Frequently Asked Questions
The WCC is open to the entire UTC community (students, faculty, and staff). Everyone, from a first-year student to a seasoned faculty member, can benefit from getting feedback on their work from a peer. We are happy to answer any question, no matter how big or small.
The WCC operates on a peer-to-peer model. We recognize and understand the unique benefits that come from talking about your work with a peer, rather than a teacher or an editor. As such, the WCC is primarily staffed by trained peer consultants—UTC undergraduate students from a variety of majors who are strong writers and communicators and who enjoy helping their fellow students. While the majority of our visitors are undergraduate students, we also gladly consult with graduate students, as well as faculty and staff. To this end, we have a graduate assistant who can work with fellow graduate students, and our staff specialist and our faculty director are also available to consult with faculty, staff, and graduate students, or any other students needing specialized assistance.
While appointments are not required, they are strongly recommended. If we are having a slow day, we may be able to take walk-ins, but appointments always take first priority, so the only way to guarantee that you will be seen on a particular day or at a particular time is to make an appointment here.
The TL; DR version: lively conversation between peers.
The long version: Your consultant will probably begin by asking you some questions—about what you’re working on and what your concerns are. If you have a draft, you’ll read through it together—possibly aloud, which can help you hear and identify issues in your writing. Your consultant will ask you questions, make suggestions, and respond as an experienced reader. You’ll be a participant in the conversation too. Feel free to ask questions, think aloud, take notes, and begin your revision process. Your consultant may direct you to various resources that may be of use to you. By the end of your consultation, your work won’t be perfect, but you will definitely leave with a solid revision or plan of attack.
If you want us to, we would be happy to! Just let your consultant know that you’d like a notification sent to your professor, and we will send an email that includes the date and time of your visit and a brief description of what you worked on with your consultant. Even if your professor hasn’t required that you visit the WCC, we recommend that you request a notification anyway; most are very happy to learn that you’re making extra effort and taking your coursework seriously.
If your student requests that we do so, absolutely. They should ask their consultant about this before the session is over. Then, you should receive, within a week, an email notification that contains your student’s name, the date and length of the visit, and some brief descriptive notes from the consultant about the content of the session.
We recommend that you strongly encourage but not require your students to visit the WCC. One way you can do this is by arranging for a class visit, during which a WCC peer consultant will visit your class and talk to your students about the WCC and how/why to use it. This leaves the decision with the student and avoids the last-minute rush and student resistance that sometimes accompany a required visit. With that said, we understand that some faculty will still choose to require their students to visit the WCC, and we will do what we can to work with you on this. If you do decide to require a visit, we ask you to please understand the following:
- Students will likely be more receptive to a consultation if they have a clear sense of what the center is and what to expect. Consider requesting a class visit from a consultant prior to the required visit in order to help your students make the most of their consultations.
- Please contact us in advance to discuss the assignment and find out what you’d like your students to focus on with their consultants. Send her a copy of any assignment sheets or rubrics that she can then pass along to the consultants.
- Make sure your students make appointments well in advance. An appointment is the only way to guarantee that they can meet with a consultant on a particular day or at a particular time. If they don’t have an appointment and stop by the day or morning before the paper is due, we will very likely be unable to accommodate them. More importantly, consultation sessions are much more productive if students have adequate time for revision afterwards!
The WCC is not a proofreading or editing service. While consultants will certainly help students with proofreading and work with them to identify patterns of error, we generally use a top-down approach in our consultations, focusing on issues like argumentation, logic, idea development, and organization before looking at sentence-level errors. Even when we do focus on sentence-level error, our goals are always to make sure that students are learning and to help them become more independent, rather than to do line-by-line editing, which is generally not the most productive way to reach these goals.