University of Vermont

Graduate Writing Center

UVM Writing Center: FAQ

Graduate Faculty Frequently Asked Questions

My graduate student met with a graduate writing consultant. Why are there still so many errors in the paper?

A consultation in the Graduate Writing Center should enable a writer to improve a paper, but the final draft may still have problems for a variety of reasons.

  • Our mission is to help graduate students become better writers, but progress is made over time.
  • A graduate consultant and writer typically have one hour to work together. In that hour they identify one or two of the most pressing issues to work on, setting aside others.
  • Unless the paper is due soon or is for a high-stakes audience (e.g., a graduate program application or grant proposal), consultants generally consider global issues (e.g., the assignment, organization, clarity) before sentence-level issues.
  • When consultants and graduate writers work on editing, consultants will try to improve the writer's editing skills by helping them learn to identify and correct patterns of error that appear in their writing. Consultants do not edit and correct papers for students.

Can a student see a graduate writing consultant with expertise in my discipline?
  • The Graduate Writing Center strives to hire consultants from a wide range of disciplines, and we are delighted to receive faculty recommendations of outstanding students so we can invite them to apply.
  • Graduate writing consultants are also trained to help graduate writers find answers to their discipline- and genre-specific questions rather than to provide those answers.
  • Graduate student writers report that meeting with a consultant who is knowledgeable about advanced academic and professional writing but is not an “expert” in their field helps them to clarify and more precisely articulate their ideas.
Can I require students to go to the Graduate Writing Center?
  • You may want all students in a course to work with graduate writing consultants on a specific assignment, but please don't make this a requirement without first contacting Nancy Welch (gradwriting@uvm.edu), so we can make sure we understand the assignment and can accommodate your students.
Can graduate writing consultations help with citation and formatting?
  • Graduate writing consultants can introduce students to the basics of citation style for a specific discipline and can help students learn where to find answers to more complex questions.
  • The Bailey Howe Library offers ongoing workshops on citation management systems such as Zotero, and the Graduate College website includes a guide to formatting requirements for theses and dissertations.
Does the Graduate Writing Center offer online appointments?
  • Graduate writing consultants’ training includes working with writers via Skype and Google Docs.
  • Graduate students who live and work away from the UVM campus can select the Skype option when they sign up for an appointment.
Can non-native speakers of English have their papers edited in the Graduate Writing Center?
  • Graduate writing consultants work with non-native speakers on both editing and on global issues such as understanding a new genre or the features of sign-posting and stance-taking in U.S. academic writing.
  • Graduate writing consultants help non-native speakers with editing by helping them to (1) rewrite passages where the meaning isn't clear and (2) learn to identify common patterns of error and correct them. This is a slow but useful process; progress takes place over time.
  • Graduate writing consultants cannot edit papers for students. It does not fit our mission, which is to help students develop their writing abilities. For graduate students who want to hire an editor, we can provide the contact information for professional editors.
Can I recommend a graduate student who already has an assistantship to be a graduate writing consultant?
  • Yes! Graduate writing consultants typically work no more than 10 hours each week. With advisor permission, most graduate students with other assistantship and fellowship awards are eligible to apply.
  • Contact Nancy Welch at gradwriting@uvm.edu about a student you'd like to recommend, and we'll be glad to follow up!



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Last modified July 26 2017 01:13 PM

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