The Writing Center at Finals
December 11, 2019
From: Diana Hamilton, Director of the Writing Center
As we approach the semester’s end, I write to let you know the Writing Center’s policies on required visits, extra credit, and take-home exams.
- We ask instructors not to require whole classes to visit the Writing Center, as we do not have enough staff to ensure sessions for all students. While our services are always in high demand—we hold over 7,000 one-to-one sessions per year—we are especially busy now. So far this month, we have had over 700 entries on our waiting list.
- If you offer extra credit for visiting the center, please keep in mind that it might be difficult for students with inflexible schedules to find an opening. Consider tying extra credit to evidence of revision, rather than to proof of attendance.
- If you’re assigning a take-home exam with a written component, please let your students know whether they may seek outside help. If the prompt encourages students to visit the center, we are happy to work with them!
There are still a few ways students can try to reserve a last-minute session. They can:
- Sign up to receive email or text notifications when appointments open
- Stop by our main location (NVC 8-185) at the start of each hour—in the case of no-shows, we open sessions to walk-ins at 10 minutes after the hour
- Visit our walk-in location at the Newman Library (note that these appointments are very limited)
There are also pedagogical reasons for discouraging mandatory visits: we find that students who come voluntarily have much more productive sessions, and we want to prioritize students who are prepared to engage actively in writing and revision. In future semesters, if you’d like your entire class to benefit from external writing support, you might request an in-class workshop.
All my best,
Diana Hamilton, PhD
Director of the Writing Center