New(s) from the UW-Madison Writing Center!

Classes, Collaborative Learning, Events, From the Director, Graduate Students, Outreach, Peer Tutoring, Satellite Locations, Science Writing, Technology, The Online Writing Center, Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing Center Receptionists, Writing Center Tutors, Writing Center Workshops, Writing Centers, Writing Fellows / Monday, September 3rd, 2012
The Chancellor's Convocation for New Undergraduate Students, UW-Madison.  Photo by Jeff Miller, University Communications.
The Chancellor's Convocation for New Undergraduate Students, UW-Madison. Photo by Jeff Miller, University Communications.

Welcome to a new academic year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Writing Center! As our Writing Center re-opens on the first day of classes for the fall semester–on Tuesday, September 4–we’ll be eager to welcome undergraduate and graduate student-writers from across the University. And we’re delighted to have 26 talented new undergraduate writing fellows and 11 new doctoral-level teaching assistants and two new undergraduate receptionists join our staff of 105 wonderful colleagues. Based on suggestions from student-writers and from faculty and from our own staff, our Writing Center’s leadership team is always looking for ways to improve and innovate. Here’s a sampling of some of what’s new this semester. . . .

Dining area in the new Dejope Hall, where the Writing Center's new satellite location in the lakeshore residence halls will be.  Photo by Jeff Miller, University Communications.
Dining area in the new Dejope Hall, where the Writing Center's new satellite location in the lakeshore residence halls will be. Photo by Jeff Miller, University Communications.
Food service area in the new Dejope Hall.  Photo by Jeff Miller, University Communications.
Food service area in the new Dejope Hall. Photo by Jeff Miller, University Communications.

New Satellite Locations
In addition to our main location on the 6th floor of Helen C. White Hall, we have eight satellite locations in multicultural student centers, libraries, and residence halls across campus, as well as an extensive online writing center. Since the early 1990s, we’ve enjoyed a wonderful partnership with University Housing, offering undergraduate students consultations in numerous residence-hall locations. This semester we’re thrilled to open our satellites in the two stunning new dining halls on campus–Dejope Hall, in the Lakeshore Residential Area (replacing our long-time location in Lower Franks in Holt Commons), and in the Gordon Dining and Event Center, in the Southeast Residential Area (replacing our long-time location in Gordon Commons). Here’s a link to the schedule for those satellite locations.

New Workshops
Every semester we offer c. 60 sections of a wide range of Writing Center workshops, designed for undergraduate-student writers, for graduate-student writers, as well as for faculty, instructional staff and TAs. Here’s what we added to our lineup this past spring and this fall:

For more about our writers’ retreats, see this post on our blog from last spring.  And here’s a link to our full lineup of workshops for fall 2012.


Helen C. White Hall, Home of the UW-Madison Writing Center.  Photo by Jeff Miller, University Communications.
Helen C. White Hall, Home of the UW-Madison Writing Center. Photo by Jeff Miller, University Communications.

Each semester, other University programs and students organizations and faculty across the University invite us to introduce the Writing Center to students across UW-Madison and ask us to collaborate with them to offer custom-designed writing instruction within courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels across campus. Here’s a sample of some of the many outreach presentations and resource fairs we’ve already done this fall:

  • graduate programs in biotechnology
  • division of continuing education
  • School of education
  • new graduate-student welcome
  • southeast residence-halls bash
  • school of nursing
  • LGBT campus center
  • undergraduate research scholars

And here’s a sample of the many departments across the university where we’ll be doing some co-teaching on writing together with faculty and teaching assistants across the university:

  • history
  • French
  • nursing
  • veterinary medicine
  • social work
  • rehabilitation psychology and special education
  • political science
  • library and information studies
  • international studies
  • environmental studies
  • public health
  • Spanish
  • psychology
  • languages and cultures of Asia
  • legal writing
  • curriculum and instruction

For more about our outreach program, see this post on our blog from last spring.

