Writing Tutors and Writing Interns
The University of Chicago Writing Program provides two forms of assistance for undergraduates in Common Core courses. Undergraduates in Core courses can get quick help on individual papers from Writing Tutors who work in the evenings in the Cathey Learning Center in Harper Memorial Library. For more extensive writing instruction, each section of the Humanities Common Core is assigned a Writing Intern. Writing Interns provide a for-credit seminar sequence, Humanities 19100, in which students peer critique each other's work and develop their skills at academic writing and argumentation at the university level.
Writing Tutors for the College Common Core
Writing Tutor schedule, Spring 2013, weeks two through finals week: Writing Tutors are available for Common Core students Sunday - Thursday, in the North Reading Room of the Cathey Learning Center in Harper. Most tutors begin work at 7PM and end at 10:50; exceptions appear in parentheses after the tutor's name. Please note that one tutor will be available starting at 6pm each night.
Maureen Mahowald (6pm-9:50pm)
Andrew Yale (6pm-9:50pm)
Laura Horton (6pm-9:50pm)
Brittany Hayden (6pm-9:50pm)
Will Faber (6pm-9:50pm)
Shengyu Wang (7pm-10:50pm)
Charles Preston (7pm-10:50pm)
Natalie Belsky (7pm-10:50pm)
Agnes Malinowska (7pm-10:50pm)
Elizabeth Fiedler (7pm-10:50pm)
Robert Porwoll (7pm-10:50pm)
Elizabeth Fiedler (7pm-10:50pm)
Amanda Swain (7pm-10:50pm)
Jose Arellano (7pm-10:50pm)
Nir Ben Moshe (7pm-10:50pm)
Download a copy of the Writing Tutor Schedule here. For Tutors in other Core subjects such as Chemistry, you may consult the College Core Tutor site.
Why Tutors? The University's Common Core has a significant writing component. Students taking Core courses can end up writing dozens of papers in an academic year. These papers present significant challenges, since students must not only understand the course material, but construct an argument about it that is coherent, sound, and intellectually significant.
The College Core Writing Tutors can help students tackle these tasks. Working as an extension of the Writing Program, Tutors act as a resource to help Core students develop and improve the organization, coherence, and argumentative sophistication of their essays. Tutors can work with students through the entire writing processfrom the crucial moments of brainstorming and questioning, to drafted/outlined material, to full drafts.
Tutors are available in Harper Commons each evening from Sunday through Thursday. Each night there is at least one ESL tutor present. In addition to helping students with all the challenges mentioned above, an ESL tutor specializes in assisting students whose first language is not English.
All Core students are welcome to drop in and see the tutors; no appointment or advance sign-up is necessary. Although the tutors work with students on a drop-in basis, they can become very busy during certain weeks of the quarter, particularly mid-term and then again in weeks 10 and 11. It is therefore advisable to plan ahead and come see a tutor well in advance of when the paper is due, in order to ensure that a student can have enough time with the tutor and to revise or write the paper afterwards.
What exactly do Writing Tutors do? The short version: Writing Tutors teach writing on a one-on-one basis. They're not copyeditors or proofreaders; instead, they work with students on individual papers in order to help improve students' overall skills in academic argumentation and structure.
Some things Tutors can do for students in the Common Core:
- Brainstorm on how to get started on a paper or how to best approach a paper assignment or prompt, particularly in terms of how to construct an argument.
- Read a full or partial draft of a paper and comment on its overall argumentation. This kind of comment can include, but is not limited to, logical flow of argument, effective uses of quotes and other types of evidence, persuasive placement of points, etc.
- Read a full or partial draft of a paper and comment on its organization, both globally and at the paragraph level.
- Spot patterns of grammatical errors in a student's prose and teach the student how to identify and correct these patterns.
- Make suggestions for how to revise a paper for greater coherence, clarity, and persuasiveness of argument.
Some things Tutors do not do:
- Work on course readings or content. Tutors can discuss course texts or content insofar as this directly pertains to improving a paper, but more in-depth discussions on content should be perused with course instructors, TA's, or Writing Interns.
- Copy-edit or 'correct' the paper. Tutors are there to teach students how to improve their writing, and not to 'fix' papers for students.
- Correct grammar errors in a paper. Again, tutors can look for patterns and help teach students how to self-correct, but cannot go through and adjust the paper to be grammatically correct (i.e. switching tenses, subject-verb agreement, etc).
- Read papers longer than 10 pages.
What if you're not taking a Core course? Writing tutors are required to give first priority to undergraduates working on papers for the College Common Core (the Humanities Core, the Social Sciences Core, and so on). If no Core students are waiting to be served, tutors may, at their discretion, read papers for other classes or other types of documents. As a practical matter, during busy times of the quarter when many Core papers are due, it's likely that all of a tutor's time will be devoted to assisting students with Common Core papers.
If you're seeking help on larger projects or non-Core-related projects, you may contact the University Writing Program (email@example.com) for help in finding a suitable tutor or editor.
Writing Interns in the Common Core
The University of Chicago has no separate composition requirement for undergraduates, but does help all first-year students tackle the challenges of advanced writing and argumentation at the University level by providing Writing Interns who work with students in the context of their Humanities Common Core course. Unlike Teaching Assistants in other College courses, Writing Interns are specifically charged to teach advanced academic writing, including college-level argumentation, techniques for structuring complex information, and techniques for establishing the significance of an academic argument. Interns attend and participate in their Core section's regular class meetings, so that they're fully aware of ongoing class discussions. They also meet with students outside of regular class times to work on writing, both in small group seminars and in one-on-one meetings with students.
How and when does a Writing Intern meet with students? In Autumn quarter, the College requires students to meet with their Intern in Humanities writing seminars at least three times. To combine the advantages of group feedback with individualized instruction, seminars are limited to six or seven students. The seminar sequence satisfies the College requirement of HUMA 19100-03, for which students receive credit. Credit for HUMA 19100 (Autumn Quarter) is required for graduation.
The Autumn quarter writing seminars may be of three types: pre-writing, draft, or post-writing.
- In pre-writing seminars, Interns introduce techniques for analyzing and revising advanced academic arguments.
- In draft seminars, students exchange drafts and work on techniques that will improve the drafts' argument or structure.
- In post-writing seminars, students exchange and discuss completed papers in a process comparable to graduate-level writing workshops. They learn how readers respond to their polished work -- a process that can be nerve-wracking, but that is crucial to a writer's advanced development. They learn how to address in future papers any systemic writing problems that readers may identify in their work.
After Autumn quarter, Writing Interns continue to hold writing seminars, combining seminars with one-on-one meetings in whatever proportion is appropriate to the needs of each Humanities Core section and its students. Students continue to receive credit for the seminar sequences, and seminar participation is mandatory to complete the student's Humanities Core requirement.
Throughout the academic year, Writing Interns also assist the faculty member in their assigned Core course by providing extensive written feedback on student papers, feedback that focuses specifically on advanced writing issues. Interns also are available in office hours to advise students in their section on writing issues associated with their Humanities Core course.