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Writing Fellows


Because we know how challenging first-year writers can be, The Writer's Workshop offers faculty and students the opportunity to work with a trained writing tutor. We call this writing tutor a Writing Fellow because of the close relationship that the tutor has with the Montserrat seminar. As a result, the program provides more individualized and contextualized writing support for students and faculty than can be offered by the Writer's Workshop alone. This optional program also offers Montserrat faculty the opportunity to learn more about Teaching with Writing and the benefits of working with dedicated writing tutors.

Who Are The Writing Fellows?

All the writing tutors who work for the Writer's Workshop have successfully completed a 300-level English course, Composition Theory and Pedagogy, where they read about writing theory, write about writing theory, conduct case study research on writing at Holy Cross and write a final philosophy and pedagogy paper. In this course, writing tutors are trained in the collaborative learning and tutoring techniques of questioning and giving feedback as a way to guide students through the writing process. While tutors may point out mechanical errors and talk about the solutions, tutors are not copy editors. In addition to the course, Writing Fellows also meet with me during the fall for additional training, write weekly progress reports, and reports on individual sessions. Session reports are shared with the faculty.

Roles of Writing Fellows

  • Fellows receive a class syllabus and meet with the faculty member to become familiar with the faculty's expectations with regard to reading and writing.
  • Fellows visit the classroom for an initial 5-10 minute presentation to meet the students, talk about their roles as Writing Fellows, and describe other services offered by the Writer's Workshop.
  • Fellows work to create mentoring relationships with first-year students by assisting them with the transition from high school to college writing.
  • Fellows make individual appointments with students to work on the writing process: brainstorming, developing a thesis or argument, organization of ideas, paragraph development, editing and proofreading final product.
  • Fellows can help students summarize/respond to reading, increase vocabulary, and assist with revising.
  • Fellows are available to assist faculty member with reading drafts (feedback, not grading) of writing assignments.
  • Fellows can use Writer's Workshop space to facilitate reading and writing groups based on the course material.
  • In most cases, Fellows are able to attend class to make presentations or assist with peer review
  • Writing Fellows are able to do selective reading for your course. The Writing Fellows will have no more than two hours a week to work on the reading, so please select the readings carefully.

Roles of Faculty

  • Faculty assign a minimum of 25 pages of writing (formal and informal) over the course of one semester. Students need to have writing spread out over the course of the semester in order to work on the writing process with the Writing Fellow.
  • At the beginning of the semester, I arrange a meeting with myself, Fellow, and faculty member to set expectations, share syllabi and writing assignments (both formal and informal).
  • Faculty communicate with Writing Fellows either face-to-face or by e-mail to keep the Fellows informed of writing assignments and the needs of students.
  • Faculty communicate with their students about the roles of the Writing Fellows in their course. Faculty also remind the students about the Writing Fellows and encourage the students to make appointments.
  • Faculty share their evaluation criteria with the Writing Fellows. Do criteria change from assignment to assignment?
  • If faculty wish to make meetings with Writing Fellows mandatory, please state that on the syllabus and work out the logistics with the Writing Fellows.

An Added Benefit for Faculty:

Elaine Hays is available over the summer to provide guidance and coaching on productive ways to integrate writing into a Montserrat syllabus. She can assist with creating writing assignments, giving feedback on writing, and conducting productive peer review. For anyone who would like to take advantage of this individualized opportunity, the Writer's Workshop will provide faculty with a copy of The Elements of Teaching Writing: A Resource for Instructors in All Disciplines.