COVID-19 Updates

BSU is open. An initial plan to return to campus in the fall 2020 semester is now available.

 Department of Language, Literature, & Cultural Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Frequently Asked Questions by Students


Answers to Student FAQ's:

What is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center at Smith Vidal Literacy and Language Center is devoted to helping you become a stronger and more confident writer. Our writing consultants hold one-to-one sessions with you with the goal of helping you express your ideas effectively in written form. We also develop your ability to independently evaluate and revise your own writing. We are writing-driven, not content-based, so our sessions are largely focused on discussions of writing and the writing process. Come in at any stage – planning, drafting, revising, editing. We work with all forms of writing, including non-traditional ones from resumes and cover letters to poems and short stories. We can help you develop your own writing voice.

Back to Top

Who are the Writing Consultants?

Our writing consultants strive to mentor and guide you through your individual writing process, not simply "tutor" you by offering a specific formula, template, or answer. Our writing consultants know that writing is individual. Writing Center consultants are Bowie State University students. They are mostly English majors but include some from other disciplines, as we believe that varied experiences and approaches broaden our scope. Regardless of background or academic level, all of our consultants are expertly trained and experienced.

Back to Top

Why aren't all the consultants English majors?

All disciplines require good writing; therefore, good writers come from all disciplines. In keeping with this philosophy, we find that we can best serve you by the incorporating knowledge and expertise of our consultants across disciplines. Further, we are writing-driven, not content-based, so we are here to help you effectively communicate your ideas in written form. The content comes from you.

Back to Top

How do I make an appointment?

Register for an account at our online appointment system, https://bowiestate.mywconline.com. Log in to your account and look for an open time. Openings are in white and are posted in 30-minute increments. You must schedule appointments to be one hour so look for two consecutive white boxes; click on the first to schedule your start time.

In the pop-up window, enter information about what you'd like to focus on during your appointment. Be as specific as possible so we know how best to serve you. Click "save appointment" and prepare to come in at the appointed time.

Back to Top

What should I expect in an appointment?

Each session varies and depends on the stage and type of writing you bring, the nature of your concerns, and the style of your consultant. You should come with questions and be prepared to discuss your assignment and your writing thoroughly. Every session is scheduled for 1 hour, as we believe that anything less does not give us enough time to adequately address your concerns. Up to 50 minutes of that hour is devoted to working on the writing. You do not have to use the whole 50 minutes, but you would be surprised by how fast the time goes when you are in a session. In the last ten minutes, your consultant will write a brief summary of the work that was done.

Back to Top

What's the best way to prepare for an appointment?

If you have your assignment sheet or prompt, up load it (if possible) when you book your appointment or bring it to your session. It is very helpful for our consultants to see directly what your professor is expecting. It is also very helpful for you to have a clear idea of what you want to work on. Are you concerned about the organization? The grammar? Whether you’ve met the assignment requirements? Knowing what you want to work on will help us focus the session for the best results.

Back to Top

Where are you located?

Since the BSU has shifted to online instruction, we've transitioned our Writing Center to being 100% online. Our physical location, when campus might again open, is Bowie State University's Martin Luther King, Jr. Building. 2nd Floor Room 204. When you walk in the building, go up the main staircase, take a right, take another right, walk straight through the double doors and it will be the first room on your right.

Back to Top

Who can come to the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is open to all Bowie State University students, staff, and faculty.

Back to Top

How often can I come to the Writing Center?

You can come to work independently as often as you like. You can make up to one appointment each day whenever you need to, as long as you don't abuse the privilege.

Back to Top

Can I come in to work independently?

Yes! We encourage it. When campus is open, students are free to come into the Writing Center to work on writing independently during our regular hours. We also have an abundance of writing resources, such as style guides and writing reference works. Come in and use them!

That being said, please do not ask our advisors to work on your paper with you if you have come to work independently. Our advisors keep very busy schedules, often with back-to-back sessions, and they need the little time they have to decompress, prep for their next session, or do other administrative work for the Writing Center. If while working independently, you find that you need help, make an appointment to work with an advisor the next day.

Back to Top

Do you take walk-ins?

Even if you walk in, you must schedule an appointment via our online scheduling system before you meet with a consultant. The time slot you want may already be taken so it's best to plan ahead and reserve your spot in advance. If you arrive and a full appointment might be available, we will help you schedule that time slot.

Back to Top

Do I need to finish my paper before I come in for an appointment?

No. Come in at any stage of the writing process when you need help, whether that’s as soon as you get the assignment or after you've reviewed your draft several times. Some students have even set up regular appointments to work on grammar issues, learn how to do research, or just get consistent writing practice. Just don't wait until five minutes before your paper is due to bring it in. We can only help you if you help yourself by planning ahead.

Back to Top

Can we work on a few of my assignments in one session?

Because we want to ensure that we have enough time to adequately address your writing concerns, we will only work on one assignment per session. If you have multiple writing projects, it is best to make multiple appointments over a few days.

