For Faculty and Professional Staff

Faculty and staff who are looking for resources for the teaching of writing can find a wealth of material on Blackboard. Try this link or go to the "organization" called "Resources for Teaching Writing" and, within that site, click on the link for faculty. There you will find resources for conducting peer review, giving audio feedback, working with multilingual writers, FYSP tips, and much more.

  1. Include the Writing Center as a resource on Blackboard.
  2. Share comments from past students about the effectiveness of Writing Center services.
  3. Invite a Writing Associate to your class to talk about Writing Center services and answer questions.
  4. Describe your own writing process and when/why you seek feedback from others.
  5. Request a Writing Center flyer to post on your office door.
  6. Include the descriptive paragraph, found below, in your syllabi.
  7. Contact Laurie McMillin if you need assistance or materials for any of the above suggestions.

The Oberlin College Writing Center is a free resource for all Oberlin students who are interested in developing their writing process, want feedback on a draft, or who are interested in talking to trained peer advisors (Writing Associates) about anything writing-related. The Writing Center can work with you to brainstorm a topic, develop ways to start writing if you feel stuck, workshop evolving ideas, and read advanced drafts and provide comments.

Whether you love writing and consider it one of your strengths, or you feel less comfortable writing for certain assignments or in certain disciplines, the Writing Associates can help you work toward your writing goals. We believe everyone is capable of continuing to develop as a writer. The most important thing to know about the Writing Center is that we strive to create a supportive, non-judgmental environment for people of all backgrounds and at all stages in the writing process. We hope to see you this semester!

For more information on our philosophy and what to expect when you visit the Writing Center, visit Writing Associates Program and the Writing Center.

Hours and Location 

  • Monday through Friday 2–5 p.m.
  • Sunday through Thursday 7– 11 p.m.

We are in the northwest corner of Mudd, next to the CIT office and Mac lab.

If you are interested in requesting a Course Writing Associate (CWA), please contact Laurie McMillin at Typically, requests need to be made the semester before you’d like a CWA; watch for an announcement from the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The request form will ask you to consider the following:

  • How is writing integrated into your course, and how a CWA is key to the process?
  • Are you available to attend a mandatory one hour faculty training at the beginning of the semester?
  • Are you willing to commit to regular, ongoing communication (including meeting in person) with your CWA over the course of the semester?

Faculty and CWA relationships work best when viewed as intellectual partnerships, where the CWA is a mentor for the students in the course. To this end, it’s important that you work with your CWA to define specific activities and roles for their engagement with students. In these endeavors, please explore ways that the CWA can contribute dynamically to the course.

You can expect a certain, consistent level of professionalism. This is an umbrella term for a whole host of adjectives, but collected from evaluations from very successful CWAs this includes being accessible, helpful, friendly, communicative, approachable, and patient.

In addition, students have appreciated CWAs who make them feel more comfortable, empower them through taking their ideas seriously, instill confidence, listen thoughtfully, and who challenge students to act as their own critics (rather than doing the heavy-lifting for them!).

Here are some of the many things a CWA can do:

  • Lead brainstorming sessions. 
  • Lead peer review workshops, in- or outside of class.
  • Give you feedback on assignments, prompts, proposals, etc. and help clarify your goals to students.
  • Hold scheduled meetings with students.
  • Create handouts to help with specific writing issues.
  • Run in-class or out-of-class workshops on disciplinary specific writing tips and/or more general rhetorical strategies (i.e. how to write a thesis; how to research efficiently and effectively).
  • Maintain an active presence in the classroom by participating in class as appropriate and taking notes to aid in conversations with students outside of class.
  • Provide feedback on the course from students.
  • Be available to work with students on specific assignments designed to focus on one aspect of the writing process.
  • Share their own writing and writing process with the class.
  • Provide you with a student perspective on the effectiveness and clarity of prompts and assignments.
  • Offer students guidance on the specifics of writing in the course discipline.

For any of these to be effective, there must be consistent communication between you and the CWA. The Writing Associates Program will help you lay out your expectations for the WA and your goals for the semester, but having a CWA involves collaboration and on-going effort.

Sometimes professors require students to visit the Writing Center (WC); at other times, they may suggest the WC as a resource. While we welcome the chance to work with students, it’s important that both faculty and students have a sense of what we can and can’t do.

Our goal is for students to leave a session at the WC feeling more confident in their writing abilities; we want them to better understand different strategies for approaching assignments and to develop a clear plan of action.

But we’re not a “fix-it” shop: students can’t just give us a paper and have us make corrections. Nor can we "edit" a paper to guarantee a better grade. If you want a student to go to the Writing Center, please give the writer a clear sense of what you'd like them to work on, preferably in writing.

When a student arrives at the center, we will ask them what they want to work on, read the draft if there is one, and then discuss with the student what we'll focus on. This requires a process of negotiation: if the student wants to work on "grammar" and we notice that the writing doesn't fulfill the assignment, we will re-negotiate priorities for the session. Our aim ultimately is to help the writer understand their options and to leave with a clear plan for next steps. Our conversations with students encourage them to take ownership of their work and allow them to contribute to the academic conversation in a meaningful way.