“Streets that follow like a tedious argument / Of insidious intent / To lead you to an overwhelming question... / Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' / Let us go and make our visit."
– T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Q: How do I make an appointment?
A: You can call the Center during our open hours or stop by to make an appointment in person. You can also drop-in the Center to have a session without making an appointment.
Q: What should I expect when I come into the Center?
A: When you come in, we will ask you to sign in on one of the computers. We will then introduce you to your adviser, and you will have a seat at one of the tables/couches in the Center to begin your session.
Q: What should I expect from a peer-advising session?
A: We use one-on-one advising to address any aspect of the writing process. Our advisers are here to help you brainstorm topics, theses, or opinions; construct outlines; revise drafts; post-outline; and work on sentence-level grammar. Typically, the adviser and student sit side-by-side. Our minimalist philosophy keeps the pen in the student's hand, ready to mark, revise, and take ownership for their own writing.
Q: What should I bring to my session?
A: You don't need to bring anything, but we recommend bringing your assignment sheet(s)/prompt, professor notes from previous drafts, notes, and any writing you already have.
Q: Do I need to print my paper?
A: You do not need to print your paper, but you may use the CWAC printer to do so. We are equipped to conduct sessions using the student's laptop, though many advisers prefer to work from hard copies.
Q: Can I work with a specific adviser?
A: Of course! Call the Center during open hours and make an appointment with the adviser of your choice. For more information and adviser bios, go to the "Fall 2014 Advisers & Staff" tab. Also, keep in mind that advisers may have different hours each day.
Q: How long are sessions?
A: Sessions generally last for an hour, but they can run shorter or longer.
Q: What if English is not my native language?
A: That's okay! We are prepared to help you with any and all writing needs. Our staff is trained to work with non-native speakers and different writing styles.
Q: How do I become a CWAC adviser?
A: In order to enter the hiring process, both Undergraduate and Graduate MFA students are welcome to enroll in English 101 (undergraduate) or English 201 (graduate). This course introduces students to minimalist tutoring and the Center's collaborative methods, as well as instructs on advising techniques and procedures, and encourages reflective and revision strategies to help understand the writing process. Once enrolled in the course, students may apply for the position.
Q: What services do you provide for students?
A: We offer peer-to-peer advising sessions for both undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at Saint Mary's. We also offer workshops on various aspects of the writing process that we can present to a class or a group of interested students. Previous workshops have included "Integrating Sources" and "APA Style," which focused on in-text citation, reference lists, and formatting. We have also done "Chemistry Lab Abstract" and "Peer Review Strategies" workshops. These workshops can be conducted in a variety of ways, such as the large-group lecture model and the small-group model.
Q: What is a Writing Circle?
A: The essay is a dialogue--a conversation between the author and the reader. It is active. It is an exchange. Of course, writing also demands a certain amount of solitude, those hours logged in front of a computer or spent with a pen pressed deeply on the page. But when a writer sits down to write, he or she must always keep the reader in mind. Writing is a communal act.
Our weekly, hour-long Writing Circles are based on this communal concept. Throughout the semester, we will read drafts of one another’s work, offering feedback as readers. With this feedback in hand, writers generally become confident in revising their work and moving toward stronger, more cohesive drafts.
In addition to facilitated discussion, each week’s meeting will include learning particular writing strategies, including free-writing, outlining, and creating thesis statements, as fitting for your work at that stage of the semester.