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Student Suggestions for Writing Excellence at Elon

This page displays many of the suggestions students have made in response to this question:

  • What are the most important steps Elon can take to help you and other students improve your writing?

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED APRIL 17, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 212)

  • “In my opinion, writing is an incredibly useful tool to use. This is one reason Elon should help students improve their writing skills. One way I think Elon can accomplish this is by assigning a mandatory writing class to each student, mostly incoming freshmen. Perhaps students should take at least one writing class per year.”
     
  • “I think it is really important to allow students to go into writing workshops in which peers and ACTUAL writers let students know the flaws and strengths in their own writing. So, that's my suggestion. Intense non-optional writing workshops to build better writers in Elon.  And if you feel as though it would be too radical to start these workshops for upperclassmen because they are already rooted in their writing ways simply start it with the incoming freshmen.”
     
  • “It's important that writing is promoted across the curriculum, from your first semester global class to our senior seminar, and every class in between. If every teacher you've ever had at Elon encourages, demands and teaches high quality writing, then we as students leave Elon stronger students. When every class stresses writing, you eliminate the tendency for students to avoid a class that is ‘writing intensive.’ Also, I think I have only had a handful of teachers suggest we use the writing center for class assignments. And I have only had one teacher insist that we use it for at least one assignment over the course of the semester. I think that it would be useful if all first year core classes, and all intro level classes (at the least), insist you use the services of the writing center. Even if you think your writing is superb, there is always something to be improved upon. In addition, if some professors or librarians held certain hours at the writing center, that would be pretty cool, but I don't know how feasible that is.”
     
  • “Practice writing in every subject. If you're a biology major, try a poem. If you're a communications major, write a research report. The more writing muscles you can stretch, the better. A well-rounded writing education will help your writing in every field.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED APRIL 16, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 208)

  • “To help us improve our writing, Elon can have an online resource (similar to Purdue OWL) that will be accessible on and off campus to all students. It would also be helpful if there was consistency across courses and professors in regards to writing.”
     
  • “Design a course specifically for scientific writing/grant writing for students interested in going into scientific research.”
     
  • “More hours in the Writing Center; tips and tools available online.”
     
  • “Continue to teach different paper formats to business students that they would be able to use in the business world.”
     
  • “Incorporate writing education heavily in all subjects - not just English! - so students can learn more about different writing styles.”
     
  • “Elon can help me improve my writing by having more students available to peer edit my writing and have knowledge of all types of writing (i.e. press release).”
     
  • “For every class at least one paper needs to be draft submitted so that students learn the teacher's style and can build communication with the professor early.”
     
  • “Mandatory writing classes that teach the basics of writing. This includes an emphasis on grammar and vocabulary, sentence structure, effectively organizing thoughts, and translating info from outside sources into effective thoughts and flow. Also encourage creative writing and opinion and analytical writing for those who struggle.  It's always most encouraging to write about what you enjoy.”
     
  • “Incorporating more non-science writing into science classes.”
     
  • “They could have someone from the Writing Center come to all Elon 101 classes.”
     
  • “Writing contests to win money, prizes, or scholarships.”
     
  • “Offer more than one required writing class. Specifically, you could offer a class in each major that heavily focuses on writing. For example: Business Communications does this in the business school.”
     
  • “Create competitions within classes to promote expression through writing.”
     
  • “Incorporate writing into all majors.”
     
  • “Enhance orientation - make it more academic (discuss summer reading) and add a writing component.”
     
  • “In order to improve writing we must improve our culture of reading. Without teachers mandating and the school offering incentives and clubs to read, then the quality of student writing will not improve. For example, college writing should have a standard reading list with titles that embody quality writing or writing that students should aspire to.”
     
  • “Make us write more.”
     
  • “More citation guides (ex. ACS) in the Writing Center.”
     
  • “Not only focus on the concrete guidelines, but make room for creativity.”
     
  • “Creat a blog contest about living at Elon so the students get motivated to write.”
     
  • “Add writing exercises to every class curriculum, not just English-based ones. Have every professor explain to students the services available to them on campus that can help them improve their writing. This will ensure that students know where to turn for help.”
     
  • “Focus more on multiple drafts and feedback on essays.”
     
  • “Offer communications writing style help in the writer's lab.”
     
  • “Start with the basics: thesis, topic sentence, introduction, conclusion. It's amazing how many students lack the foundation of writing - or don't understand its power or significance!”
     
  • “Help students to better understand how to quote sources and how to properly cite them.”
     
