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About the Writing Center

Mission

Assessing Goals

Policy for Tutoring Sessions

Frequently Asked Questions

Personnel

Writing Center Dissertations

Our Mission

Since its establishment in 1971 by Prof. Lorrie J. Bright, known then as the Composition Clinic, the IUP Writing Center’s mission has been to help students become better and more self-sufficient writers. To accomplish this goal, Writing Center tutors offer one-on-one tutoring and group workshops. The Writing Center also provides consultations with faculty members and online resources.

The Writing Center is based on a peer-tutoring model of instruction. Trained tutors in the Writing Center are best able to help students who already possess the basic skills they need to earn passing grades in their writing classes. To remediate serious writing problems, we recommend students enroll in a semester-long writing course.

Tutors must limit the amount of time they can devote to requests for multiple sessions or those involving long papers, theses, or dissertations. Graduate students should work with graduate tutors. Students who have special instructional needs should convey their needs to their tutor, keeping in mind that tutors are not trained to work with special needs.

The Writing Center director works with faculty members to ensure that the center supports and complements the curriculum. The director is also responsible for keeping the center technologically current and involved in research and professional organizations related to Writing Center work at the regional and national levels.

Other goals of the Writing Center include: (1) Developing the center’s website resources to help writers working online; (2) Helping students and faculty to use the center for research in composition; (3) Helping undergraduate and graduate tutors to develop professionally; and (4) Providing help to students to find and document sources for their writing, to compose scholarship applications and goal statements, and to write résumés and cover letters.

Assessing Goals

To achieve the primary goal of helping students with their writing, the Writing Center director hires, trains, and supervises undergraduate and graduate students to be tutors and workshop leaders. To assess this goal, the director collects feedback directly from all students who visit the center, from their instructors and from the tutors.

The Writing Center is supported by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and is open to all university students. It is directed by a faculty member in the English Department.

Policy for Tutoring Sessions

We operate on a walk-in as well as an appointment basis. In general, we try our best to provide one 30- to 45-minute tutoring session per day to each IUP student. When we are busy, we try to hold sessions to 30 minutes and ask that students not sign up for more than three sessions per week.

When we are not busy (no one is waiting), tutors will use their discretion. The tutor may allow the session to run longer (up to an hour) and we may also be able to accommodate a second session. The decision to extend a session is up to the tutor.

For questions or concerns about this policy, please contact the director, Dr. Ben Rafoth, at brafoth@iup.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

The IUP Writing Center provides one-on-one tutoring and word processing at no charge. The Writing Center is open to all students, faculty, and staff for assistance with writing. It is a quiet, comfortable place for writers to work.

  • What kind of help can I get?

A trained undergraduate or graduate student tutor will work with you on a one-to-one basis at any point in your writing assignment—finding ideas, drafting, revising, or documenting sources. Students can walk in, or make an appointment for an online session.

  • Can I use a computer and print my paper at the Writing Center?

Yes. And if you need help getting started, a tutor will assist you. We have Windows computers with MS Word and the full MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, Internet Explorer). You may also print out your papers at the center using your I-Card for four cents per page. We also have a small library of reference books, including current editions of the MLA Handbook, APA Manual, dictionaries, grammar books, and thesaurus.

  • Will a tutor correct my paper for me?

Instead of proofreading your paper for you, a tutor will help you to proofread your paper. We think it’s important to first get the ideas and organization the way you want them and to leave the proofreading and correcting for another session. Your tutor will try to help you in whatever way is most needed. And, while a lot of progress can be made in 30 to 40 minutes, you should not expect to leave here with a perfect paper. Instead, you should expect to leave with some good ideas for revision.

  • What should I bring?

It’s a good idea to bring a copy of the assignment or course syllabus, as well as any notes, outlines, or rough drafts you may have.

  • Do I need an appointment?

While we always make appointments for online sessions, we do not make them for walk-ins. You are always welcome to stop in—if there’s a waiting list, put your name on it. If you have to wait, you can work on a computer in the meantime.

  • I’d like my instructor to know that I came to the center for help. Will you let him or her know?

At your request, the tutor will send your instructor a form stating when you visited and what you worked on. That way, your instructor will know that you are making an effort to improve your writing by visiting the Writing Center.

  • When is the Writing Center open?

We have two sites. For the main site, in 218 Eicher Hall, hours during the semester are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., and on Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. To inquire about accessibility for the handicapped, please call us at 724-357-3029. For the IUP Writing Center–Library Satellite, located on the first floor of Stapleton Library, the hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m., and Sunday from 5:00 p.m.–10:00 pm.

