Writing Center Policies

What We Do

The Writing Center offers free services to students, faculty, and staff of Hampton University. Anyone who wishes to discuss their writing with a knowledgeable, sensitive reader is welcome to do so. We work with writers on a variety of projects, such as academic papers, masters and senior thesis, resumes, cover letters, personal essays for job and graduate school applications, creative writing projects, grant proposals, and even syllabi! All group members should be present when you are working on a group assignment. Please note that the Writing Center does not offer a drop-off or e-mail proofreading service.

Tutoring sessions may be done on an appointment or a walk-in basis.

As a policy, when Hampton University cancels classes, the Writing Center closes.

Who does the Writing Center serve?

We welcome undergraduates, graduate students, alumni, faculty, and staff members. We work with students and professionals from all areas of study, and our consultants can help at any stage of the writing process. You don't even have to have anything written down; we'll help you.

Where is the Writing Center located?

We are in Armstrong 240.

When is the Writing Center open?

Our hours vary from semester to semester. In general, we are open from Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Please contact Dr. Craig Wynne, Writing Center Director, at 728-6089 or craig.wynne@hamptonu.edu.

How often can I come to the Writing Center?

You may come as often as you want.

Is there a fee to use the Writing Center?

No. The Writing Center is a free resource.

What kinds of writing can someone bring to the Writing Center?

Tutors will work with any kind of writing – from assigned papers to personal writing (poetry, fiction) or business writing (resumes, graduate school applications).

What should I bring when I come to the Writing Center?

If possible, bring a copy of your class assignment as well as any writing you've done, including notes, preliminary thoughts, an outline of ideas, a first drafted, or a polished later draft. Please also bring any relevant textbooks and/or outside resources that may be useful to refer to during the session. While we have a few desktop computers, you might want to bring your personal laptop to use during the session. If you are working on a group assignment, all group members must be present.

Do I need to make an appointment or can I just drop in?

You can make an appointment or drop in. If you have to miss an appointment, we would appreciate you calling to cancel.

Who works in the Writing Center?

The Writing Center staff consists of students and faculty members, who are all trained to consult with you about writing and the writing process. Consultants are mostly from the Department of English and Foreign Languages but may come from any department.

How does the Writing Center help with course assignments and/or long-term projects and papers?

Most of the work we do in the Writing Center takes place during one-to-one sessions that are focused on the goals you share with us when you arrive. We can assist you with writing tasks ranging from completing course assignments to completing a resume.

We recommend coming in at least three times for each assignment: once to brainstorm ideas, once to look at a first draft, and once to look at a polished draft. We are most effective when we can help you through the entire writing process.

What actually happens during the tutoring session?

Our goal is to help students develop their writing skills. We want students who come in to develop their best writing process. We do this by:

  • Engaging students in conversation. Talking with students about their papers, texts, and ideas is one of the most important things we do. We want students to take a positive attitude toward writing. Writing tutors share their own writing strategies and other ways they know that writers engage in the process of writing
  • Allowing the writer do do the work. We will not write papers; we will, however, guide students through a revision process as their draft develops. To bring home this point, students who seek writing help should keep the pen/pencil in hand; they do the writing, not the tutor.
  • Focusing on global revision concerns first. Discovering a focus or thesis, finding the appropriate tone of voice, reenvisioning organization and strucutre, exploring ways to fully develop ideas and points – these are the concerns of the writing and should be the first concerns of the writing tutor. Other, local revision concerns – sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage – come later. We do not edit. However, we do help students learn how to edit their own work.
  • Helping writers improve a piece of writing. Improvement, not perfection, is our goal. You should raise and explore questions about the paper. The student seeking help must maintain ownership of the paper.
  • Remembering that the writer is our primary concern. Our goal is to help students strengthen their writing skills so their writing, in general, will improve. We work with the current paper as a way of getting to work with the writer.

How can I get job as a Writing Center tutor?

You must have received a "B" or better in ENG101 and ENG102. You must also submit a writing sample and meet with Dr. Craig Wynne, Writing Center Director. Contact him at craig.wynne@hamptonu.edu or 728-6089 for more information.

Can consultants help me use Microsoft Word and other writing process software?

Writing Center tutors are not trained to handle software questions or teach you how to use common software. A tutor will be happy to assist you with basic questions if he/she feels comfortable doing so, but you should contact Hampton University's ATM for computer and software assistance.