  • “One on one meeting with teachers after a paper is graded to understand how to improve writing.”
     
  • “Required writing course sophomore year.”
     
  • “Elon could make us take an additional writing class. Creative writing could be fun. Maybe that instead of a literature.”
  • “Host writing workshops or have English majors pair with non-majors for creative writing contests.”
     
  • “Have writing standards that are mandatory across all majors.”
     
  • “Pairing freshmen with faculty to work as a writing mentor all four years.”
     
  • “Make all College Writing teachers teach more about grammar and punctuation.”
     
  • “There should be a tutoring system for the entire student body. Every student should have a mentor, and every student should have a mentee. This is a great system of checks and balances for each student and for each student to achieve a peer perspective!”
     
  • “Mentor young writers on campus.”
     
  • “Have more peer editing in class.”
     
  • “Write in increments rather than the single goal of writing the entire paper.”
     
  • “Virtual tutoring through the Writing Center.”
     
  • “Be able to submit papers online and have tutors or teachers in a specific department send them back graded.”
     
  • “It would help if other students learn how to peer edit well, like at the Writing Center and how it's taught in the College Writing class.  With more students versed in this skill, everyone can improve.”
     
  • “Offer job application writing tips as handouts in the library.”
     
  • “Offer different writing courses based more on majors to help students with the style of writing they will be doing the most. Make the courses mandatory.”
     
  • “Elon should include more creative writing assignments that do not have restrictions on fiction or research, but that allows students to choose something they enjoy and explore it further. I know I can become more interested in something that I am passionate about so I can learn more about it. Students can take the opportunity to both learn more about their topic and show what they already know by choosing something they enjoy or would like to learn more about. If a student is not happy with an assignment, they are more likely to apply the minimum amount of effort.”
     
  • “I think one of the most important things is creating different avenues for students to write. In my major, all writing assignments are the same, and so I am proficient in writing research papers, but I feel other avenues of writing have gone by the wayside.”
     
  • “Create personal writing tutors for students so that they have someone they can always turn to since the writing center usually offers a different person each time. It will help to have the same person each time edit a paper so having a consistent tutor to regulate the progress and frequent mistakes of the student.”
     
  • “I think Elon can improve my writing by encouraging more reading on a daily basis. Scholarly journals and high-level newspapers like the New York Times have the style and vocabulary that can improve each person's writing just by observing their techniques and applying them to your own writing. I also think that Elon should set higher standards for academics especially in writing. By encouraging writing in all liberal arts classes, it creates a foundation that will help each student succeed in whatever field they choose- because the ability to write is useful in any field.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED APRIL 15, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 163)

  • “I think that the students working at the writing center should be more educated on the wide array of databases we have, so that they can help give a student's research a good start in a clear direction. For me, getting the paper/research started is the hardest part, and I think many feel the same. Also, a lot of students don't realize how many different databases we have and which to choose from that fits their paper.”
     
  • “One of the things I feel would help students' writing is getting writing courses from the start in their major area. Yes college writing is fantastic, but to be honest personally I know I would have benefited as many others if the class was also focused on my major. I know it's difficult and practically impossible but if at all possible students from the same discipline should be grouped together to take college writing. The reason is that in my second year I feel lost writing science papers when I had never been asked to write one. So getting the experience of normal college writing plus that of my major area would be great for future writing. I know that other students would benefit from this as well.”
     
  • “I think the most important steps Elon can make are to highlight writing the first day of college. Students come in from around the country and are put in different GST classes. The main problem is that none of the Global or College Writing classes are the same. If the class has the same title as another the same curriculum must be taught. The College Writing course should focus on the student's writing and introduce them to their librarian. Then teaching the different research tools used at Elon. You need to start with a foundation and that means building from the start with the incoming freshmen. After that having faculty members reinforce writing with quality assignments will improve the writing quality tremendously in the first year. The writing center is a great tool not utilized by 99% of the campus. It needs to be emphasized what the benefits are to the writing center and the best way is to be introduced in College Writing. Another aspect that is never taught or touched upon is group papers. No one ever teaches students how to collaborate on a paper and a majority of the time the students will just break the project up into sections and write them individually and copy and paste into one document. Having a focus on the different types of writing is important to cover in College Writing. I am glad Elon is taking the steps necessary to improve the writing at Elon.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED APRIL 12, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 160)

  • “I have heard great things about the writing center but I’m never able to make it. Maybe send out semester/monthly writing tips via email.”
     