We are also available online for live tutoring sessions. To schedule an appointment, visit our Meet Us Online page.

  • Can I apply to become a tutor at the Writing Center?

If you’d like to apply to become a Writing Center tutor, we have an electronic application that you can download and fill out. A Becoming A Tutor page is also available if you’re wondering whether this job is right for you.

Personnel

IUP Writing Center tutors come from a variety of disciplines and educational levels. They are students ranging from first-year undergraduates to doctoral students. While Writing Center tutors tend to major in English, applied linguistics, journalism, education, communications media, art, business, and psychology, students from all majors are encouraged to apply for a tutoring job.

Tutors are trained to help students with any stage of a writing assignment, including pre-writing, free-writing, outlining, organizing, drafting, and revising. They help writers with brainstorming topic ideas, adding in-text citations to a research paper, focusing and organizing ideas, and making ideas flow smoothly from one to the next. While tutors are not proofreaders and cannot correct students’ papers to produce error-free drafts, they can help writers to find patterns of error and learn ways to proofread their own writing.

A list of current tutors is available on our Personnel page.

IUP Writing Center-Related Dissertations: 1993–present

  1. Babcock, R. (2005). Tutoring deaf college students in the writing center. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (Publication No. AAT 3167231).
  2. Bickford, C. (2006). Examining writing center training texts: Towards a tutor training pedagogy. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (Publication No. AAT 3207884).
  3. Boquet, E. (1995). Writing centers: History, theory, and implications. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Claude Mark Hurlbert (Publication No. AAT 9531331).
  4. Chambers, L. M. (2011). Composition, retention, race, remediation and the first year: A descriptive study of the "at-risk" student experience on a regional campus. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (ISBN 9781124763521)
  5. Cook, C. (2006). The questions we ask: A study of tutor questions and their effect on writing center tutorials. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (Publication No. AAT 3206641).
  6. Fallon, B. J. (2010). The perceived, conceived, and lived experiences of 21st century peer writing tutors. Indiana University of Pennsylvania). Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (ISBN 9781124389776).
  7. Fels, D. (2010). The vernacular architecture of composition instruction: What the voices of writing center tutors reveal about the influence of standardized instruction and assessment. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (ISBN 9781124134840).
  8. Herb, M. In progress. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth.
  9. Hermann, Frank W., Jr. (2005). The silicon tutor: A critical examination of the uses of intelligent tutoring systems in writing assessment and pedagogy. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (ISBN9780496972715, 0496972715).
  10. Hunter, K. (1993). Tutor talk: A study of selected linguistic factors affecting tutor-writer interaction in a university writing center. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States – Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Michael M. Williamson (Publication No. AAT 9407522).
  11. McClure, S. (1990). An observational study of the behavior of first semester college students as tutors in a writing center. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. (Publication No. AAT 9022651).
  12. Munday, N. (2007). Peer response practices among writers in a first-year residence hall: An ethnographic study. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (Publication No. AAT 3284305).
  13. Narney, P. A. (1994). A necessary tension: Cognitive conflict as catalyst in writers’ peer response groups. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (ISBN DAI-A 55/01, p. 82, Jul 1994).
  14. Ritter, J. (2002). Negotiating the center: An analysis of writing tutorial interactions between ESL learners and native-English speaking writing center tutors. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. (Publication No. AAT 3056649).
  15. Sabatino, L. In progress. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth.
  16. Senese, M. M. (2011). Peer writing tutors in community: Relational and reflective collaborations in the writing center. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (ISBN 9781267064622).
  17. Staben, J. (2005). Not just chairs and tables: New peer tutors’ negotiations with identity, literacy, and difference in a community college writing center. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Claude Mark Hurlbert (Publication No. AAT 3194575).
  18. Taylor-Escoffery, B. (1992). The influences of the writing center on college students’ perceptions of the functions of written language. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (Publication No. AAT 9305311).
  19. Truesdell, T. In progress. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth.
  20. Vallejo, J. (2004). ESL writing center conferencing: A study of one-on-one tutoring dynamics and the writing process. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. (Publication No. AAT 3120717).
  21. Wells, J. M. H. (2011). Millennials strike back: Students’ reports of knowledge transfer from high school to college. Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States — Pennsylvania. Advisor, Dr. Ben Rafoth (ISBN 9781124800981).
  • Writing Center
  • Eicher Hall, Room 218
    860 Grant Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-3029
  • Regular Hours
  • Monday through Thursday
  • 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Friday
  • 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.