The University Writing Center believes that everyone is a writer and all writers bring valuable literacy backgrounds to their writing. We seek to create a culture of writing across campus where all faculty, students, and staff respect past writing knowledge and extend it to new situations. Writing is best learned through collaborative inquiry in supportive and reflective environments to help develop multiple approaches to any writing task, including reconsidering what academic writing is and exploring the options available to writers of academic texts. To that end, we commit to educate and train ourselves to meet the needs of those with whom we work.
We understand our role primarily as readers who provide an interested, thoughtful, and open-minded response to writing. Our goal is to help writers meet their communicative purposes as they define them and in the voice in which they choose to communicate. We are writers too. We believe we learn from writers coming to the Writing Center, just as they learn from us. As a result, we work in ways that employ writers’ knowledge learned in other literacy contexts, including at home, at school, and at work. We value the differences in writing and language that writers bring with them from different regions, nations, and areas, and the dialects and languages used in these spaces.
What We Do
We work with undergrad, grad, staff, post-doc, and faculty writers at any stage of the writing process: brainstorming and outlining, getting feedback on a draft, developing revision strategies, learning to copy edit one’s work, and more. We also work with writers to understand the genres, styles, and norms of writing in their disciplines. We meet individually with writers in 45-minute sessions, either in-person at the Writing Center or online. During a session, we design the agenda collaboratively: writers and tutors work together to create short and long-term writing goals, have a conversation about the writing, and generate strategies for the writer to enact on their own. To guide our sessions, writers bring their knowledge of language, writing, discipline, and topic to our discussions as we offer our expertise in writing processes.
Tutoring sessions are free and are reserved for 45 minutes, in-person or online, where you can work one-on-one with a tutor. We support writing assignments for courses at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Five College Consortium courses held at UMass, and UMass students taking a Five College Consortium course.
- Brainstorming & Outlining: We love working with writers at the early stages of a project. If you're uncertain about how to start your paper or how to interpret an assignment prompt, we can work with you to generate ideas, formulate an argument, build a preliminary outline, or develop a plan for your paper.
- Revising & Feedback: Immediate, in-the-moment feedback from a peer can be incredibly helpful because writing is an inherently social process. Conversations with tutors can be a really productive way to develop ideas, clarify your purpose, and better address the expectations of readers. Tutors can also support you in revising your writing holistically including structure and organization.
- Writing Process & Strategies: We want writers to be confident and independent beyond just one specific project.During sessions, tutors can work with you to identify goals for your writing, help you identify and practice different writing strategies that you can use on future writing projects, and help you reflect on ways you can continue developing as a writer.
- Grammatical Conventions and Copyediting: We can process questions and concerns about grammar and academic English in your session, teach you strategies that can help you copy-edit your work independently, or direct you to resources online and in-person on this topic.
- Getting Connected to Resources: Our tutors are knowledgeable about many of the services available on campus and can help you get connected to resources to support your writing and research.
Visit the Writing Center in the northwest corner of the W.E.B. DuBois Library's Learning Commons.
If you're a student, read more about how we can support you in your writing process.
If you’re a grad or post-doc, read more about the specific support we offer for your writing.
For instructors, take a look at ways that we can help support writing in your classroom.