Undergraduate Writing Fellows
Undergraduate Writing Fellows work with student-writers and faculty in writing-intensive courses across the University. Here are the courses Fellows are working with in Fall 2012—

  • Economics 623: Population Economics
  • French 211: Sex and Gender in 20th-Century French Literature
  • Anthropology 120: Biological, Cultural, and Physical Dimensions of Landscapes
  • English 175: Literature and Politics
  • Psychology 411: Fundamentals of Clinical Psychology
  • History 242: Modern Latin America, 1898-Present
  • Philosophy 543: Contemporary Ethical Theory, John Rawls
  • Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies 401: Global Change
  • English 181: Monsters, Borders, and Bodies
  • Gender and Women’s Studies 533: Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction: Public Health Perspective
  • Scandinavian Studies 296: Scandinavian Heritage
  • Languages and Cultures of Asia 357: Literature of Muslim Societies
  • Psychology 211: Psychology of Well-Being
  • Integrated Liberal Studies 203: Western Culture, Literature and the Arts
  • Jewish Studies 515: Holocaust: History, Memory, and Education
  • Business 365: Business and Society—History, Politics, Globalization
  • Art History 411 and East Asian 571: Confucius
  • English 169: Introduction to American Literature
  • Scandinavian Literature in Translation 235: The World of Sagas
  • Political Science 425: Citizenship, Democracy, and Difference
A Blackboard Collaborate whiteboard room with one of our instructors on video chat
Our Blackboard Collaborate whiteboard room

The Online Writing Center

In addition to offering some of the most widely used reference materials on academic writing (check our Writer’s Handbook), our Online Writing Center offers feedback on drafts via email for currently enrolled students and we offer synchronous online (chat) consultations for currently enrolled UW-Madison students. With help from several members of the DoIT team, we have upgraded our live online chat consultations to employ new software this fall—Blackboard Collaborate—which will allow for audio and video consultations. And for the latest on Writing Center events and workshops, check out our Twitter feed.

Madison Writing Assistance

Goodman Public Library South Madison Branch
Goodman Public Library South Madison Branch

With grant funding, the Madison Writing Assistance Program offers individual help with writing and with job applications to community members at various branches of the Madison Public Library and community centers across the city.  Community members bring drafts of resumes, job applications, letters to landlords, newsletters, recipes, and many other kinds of writing.  To learn more about Madison Writing Assistance, see this post on our blog from last winter.

Writing Across the Curriculum
Our WAC program has published a revised edition of its popular 300-page Sourcebook on Teaching with Writing, which features new assignments from faculty, instructional staff, and teaching assistants from across the University. Some of the sample assignments in the new Sourcebook come from these departments:

The 2012-13 UW-Madison WAC Sourcebook for Faculty
The 2012-13 UW-Madison WAC Sourcebook for Faculty
  • engineering physics
  • history
  • pharmacy
  • anthropology
  • journalism and mass communication
  • dairy science
  • psychology
  • integrated liberal studies
  • economics

And the WAC program has been a partner in planning and launching the Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence, a new a teaching and learning community for early-career faculty at the University. Ten new faculty from across the University are Faculty Fellows in fall 2012. For more information about our recent WAC initiatives, see this blog post from July 2012.

Thanks for your interest in what’s new in our Writing Center programs this year! Do you have comments or questions about any of our new programs or offerings? Suggestions for future offerings? Something that’s new with the writing center at your school or college or university? Please leave a comment! We’d love to hear your voice here.

more later,
brad hughes
director, the writing center
director, writing across the curriculum

15 Replies to “New(s) from the UW-Madison Writing Center!”

  1. It is exciting to begin to picture how these new spaces — Dejope, Gordon, Collaborate, to some extent even Twitter — can shape how students relate to the Writing Center.

    Pop’s Club and Lower Franks, though I will miss them dearly, were dining spaces first and social spaces… fourth, possibly. Dejope and Gordon, these pictures suggest, are designed to be busy and social beyond the dinner rush, whereas Lower Franks could get quiet and a bit lonely after 7:30. It would be interesting to see the Writing Center’s Twitter account begin to act as a similarly social space, following the trend of other programs on campus to use Twitter to establish relationships and encourage student participation.

  2. Even though I’m familiar with most of our programs, it’s still impressive to see them all “laid out” like this. I think one of the best aspects of the UW-Madison Writing Center is how involved we try to be with the campus and city community, so I’m excited to see how much the Center is continuing to expand, and I can’t wait for another year of instruction to begin (something I’m sure a lot of my WC colleagues would echo). Here’s to another great year!

