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Racer Writing Center: Information for Faculty

The Racer Writing Center helps students, faculty, and staff of all disciplines improve their writing skills.

Requirements for your students

What is the Writing Center's mission?

How can I encourage my students to use Writing Center services?

I'd like for all of my students to visit the Writing Center. Can I require my whole class to use the Writing Center?

Should I give extra credit points to students who use the Writing Center?

I have one student who desperately needs help with writing. Can I require this particular student to visit the Center?

Should I make grade decisions dependent on Writing Center visits?

Do tutors in the Writing Center discuss grades with students?

How much help can a student get from the Writing Center?

Can students bring in non-course work such as a creative writing or personal statements for applications?

My students are working on a group project. Can the whole group come in for an appointment?

Does the Writing Center help students with take-home essay exams?

My students struggle with proofreading. Will you proofread papers before they turn them in to me?

Do students need to have a full draft before they make an appointment? Some of my students wait until they have a full draft and then find they can't get an appointment in time.


What is the Writing Center's mission?

The Racer Writing Center helps students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines become more effective, more successful writers. We believe that learning to write well is a rewarding, but complicated process that all writers - no matter how competent - can improve. WE therefore believe that all writers benefit from sharking work in progress with knowledgeable, attentive readers. Our methods - multi-faced, flexible, and above all, collaborative - reflect our dedication to the individual writer, whose talents, voice, and academic and professional goals are central to all our endeavors.
To fulfill this mission, the Racer Writing Center offers -

  • Trained, supportive consultants from a variety of areas of study who work one-on-one with students at all levels and in all disciplines at every stage of the writing process
  • An online space providing instructional materials
  • Short-term, non-credit workshops about academic writing
  • A non-credit certificate program in writing to those students who attend the requisite number of writing workshops
  • Reference materials about academic writing, for use by students, faculty, and staff
  • A Writer's Hotline (telephone and email) to address simple grammatical and mechanical issues
  •  
  • Contact information for professional editors and tutors

The Racer Writing Center Vision includes:

  • Support for satellite campuses
  • Live video consultations
  • Online workshops and tutorials

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How can I encourage my students to use Writing Center services?

Announce our services to your class or have one of our staff come in to give a short presentation on the center. We would also like for you to include a description of the writing center in your syllabus. You can find the following description on our website under Faculty Resources, if you'd like to copy and paste it.

The Racer Writing Center offers free, one-on-one help with all aspects of writing at any stage in the writing process, for any class a student may be taking. TO make an appointment please call 809-2267 or visit our website to schedule through our online calendar: racerwritingcenter.murraystate.edu. To make the best use of your time there, please bring a copy of your assignment with you. The Writing Center will not proofread papers or talk with you about grades. Many students find visits to the Writing Center well worth their time.

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I'd like for all of my students to visit the Writing Center. Can I require my whole class to use the Writing Center?

No. Whole we support your efforts to encourage students to examine and improve their writing skills, we cannot support required visits to the Center. This policy derives from practical and pedagogical reasons outlined below. If you'd like to discuss this policy, contact the director.

Demand for Writing Center services exceeds the supply of appointments available. When students make appointments because they are required to come in, are being given extra credit, or are completing makeups, they prevent students who voluntarily seek help from getting it. We seek to reward intellectual initiative and commitment by keeping all appointments available to those who make their own decisions to improve as writers.

Writing Center services complement and supplement the writing instruction that takes place within courses. We do not have the staff to support individual writing instruction for all students in any course. Our services cannot replace the writing instruction necessary in any particular course.

Students who aren't invested don't learn well. Past experience has taught us that students who visit the Writing Center under some form of requirement are not necessarily interested in improving their writing skills. Some (not all) come expecting to stay for just a few minutes so that we will write a conference summary attesting to their appearance here. While their visits acquaint them with our services (and sometimes develop into worthwhile sessions), often these students simply fill up our appointment calendar and prevent other students from getting an appointment. Given the high demand for our services, we cannot afford to allot space to students who haven't expressed interest in their development as writers.

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Should I give extra credit points to students who use the Writing Center?

No. While awarding extra points may give students extra incentive to visit, our past experience indicates that most make appointments simply to get the points without intent to improve as writers. Students who make these perfunctory appointments block other students who have actively and independently chosen to get help from using our services.

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I have one student who desperately needs help with writing. Can I require this particular student to visit the Center?

No. Even though you may have the best of intentions, requiring a student to use the Writing Center often backfires. If students are not ready to seek help, they will not be likely to receive it when they give here. Singling a student out may appear punitive and discourage other students in class from seeking help from the Writing Center. Promoting the services to the entire class will make it easier to personally encourage individual students when needed. You can strongly recommend that students make an appointment, but we caution against compelling them to visit or involving the Writing Center in a grading issue. If you'd like to discuss ways to encourage a particular student, feel free to contact the director for options.

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Should I make grade decision dependent on Writing Center visits?

No. Students view this form of encouragement as punishment or arbitration and often resist learning more about writing in these circumstances. If you'd like to discuss ways to encourage a particular student, feel free to contact the director for options.

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Do tutors in the Writing Center discuss grades with students?

No. Writing Center staff members will not discuss scores or grades or make evaluative comments about assignments or papers during appointments.

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How much help can a student get from the Writing Center?

Students can have two appointments per week (although they may not schedule two appointments on the same day).

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Can students bring in non-course work such as creative writing or personal statements for applications?

Yes. Many students do. Students may only have one appointment for personal statements.

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My students are working on a group project. Can the whole group come in for an appointment?

Yes. Students may make a group appointment if they are working on a group assignment.

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Does the Writing Center help students with take-home essay exams?

Yes, but only if we have written permission from the instructor to do so.

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My students struggle with proofreading. Will you proofread papers before they turn them in to me?

No. We do not provide editing or proofreading services, and students may not drop off a paper and pick it up later with corrections. We can, however, teach students to edit and proofread their own work more effectively.

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Do students need to have a full draft before they make an appointment? Some of my students wait until they have a full draft and then find they can't get an appointment in time.

Students do not need to have a completed draft before they make or attend an appointment. Encourage students to make and keep appointments regardless of how far along they are in the assignment.

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