Mission and Policies

  • Mission   |  History  |   Policy for Tutoring Sessions

    Assessing Goals   |  Personnel

    Our Mission

    Since its establishment in 1971 by Prof. Lorrie J. Bright, known then as the Composition Clinic, the Kathleen Jones White 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 Writing Center at w-center@iup.edu.


    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.

    1. More Writing Help

      The Kathleen Jones White Writing Center provides tutoring services, workshops, and writing resources.