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What Do I Need to Bring?

When meeting with a consultant, either in-person or via Zoom, or even submitting work online, please be prepared to submit or share assignment instructions, prompts, or rubrics, as well as any written material you have thus far. Additionally, please be ready to share any notes or comments your professor has provided for you, either informally or on previous drafts. And even if the only thing you have are ideas for what you want to write, your consultant can still help you plan for the next step.

Plan to work on no more than 5 pages of writing per consultation session. 60-minute consultations that address smaller excerpts of writing are likely to be more useful than longer sessions. If you are working on a longer project, we encourage you to sign up for multiple appointments spaced out before the assignment is due.

Consultation Details

  • Sessions begin and end on the hour or half hour of your appointment time, unless you choose to end early. Please do not ask your consultant to stay beyond the allocated time; consultants have other responsibilities, and we need to table space for the next session. If you are 15 minutes late, you may be asked to reschedule.
  • A consultant will meet with more than one student at a time only if all parties, including the consultant, agree in advance.
  • Requests for specific consultants are honored, if possible, but not guaranteed.
  • Consultants have the right to politely refuse service to rude, disruptive or aggressive persons.
  • Consultants have the responsibility to alert students to writing that appears to violate academic integrity, and in which case will results in conversations about appropriate citation, paraphrasing, and use of internet sources. Consultants have the right to refuse to work with papers that appear to be deliberately plagiarized. For more information regarding Doane University policy on academic integrity, please see the Academic Integrity Policy.

What The Writing Center Isn’t

The Writing Center is not an editing service. We do not edit, proofread or write papers. To quote John Duffy from his essay, “Virtues of Conversation,” a writing center is not:

  • “A grammatical chop-shop, a place for quick fixes of broken, bruised, and badly battered sentences.
  • An editorial dry cleaners, a site for dropping off papers that will be prepped, pressed, starched, and readied for the busy writer.
  • A House of Miracles, the linguistic equivalent of Lourdes, a shrine at which writers will be miraculously cured of their perceived faults, futilities, and failures.”

Rather, consultants will teach you strategies and skills that will help you become a better writer.

Consultants do not comment or supply advice on grading, or suggest the grade a paper might receive. Consultants do, however, help students interpret and respond to professors’ comments.

Consultants will not tell you when your work is “ready" or “finished”. In any consultation, consultants will work with you to determine what is working well and what is still unclear. It is beyond the scope of their role to tell you that any project is finished or ready to submit - that decision is up to you.

Finally, the Writing Center isn’t only a place for developmental, remedial, or “failed” writers. The Writing Center is a place where both inexperienced writers can find the help to develop skills and strategies to improve, and where experienced writers can further develop the skills they already possess.

What The Writing Center Is

A place to receive help with every stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to final draft. You do not need a full draft (or anything written at all!) in order to schedule a consultation. Our consultants are eager to help you at any stage, or with the next stage, of a writing project.

Where you will have a supportive discussion regarding concerns/challenges with your project. The writing consultant will do their best to address your specific concerns as well as other things they see in your writing. 

Along with student-led brainstorming. Your consultant will ask you supportive questions to help develop your ideas, find clarity and logical relationships between your ideas, and explore effective ways to convey complex information. 

And mutual problem-solving. If something is unclear in your writing, the consultant will talk with you about your thinking and bring those insights back to your draft. Together, you and the consultant will problem-solve to figure out what to do next.

Plus, we will help you develop sentence-level clarity. Because we believe that you are the owner of your own work, a consultant will not write directly on or in your paper. While we cannot directly edit your writing, the consultant will help you develop strategies for making sentence-level revisions for better clarity. 

Finally, in the Writing Center you can expect situationally-appropriate feedback and suggestions. Consultants will try to take into account the due date, submission requirements, and other important factors when they give you feedback.