The Undergraduate Writing Center's mission is to support students enrolled in undergraduate classes at the University of Vermont at any point in the process of completing academic, professional, or personal writing projects. We work to engage students in a dialogue that meets their immediate needs in relation to a specific writing project and also supports their development as writers. We recognize that all students and tutors bring a variety of identities to a session that shape interactions. By embracing and utilizing diversity in all its forms (such as differences in literacy and cultural backgrounds, disciplinary backgrounds, learning and composing styles, ability status, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and personality type), the Undergraduate Writing Center strives to create an inclusive and productive environment for all members of the UVM community.
To accomplish our mission, we are committed to
- creating a place that is welcoming, accessible, and comfortable for all students enrolled in undergraduate classes at UVM
- designing our spaces and services so that they naturally accommodate a wide range of writer needs and preferences
- recruiting and preparing tutors who value diversity, equity, and fairness
- maintaining a dynamic staff well-versed in the tenets of academic writing, who are open to critique of and creative interpretation of those tenets
- promoting the collaborative analysis and questioning of student, faculty, and institutional expectations for writing
- working with students who are multilingual or bidialectal in ways that help writers decide how best to integrate their culture and language practices into their writing process and texts, the goal being effective communication.
--the UVM Writing Tutors, May 2018
Accessibility and Inclusion Statement
Undergraduate Writing Center Tutors and Staff are invested in the ongoing process of learning about accessibility, diversity, and equity. We welcome feedback on our efforts to create an environment where students of all identities and abilities feel comfortable, supported, and safe. If we are unable to immediately meet an accessibility need, we are committed to assisting writers in locating resources.
If you notice a lack of accessibility or respect in our space, materials, marketing, or tutoring strategies, please let us know. You can use this online form if you wish to remain anonymous or can call (802-656-1958), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or drop by our administrative offices (302 Howe Library) or physical space (Ground Floor Howe Library).
Writers who visit the Undergraduate Writing Center can expect:
Flexible scheduling options: Appointments are available Sundays-Fridays throughout the Fall and Spring semesters.
- Online and face-to-face appointments
- Individual and group writing support
Accessible Physical Space: Our central campus location on Howe Library’s ground floor can be reached by stair or elevator and is close to a water fountain and gendered and gender-neutral restrooms.
- Writers can choose to meet in a semi-private cubicle, a round table, or a high-top table.
- Tutoring spaces are equipped with materials to reduce writing anxiety and promote a variety of writing strategies:
- Stress balls, fidget seats, pens and pencils, scrap paper, sticky notes, index cards, highlighters, whiteboards and markers, print handbooks and handouts, electronic resource links, and Chromebooks.
Accessible Remote Space: WCOnline features an accessible interface; document sharing with collaborative writing and editing tools; video, audio, and chat options. Writers and tutors can opt to meet in Teams for more complex document formats and additional features including live captioning and recording.
Inclusion and Respect: We aim to recruit undergraduate writing tutors with diverse identities, backgrounds, cultural and linguistic traditions, and disciplinary knowledge. We provide training for writing tutors on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion topics in writing centers. Writing tutors learn universal design for learning principles and are given opportunities to practice adapting their strategies to meet the needs of writers.
Privacy: We do not share registration or appointment information with others outside of the Writing Centers without your permission. You will receive client report forms following your sessions, and you control whether to share these with faculty, advisors, coaches, or others. You are encouraged to share information about your needs with us to better serve you, but it is your choice about whether you share information and how much you provide.
In 1982, Kathy Skubikowski, a faculty member in the English Department, created the Writing Center as a Living/Learning Faculty-Designed Program. The first group of tutors lived together in a suite in L/L and worked with about twenty students over the course of that first year. Kathy took a position at Middlebury College in 1983, and Sue Dinitz, also a faculty member in the English Department, became the director. Until recently, the Writing Center was directed or co-directed by Jean Kiedaisch (retired 2008) and Sue Dinitz (retired 2018). Over those 35 years, the Writing Center grew to serve over 1,600 students a year through its tutoring sessions and workshops.
The Writing Center joined the TRIO/Student Services Program in 1984, to create the Learning Cooperative, an academic support center for all UVM students. A second Writing Center location opened in Howe Memorial Library in 2000, and in 2009 the Writing Center moved entirely to the library to be located with the new Writing in the Disciplines Program, directed by English Professor Susanmarie Harrington. The UVM Graduate College launched a new Graduate Writing Center in January 2016, under the leadership of English Professor Nancy Welch and joined the Undergraduate Writing Center (UWC) to form the UVM Writing Centers. Since 2018, Sheila Boland Chira, a Senior Lecturer in the English Department, has directed the UWC.