Why should I consider utilizing Writing Fellows in my course?Faculty apply for Fellows for a wide variety of reasons. If you want your students to have more practice writing in your discipline, or if you are concerned that your students' writing simply needs more attention than you can provide on your own, you should definitely consider applying.
What do Writing Fellows actually do? How does this program work?
Writing Fellows are talented undergraduates who have been carefully screened and trained to assist faculty with their students' writing. Fellows work for the Writing and Learning Commons (WaLC), and are generally assigned in pairs. Fellows are assigned to your course, and they work exclusively with your students for the entire semester.
Writing Fellows are expected to:
- Complete two training courses taught by WaLC directors
- Familiarize themselves with your course syllabi and writing assignments
- Introduce themselves to your students at the beginning of the semester
- Collect printed copies of drafts (provided by the faculty) of each major paper in the course and respond to each student's draft in writing
- Conference one-on-one with each student on drafts of each major paper
- Provide you with records of each student consultation
- Consult with you throughout the semester to discuss assignments, expectations, and questions.
Writing Fellows are not expected to:
- Grade papers or make suggestions about grading
- Evaluate highly-specialized course content in student papers
- Serve solely as copy editors or make student papers "perfect"
- Attend class meetings, except on rare occasions.
What do I have to do? Does this require a lot of extra work from me?
No. If anything, your Writing Fellows make your life easier. You will have to make some room in your class schedule, meet with your Fellows occasionally, and follow program guidelines. Overall, faculty tell us that the benefits greatly outweigh the required effort.
Faculty who participate in the Writing Fellows program have the following responsibilities:
- Prepare at least one meaningful, well-defined writing assignment
- Include a brief description of the Fellows program in the course syllabus
- Require all students in the class to participate in the program
- Establish a "Fellows due date" approximately two weeks in advance of the final due date for each paper, and hold students to this deadline
- Meet with Writing Fellows occasionally to clarify expectations and/or specialized requirements
- Provide assigned Fellows with copies of the syllabus, assignment details, and due dates
- Add assigned Fellows to Blackboard LMS course page as "Student." Please contact Blackboard LMS manager for instructions
- Provide the WaLC with printed copies of drafts for distribution to assigned Fellows. Beginning Fall 2013, the WaLC will no longer download and print student papers from Blackboard LMS
- Complete a short assessment of the program at the end of the semester.
Does it work?
Since its inception in 2007, the Writing Fellows Program has had consistent success in most courses. Read what faculty have said about the program. You can also read more about Writing Fellows programs by contacting the Writing and Learning Commons for articles and examples of how curriculum-based peer tutoring programs like ours work.
I'm not sure my course would fit with this program. Which departments work with Writing Fellows?
Any course that requires major writing assignments/papers can be part of the program. We have placed Fellows in a wide variety of courses, and we recruit Fellows from every college. As long as you are willing to accommodate a Fellow in your course schedule, your course is eligible.
Who grades my students' writing? Can I get help with teaching my class?
Writing Fellows are peer tutors, and only read and respond to drafts of assignments that you design. You will not see student papers until they have met with their Fellow and submit their final version, but you will have access to their drafts and the Fellows' comments. You determine student grades and all other aspects of the course. Fellows are not required to attend class meetings, though they may occasionally drop by.
For assistance with designing writing assignments, creating rubrics, schedules, and other skills needed to teach your class, contact the Coulter Faculty Commons.
How do I sign up?
Fill out the application by the deadline—November 15th for spring classes, April 1st for fall classes. Depending on funding and availability of qualified Fellows, you should receive word about your application at least a month before the semester begins.
What do I do once I have Fellows assigned to my course?
The Writing and Learning Commons will train, pay, and provide work space for your Fellows. You will need to follow the guidelines listed in the faculty application, which include meeting with WaLC staff at the beginning of the semester, meeting with Fellows about each assignment, and including Fellows info in your syllabus and schedule. You will also be asked to do a short assessment of the program at the end of the semester.
Can I pick my own Fellows?
Yes! We welcome recommendations, particularly in courses that require technical or specialized knowledge. There is a place on the application form to recommend students; we try to honor faculty requests. If you have specific Fellows in mind, it is best to apply as early as possible.
Does the Writing Fellows program offer other assistance for faculty?
YES! We can help anyone who is concerned about student writing on campus. The program administrator will meet one-on-one with instructors from any course to help them explore ways in which the Writing Fellows program can help. Contact Mattie Davenport, WaLC Associate Director (227-3426, email@example.com), for more info.