignment, but have no clue how to begin?
  • Do you have many ideas for an essay, but you’re not sure how to organize them?
  • Do you have a rough draft of an essay, but somehow it doesn’t sound quite like you want it to?
  • Are you nervous about taking the GWAR Placement Exam (GPE)?
  • Do you feel unsure of a letter of application you’ve written for graduate school?
  • Have you received a draft  back from an instructor with comments but you’re not sure what they mean or how to proceed?
  • Do you want to learn how to proofread or edit your paper effectively?
  • Do you want to become a better writer?

How Can the Writing Center Help Me?

Tutors in the writing center can help you

  • Understand your purpose for writing
  • Generate ideas for writing assignments
  • Develop your ideas into an organized structure
  • Make your writing clear or easier to read
  • Identify common grammatical errors
  • Improve your proofreading & editing skills
  • Select and use appropriate formatting
  • Use writing reference resources
  • Develop your writing process

What Happens in a Tutorial Session?

When you come into the writing center, you will first check in at the front desk to alert the tutor that you have arrived. At your appointed time, the tutor will walk you back to a tutoring station and talk with you about your goals for the session and what you hope to accomplish by the end of the 45-minutes. Together, you will discuss how best to approach your writing assignment and meet your goals, be they to develop a strong argument or to make your writing clearer. The tutor will offer advice and support, but will not write or edit the paper for you. Rather, he/she/they will help you to become a better writer, one who can write clearly and effectively independently. By the end of the session, you will have developed a set of specific action items that you can implement to improve the quality of your paper. Before you leave, you will be asked to fill out a confidential session survey, in which you tell us what you learned and gained from the session and what you will accomplish moving forward. Before you leave the writing center, feel free to make a follow-up appointment at the front desk. We are always happy to help you!

Who Are the Tutors?

Tutors in the writing center are undergraduate and graduate students at CSULB who are interested in helping students become better writers. They are excellent writers themselves and many are preparing for careers in teaching. All of our tutors are well-trained and are required to maintain and update their skills through ongoing professional development.

How Do I Make an Appointment?

  • Call in to the writing center at (562) 985-5162 (voicemail requests will not be honored)
  • Stop by the reception desk at the UWC
    (Online appointments coming soon!)

How Many Appointments Can I Make?

In order to ensure fair access to the writing center, we adhere to the following rules regarding appointments:

  • Students are limited to one appointment per day and a maximum of two per week
  • Students who are more than 10 minutes late will lose their appointment to a student who is looking for a drop-in session. For students who call and inform us that they are running late, we can hold their appointment for up to 15 minutes.
  • Students who do not show up for an appointment, who are more than 10 minutes late, or who cancel within one hour of their appointment will be considered “No Shows.” Students who have accrued 2 No Shows in any given semester will be blocked from the online appointment scheduling system and will have to call in or make an appointment in person.
  • Students who consistently fail to show up for appointments or cancel their appointments may lose their tutoring privileges.

What Should I Bring to My Appointment?

  • The writing assignment or prompt
  • All the writing/thinking/notes you have done thus far
Faculty

The University Writing Center’s Mission is to provide individualized writing instruction (tutoring) to any currently enrolled CSULB student. The UWC takes a contextual and holistic approach to developing successful writing skills in both experienced and beginning writers. With support from tutors at the UWC, CSULB students will hone their writing skills throughout their time at the university and will be able to transfer these skills to writing situations in and out of classroom settings. Tutors at the UWC help students brainstorm, develop, draft, organize, revise, format, and proofread their writing, but UWC tutors do not write or edit papers for students. In incorporating the best practices for these goals, the UWC draws upon the scholarly and pedagogical literature of Writing Center Studies.

The Tutors:

Tutors in the writing center are undergraduate and graduate students at CSULB who are interested in helping students become better writers. They are excellent writers themselves and many are preparing for careers in teaching. All of our tutors are well-trained and are required to maintain and update their skills through ongoing professional development.

A Typical Tutoring Session:

The goal of the writing center is to help students become effective and independent writers. To that end, the focus of each tutoring session is individualized instruction that supports this goal, and not just a “fix-it” approach to the particular text at hand. Of course, every session proceeds differently, but generally speaking, each session begins with a greeting and needs assessment, followed by goal-setting, both for the session itself as well as for beyond the session, after which the student and tutor engage in  reading (of the assignment/prompt or the student’s notes/draft) and discussion about how to proceed and/or improve the writing. The tutor typically address global concerns (writing strong thesis statements, logical flow of the paper, etc.) first, and then moves on to more local concerns (clarity, coherence, etc.). The tutor may offer strategies or suggestions for revision as well as point out areas of strength that the student can implement or leverage throughout the paper. Then, at the end of the session, the student develops a specific plan of action for what he/she/they will do moving forward.

Tutors in the UWC do not do any of the following:

  • Rewrite a student’s paper
  • Edit a student’s paper
  • Write extensive comments or corrections on a student’s paper
  • Voice an evaluation of the student’s work or predict what sort of grade it might receive

Grammar in the Writing Center

  • Many students who view themselves as “poor writers” or who receive below-average grades in their writing-intensive courses, assume that “Grammar” is the culprit, so they may come to the writing center looking for “help with grammar.” Our goal is to help them with grammar, but we take an instructional approach to their professed “problem with grammar,” rather than a “fix-it” one that is often more about the decontextualized text itself rather than about the writer. To that end, tutors teach students relevant grammatical concepts and show them how some grammatical misconceptions can result in grammatical errors and how those errors can be resolved once the students understand the concepts.

Guidelines for Referring Students to the UWC:

We would appreciate your help in spreading the word about the UWC to your students. We are happy to have one of our tutors visit your classroom and share, first hand, the kind of work we do here in the writing center. The following are some guidelines for referring students to the UWC:

  • Provide students with a flyer or bookmark that shows them where the UWC is located and how to make an appointment
  • Advise students to bring their assignment instructions or prompt as well as any notes or drafts that they have to each session
  • Help them set reasonable expectations for what they can accomplish during the session. They are unlikely to leave one 45-minute session with a “perfect” paper.

Appointments:

The UWC is open M-Th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and F from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Students can make 45-minute appointments by

  • By calling the UWC at (562) 985-5162
  • By stopping by the UWC in person
    (Online appointments coming soon!)

Students are also able to just drop-in to the UWC and meet with an available tutor for a 15-30 minute consultation. Drop-in hours are posted on the online scheduling system and outside the UWC each semester.

Questions?

Should you have any questions about the University Writing Center or would like a tutor to speak with your students about its services, please call (562) 985-5162 or email the Director, Tina Matuchniak at tina.matuchniak@csulb.edu.