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Academic Learning Center

About the Writing Center

The Writing Center’s trained, certified writing coaches provide support for students managing the complex processes writing involves. The coaches do this by providing relevant feedback and flexible instructional strategies. Writing coaches tailor appointments to your individual strengths while helping you focus on opportunities for improvement. You may also encounter Writing Center staff in your classes or student organizations as they deliver presentations and workshops on a variety of writing-related topics.

Writing Center Mission Statement:

The Writing Center’s mission is to challenge and support students in working toward excellence in writing, while facilitating the use of writing to improve academic engagement, practice critical thinking, develop creativity, and succeed in meeting academic and career goals. 

What is it?

The Writing Center is a by-appointment service that gives students the opportunity to work one on one with a writing coach in a low-stress setting. Because writing is central to both learning and communicating, the Writing Center also consults with instructors and program coordinators across campus to provide resources and build workshops that address specific needs within majors and special programs. Writing Center services include the following:

  • Individualized appointments for undergraduate and graduate students, and writing of all types, in 008 ITTC
  • Drop-in writing feedback Sunday evenings in the Rod Library, 6-9 pm in room 282 of the Digital Media Hub
  • Workshops and presentations customized for major courses and in the Liberal Arts Core
  • Partnership with the UNI Honors program
  • Content feedback for personal statements and résumés
  • Individualized preparation for the Praxis I (Praxis Core as of August 2014)
  • Individualized preparation and short courses for GRE analytical essays
  • Facebook: UNI Writing Center

Why does it work?

The Writing Center promotes learning, academic excellence, and persistence three ways:  1. By helping you accomplish specific course assignments to the best of your ability 2. By emphasizing thinking and communication strategies you can apply across different academic experiences 3. By offering practice and immediate feedback to improve your concentration, confidence, and comfort when writing.

The Writing Center serves students in all majors; therefore, Writing Coaches are selected based on their interest in diverse types of writing across the disciplines. They are also chosen for their understanding that all writers need feedback. They complete an intensive training program to receive certification through the College Reading and Learning Association. Possibly most important, they understand that writing is complicated and sometimes stressful for everyone. They create a friendly, low-stress environment for troubleshooting written work and writing skills.

How does it work?

When you have a writing appointment, we ask you to bring any project guidelines you have, including class notes and handouts, and two copies of anything you’ve written so far (a draft, an outline, a few notes) so you can make your own notes for revision. Some students meet with a writing coach at the beginning of the process when they just need to get started and make a plan.

The coaches teach strategies not just for “fixing” one-time problems, but applying them independently in similar contexts. The open-ended question is the most important instructional strategy, because questions help us understand your assignment guidelines and personal goals. Questions also create opportunities for you to plan, expand, organize, clarify, and even teach (and therefore learn). We encourage you to ask us questions as well. Through this process, you can improve your expertise in meeting different audience expectations, make your purpose clear in different communication contexts, and control your work through your own problem-solving and decision-making.

Similarly, our workshops and presentations focus on finding and capitalizing on the patterns and predictability in academic tasks, while helping you stretch your creativity within the limits you’re given.