Back to Top

Will you edit my paper for me?

In short: No.

To be honest: Sort of. At the Writing Center, we are devoted to making better writers, not just better writing. That means we will help you identify the areas that need revising and then work with you to implement the necessary changes. However, we will not take your paper and edit it for you with no effort on your part, as that does not help you develop your abilities as a self-sufficient writer. It's best to help students learn how to edit their own work; being given a fish for your dinner isn't nearly as valuable as learning how to catch your own fish!

Back to Top

I'm a good writer. Why should I come to the Writing Center?

Even good writers can get better. We can help you build upon the abilities you already have and pinpoint the areas that have room for growth. If you want to improve as a writer, we're here to help. Sometimes just a second perspective will make all the difference. All writers--including published authors and Writing Center consultants--benefit from making appointments and seeking feedback on their work.

Back to Top

Will coming to the Writing Center guarantee me an "A" grade?

We wish everyone could get an "A" grade, but there’s no guarantee that this will happen since all faculty grade differently. Coming to the Writing Center will help you develop your understanding of how to approach your assignments, craft your papers, and revise your writing so that eventually, you can earn the grades that satisfy you.

Back to Top

I'm a graduate student. Will you be able to help me?

Yes. All of our consultants , regardless of academic background, are trained in the same way: to be writing-driven, not content based. In other words, we expect that you, the writer, come in as the expert on your subject matter. We will then help you to effectively communicate that expertise in written form. Most graduate students (and staff/faculty) assume they need to work with a graduate student or faculty member, but we usually find that most of the writing issues we see in here are quite universal and our well-trained and experienced consultants can provide the guidance you need. However, we also acknowledge you might prefer to meet with a graduate student consultant and/or Writing Center staff--particularly for longer research projects--and we have marked these consultants in our schedule.

Back to Top

What happens after a session?

During the last ten minutes of your session, your consultant writes a brief summary of the work that was done, which often contains a few tips for you to keep in mind for future writing. It also helps us track common problem areas to better serve the university community.

Back to Top

How can I help the Writing Center?

We're glad you asked. Come in! Make appointments! Use our space! The more students we help, the more effective our writing community is. Another way you can give back is by filling out feedback forms, which help us monitor our progress by highlighting what's working and what needs to improve.

Questions courtesy sjuwritingcenter.com

Back to Top

 Answers to Faculty FAQs:

What is the Writing Center? 

The Writing Center at Smith Vidal Literacy and Language Center is devoted to helping your students become stronger and more confident writers. Our writing consultants hold one-to-one sessions with students with the goal of helping them express their ideas effectively in written form. We also develop their ability to independently evaluate and revise their own writing. We are writing-driven, not content-based, so our sessions are largely focused on discussions of writing and the writing process. Students can come in at any stage – planning, drafting, revising, editing. We work with all forms of writing, including non-traditional ones from resumes and cover letters to poems and short stories.

Back to Top

Who are the Writing Consultants?

Our writing consultants strive to mentor and guide students through their individual writing process, not simply "tutor" them by offering a specific formula, template, or answer. Our writing consultants know that writing is individual. Writing Center consultants are Bowie State University students. They are mostly English majors but include some from other disciplines, as we believe that varied experiences and approaches broaden our scope. Regardless of background or academic level, all of our consultants are expertly trained and experienced.

Back to Top

Why aren't all the consultants English majors?

All disciplines require good writing; therefore, good writers come from all disciplines. In keeping with this philosophy, we find that we can best serve students by the incorporating knowledge and expertise of our consultants across disciplines. Further, we are writing-driven, not content-based, so we are here to help students effectively communicate their ideas in written form. The content comes from them.

Back to Top

What happens during an appointment?

Each session varies and depends on the stage and type of writing the student brings, the nature of his or her concerns, and the style of the consultant working with the student. However, every session consists of relevant and substantial discussion of the assignment and the writing. Each session is scheduled for an hour because anything less than that does not allow adequate time to address students' writing concerns. During each appointment, a student works one-on-one with a consultant for up to 50 minutes, although students aren't obligated to use the entire 50 minutes. The last ten minutes are used to draft a brief summary of the work that was done during the session.

Back to Top

Who can come to the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is open to all Bowie State University students, staff, and faculty.

Back to Top

How else is the Writing Center space used?

In addition to the Writing Center appointments, we can hold in-house events such as writing workshops, readings, discussions, and open-mic nights, for example. If you'd like to use our space, please contact the coordinator or specialist to discuss your ideas.

Back to Top

I don't teach English. How is the Writing Center relevant to me and my students?

The Writing Center serves students and faculty from all across campus. Writing is used by all departments and disciplines, and is a skill that can be honed by students and faculty in any major. It is our duty as teachers to encourage our students to use the tool of the written word to the best of their ability--not just for an assignment but throughout their lives.

Back to Top