  3. I agree, Danielle–it’s impressive to see so may of the Writing Center’s offerings laid out in one place! And thanks, Brad, for reminding us of all that’s happening at the Writing Center this year!

    Among all these new and ongoing offerings, there’s another one I’m really looking forward to: the Writing Center’s Colloquium–which brings together writing center professionals, including directors and tutors, from all around the the region to reflect on best practices and exciting new research in writing centers and WAC. These experiences have been invaluable for me as a PhD student at UW-Madison, and I’m looking forward to the first one coming up on Tuesday, Sept. 25th!

  4. The range of ways the UW-Madison Writing Center engages with the campus is amazing. I plan to brazenly steal many of these ideas. (Forgive the split infinitive!)

    Ah, Lower Franks–I remember having a shift down there back in the day. Dejope Hall is an impressive space. I’m eager to try a satellite location or two at our campus and see what traffic we can generate.

    Rachel Azima
    Director, Writing and Media Help Center
    Iowa State University

  5. This post really shows off the hours of dedicated work on our staff! From scheduling new TA instructors, to revising the WAC sourcebook, a lot of hard work went into all of these programs. I’m very proud to be part of such a committed staff.

    And I have to say, those new satellite locations are beautiful. Who wouldn’t want to tutor and be tutored there??

  6. World class. What useful workshops! What a range of locations! Congratulations on all the work you’ve done to help create–and sustain–a culture of writing on campus. I think I can actually feel the good writing energy seeping under my office door. . .

  7. Rachel, I share your reminiscence about Lower Franks–that was my first satellite shift. Good times . . .

    Good luck to all those new writing fellows–what a singular learning experience for them . . . and everyone who works with them.

    Thanks, Brad, for reminding us readers about the many great things, new and old, going on at the UW-Madison Writing Center. Very inspiring.

    Dave Stock
    Brigham Young University

  8. It’s always exciting to start a new year in the Writing Center and the WAC program, and this post shows how we really do hit the ground running. Thanks for writing this, Brad!

    This year, I especially enjoyed participating in the training for new Writing Center TAs–it’s always inspiring to see their thoughtful and smart questions about the work they’re going to do. And it’s a great reminder of how much I’ve learned over the two years I’ve worked in our Writing Center. What a privilege to be a part of this endeavour.

  9. Thanks for a great post to start out the semester, Brad! The Writing Center always has such an impressive array of activities. I look forward to talking with you about the Madison Writing Assistance Program–such a great way to offer service to the community!

  10. I am as impressed as I was last year when I was lucky enough to participate in all your activities. I wish I could do that again. Thank you for sharing your semester start – it is nice to know what you do. I am especially eager to have a look at the Scrivener software now, because I enjoyed the workshops on prezi and on blog writing very much.
    Greetings to all the team, I wish you a wonderful semester and think about you from Germany.

  11. thanks brad and WC for this run-down of services! i will surely alert the freshmen, sophomores and transfer students in Undergraduate Research Scholars to this post.

  12. Great post. Can’t emphasize enough how amazing the writing center is. I recommend it to all of my students.

  13. Thanks Brad, and the WC team, for offering such an exceptional array of programs. I have always appreciated your creative ways of connecting meaningful writing into all studies and disciplines. Your resources are so very helpful!
    Here’s to a great academic year!

  14. I’m always impressed by the breadth and depth of the offerings at the UW-Madison Writing Center. Like the others who commented, I’m excited to see how the WC is expanding into new facilities, and providing new workshops for the UW writing community–and even with new online offerings and resources. It’s clear that UW-Madison will continue to have a strong culture of writing as long as the Writing Center continues to remain a strong presence in the University’s academic life.

    Kudos to all.

    Christopher Syrnyk
    Oregon Tech

  15. Having just moved away from Madison and this amazing Writing Center, this post made me nostalgic and, remembering all my semesters teaching at night in Pop’s Club, more than a little sad that I’m not there to see our new space in the new Gordon Dining and Events Center.

    Best of luck with all of these programs and locations, new and old!

Comments are closed.