The Writing Centers provide tutoring for students enrolled in Writing Program classes. There are three Writing Centers: the Douglass/Cook Writing Center, located at 135 George Street; the Livingston Writing Center, located in the B-wing of Lucy Stone Hall; and the Plangere Writing Center, located on the third floor of Murray Hall. Only the Plangere Writing Center is open during the summer months. Tutoring sessions are scheduled for one eighty-minute class period per week for at least five weeks, and are available free of charge. Students are tutored in the full range of expository writing, from basic composition to advanced research, business, and scientific writing courses. The Writing Centers offer morning, afternoon, and evening sessions to ensure access for University College and other working students.
Though separated by campus, the Writing Centers are united by a common philosophy, called minimalist tutoring. Minimalist tutoring strengthens reading and writing skills by asking students to practice under the supervision of a more experienced writer, who acts as a coach rather than an editor. During each tutoring session, students engage in a series of tasks related to their latest course assignment. While tutors shape these tasks and advise students in the midst of them, it is the students who read, write, and revise. Because tutoring happens at a regularly-scheduled time and place over the course of many weeks, tutor and student reinforce new writing strategies while they navigate the challenges of college-level composition. In this way, minimalist tutoring provides better habits of writing to take into other classrooms and the larger world.
This method requires a highly-trained staff, and Writing Center tutors undergo a rigorous selection and training process overseen by Assistant Directors of the Writing Program. Tutors are drawn from a pool of applicants who may be advanced undergraduates, graduate-level Teaching Assistants, or teachers from diverse departments, including English, Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Women's Studies. Once selected, tutors are schooled in the techniques of minimalist tutoring, augmented later by special instruction in areas such as English as a Second Language (ESL), grammar skills, remediation, and advanced research. In cases where more help is needed, students and tutors may consult the Writing Center Directors, who maintain an open-door policy throughout the course of the semester.