General Information

Embedded or Classroom-Assigned Writing Consultants: FAQ

What does this entail?
  • The course or section is assigned two or three consultants, depending on class size.
  • The class is divided into two or three groups
  • Each group is assigned one writing consultant
  • All students are required to meet with their consultant once in the drafting or revision stage for each assignment
  • Consultants write up session notes following each meeting.
  • Faculty receive notes on all the meetings.
How are consultants recruited?
  • Consultants are selectively recruited according to
    • faculty nomination,
    • rigorous application process that includes
      – writing sample and justification for sample
      – cover letter to express and explain interest
      – resume
      – transcript
  • one-hour interview with Amalia and one current consultant that includes
    – review and discussion of sample student paper
    – scenarios candidate responds to
    – questions regarding general interest in peer collaboration, their own writing process, and more.
How are consultants trained?

Consultants receive weekly training that addresses

  • facilitating collaborative discussion in writing and reflection
  • active listening and serving as engaged reader
  • modeling questions re drafting, development, self-editing, and revision
  • addressing priorities regarding higher and ‘later’ order concerns
  • discussing thesis, argument-development, quality of evidence, transitions, etc.
  • locating and self-editing grammar and style concerns
  • meeting andy discipline-specific requirements
  • following MLA guidelines
  • avoiding plagiarism
  • proper paraphrasing
  • identifying resources and using databases
  • and more
What’s the difference between a writing consultant and a TA?
Consultant TA
mainly there as a resource for students mainly there as a resource for instructor
does not grade papers may grade according to instructor request
occupies a position of peer guide and collaborator may occupy a position of evaluator
specially and intensively trained for facilitating writing development and reflection generally trained as TA plus any specific training offered by instructor
serves as resource for transition to college writing may serve as this but not main focus
incorporated in revision for each assignment consulted at will by students
student-focused often assignment-focused
serves students only as writing consultant serves students and instructor in multiple roles
ensure each student equal access to consultation given class size may not be available to meet extensively with every student for every assignment
Why not just send students to the Writing Center?
  • embedding consultants in the class keeps writing consulting tied to the academic context of the class
  • students most in need of support don’t seek support. This practice expose all students to the benefits of conversation and reflection about writing during the drafting and revision process
  • embedding consultants in the class may also reduce instructor work-load by offering assured additional resources students can appeal to
  • by meeting with the faculty prior to an assignment, the consultants are able to offer feedback to students that is well-informed and directly relevant to instructor points of focus and goals
  • it teaches students that every writer, regardless of competence, benefits from discussing their writing with an engaged reader in the process of drafting and revising.
How does it affect faculty work load and time?
  • faculty will, based on research trends and self-reports from similar programs, receive better papers through the sheer process of an extra review step
  • faculty will have an additional, targeted mean to reach students and have your priorities echoed and reflected in the feedback provided by consultants
  • faculty may request that consultants run workshops or occasional out-of class writing ‘lab’ on writing-related topics for the particular section or group of students
  • faculty may ensure their most pressing concern are part of the consultant training
  • faculty will be compensated for the additional time spent meeting with consultants and with Amalia at the regular Writing Center rate