Support for All Writers
We work with a diverse range of students on an equally wide range of writing assignments and on all aspects of the writing process—beginning to advanced writers from freshman to seniors (and some alums), ESL students, and LD students, honors students, and those who seek help for senior seminar papers, resumes and cover letters, graduate school application materials and personal statements.
Students may come to the Writing Center whenever they wish to work on an assignment or general writing skills. Faculty members may also refer students from their classes to the Writing Center (see "Referrals" below).
Tutoring to Remove “U” Notations
End-of-Semester "U" in Writing: Faculty members may assign an end-of-semester "U" notation(unsatisfactory in writing) along with the final course grade in any course if the instructor believes the student's writing skills need to be strengthened. (See the OWU catalog under “Proficiency in Writing.”) Students who receive “Us” work with one of our professional writing instructors one-on-one for 50 minutes every week for the first half of the following semester. After students complete the program to remove the “U,” the Writing Center informs the Registrar and the "U" notation will be erased from the student's transcript.
Most students succeed in removing the "U" notation during the first half of the semester (usually weeks 1 through 8) after it was received, but occasionally a student may need up to a full semester's work in the Center to remove the "U." Unless special permission to postpone has been granted, the Academic Status Committee will intervene if a student has not cleared the "U" in the semester after it was received.
Conditional "U" in Writing: In addition to assigning a “U” in writing at the end of the semester, faculty members have the option of assigning a Conditional “U” during the semester if they feel that weak writing skills will impede the success of one or more of their students.
The Conditional ‘U” does not appear on the student’s transcript so it does not have to be officially removed by the Writing Center. It is, however, a formal referral and agreement between the professor, the student and the Writing Center that requires the student to work consistently and intensively on his or her writing assignments.
The potential benefits of the Conditional “U” option include
- Receiving individualized one-on-one writing instruction.
- Improving the quality of writing in subsequent course papers during the semester.
- Improving writing skills so students are prepared to meet greater writing challenges.
- Addressing writing obstacles now to prevent receiving a “U” at the end of the term.
- Earning “R” credit for a writing-intensive course.
It is important to note that even if students fulfill the Conditional “U” obligations identified in the Conditional “U” referral form—and even if their writing improves during the semester—an end-of-the semester “U” may still be warranted if students have not met the writing objectives of the course or demonstrated writing competency equivalent to their peers or appropriate to their class status.
Learning Differences and Challenges
Our staff has experience working with students with diverse learning styles and abilities. We encourage students who may need support in writing to visit the Writing Center as soon as possible at the start of each semester, or as soon as a writing project is assigned. We will discuss students’ needs and help them decide how best to proceed—perhaps by arranging regular tutoring sessions to provide ongoing support, or scheduling a series of structured meetings before a major assignment is due. We can also work with faculty to develop plans and strategies for working with students with writing difficulties.
The Writing Center offers in-class workshops and mini-lessons on all writing topics, from getting ideas to proofreading strategies. We will do presentations and work with students in the classroom for 20 to 30 minutes on any aspect of the writing process. We also visit classes for 5 to 10 minutes to inform students about Writing Center services and policies, including the “U” program. Faculty members may call or email us to arrange a class visit and pre-visit consultations.
Instructors and advisors may refer students for immediate tutoring—or students may sign up on their own initiative—when it appears that writing problems are interfering with success in course work. Faculty members my call or email the Writing Center to refer a student or may send a referral form through campus mail. Forms are available from the Writing Center.
The Writing Center Library contains an up-to-date collection of reference works, handbooks, journals and readers. We also have helpful handouts and sample models of resumes, cover letters, and personal statements for graduate and professional schools. Students may drop in to consult these materials at any time. Some materials are available for check-out on a limited basis.
Members of the OWU community may telephone (x3925) or drop in with specific questions about written English. We also receive hotline calls (740-368-3925) from businesses and organizations across the country.