  • “A major specific writing class, opportunities to read quality literature in general studies classes; clear expectations for work; have grammar included in college writing.”
     
  • “What Elon could do to help students is encourage more creative writing/free write activities. This can help students find their tone of voice and they can be comfortable in their writing. It’s important that everyone finds their voice!”
     
  • “A grammar component to college writing.”
     
  • “The Elon writing center can offer students individual lessons in writing.”
     
  • “With each assignment that the teacher assigns, the student will have an hour sheet, and if the student goes to the writing center (which they will fill out the sheet) the teacher can give the students extra points, depending on the # of hours spent in the writing center.”
     
  • “More emphasis on writing-intensive courses & assignments; education about writing process.”
     
  • “Comment on the paper without making the student feel insecure.”
     
  • “The writing center could help with grammar and punctuation.”
     
  • “Make a huge board so that people can write on it.”
     
  • “Raise the standards across the board. Hold people accountable for poor grammar/sentence structure, etc. in every discipline. We can’t improve if we’re not being challenged.”
     
  • “Use iterative writing when students don’t write well. Raise expectations by having them re-write and turn in. Only accept what would be appropriate in the ‘real world’.”
     
  • “It would be great if the writing center would be able to really talk about the different strategies for composing papers for academic and narrative purposes.”
     
  • “An email sending out a new useful word every week.”
     
  • “Have daily/weekly writing prompts publicized on e-net to encourage consistent writing development. Students could then be eligible to receive small prizes if their response to the prompt is chosen and it can be featured on the web to help English students build a portfolio of writing.”
     
  • “Journaling in college writing; the more I write the better I become.”
     
  • “Offer sessions to look over professional writing for jobs, cover letters, etc.”
     
  • “Writing should be at the core of the freshman curriculum in order to set a strong foundation for the remaining 3 years. As such, I think the college writing curriculum should be standardized across all professors to ensure that all students are learning and applying the same skills. Additionally, other freshman core classes like the Global Experience should be writing intensive courses. Finally, I think Elon could benefit from creating a standardized writing rubric that emphasizes the key aspects of a quality paper while focusing on dynamic, clear, concise writing.”
     
  • Require students to visit the writing center once their freshman and junior year; you can keep a copy of the first paper, and the point is to see improvements in writing over the course of an Elon education.”
     
  • “Daily writing prompts sent by email; winners get prizes – gives students incentives for writing daily.”
     
  • “Improve the structure and content of the required college writing course as well as require grammar course for all first-year students.”
     
  • “Students should be required to go to writing center.”
     
  • “One way to help would be to create an online chatroom or forum where people could upload writing and receive critiques.”
     
  • “Give people tools for more time-efficient research. How much of the articles to read vs. how much to skim.”
     
  • “Incorporate more of the writing center into classes (make the writing center a better known resource).”
     
  • “Somehow promote against procrastination. Emphasize outlining or writing a draft. I really suffer from last minute writing.”
     
  • “Create a school blog where students can post their creative pieces or anything else, but school moderated.”
     
  • “I wish the writing center had some times in the evening on Saturdays.  I would also like to see them have more check boxes of what a student wants help with e.g. cover letter, recommendation letters, fellows, job internship, essays.”
     
  • “Going to the writing center and having to take college writing.”
     
  • “It would help if you could request to meet with someone in the Writing Center who shares your major (or whatever class you are writing for) because sometimes it's difficult to go across disciplines with content questions.”
     
  • “Although it may sound to be the least bit technical, I find that reflecting on a week of class and putting that down on paper very helpful in developing writing style.  Being able to get your thoughts and feelings down on paper not only provides practice in transferring ideas and knowledge to paper, it provides a stress-free environment in which students can grow in their creative writing styles.  An 'end of the week' reflection blog for courses (even hard sciences) I believe, would benefit students writing and thinking processes.”
     
  • “Elon should specifically focus on writing as it applies to majors. Writing for business is completely different than writing a literature review.”
     
  • “For accounting majors, the audit professor needs to focus on language when writing exceptions during an audit. Also, doing business cases before senior year would be helpful. Business communications is an outdated class and should be removed from the curriculum.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED APRIL 11, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 127)

  •  “I think revamping the College Writing courses would help our writing. My freshmen year there were some students who had to write papers every week in College Writing, and that didn't help them. My college writing professor broke down the whole process, and helped us learn how to write from the basics. He retaught everything that every professor or teacher has always assumed we already knew. He taught us how to have our own process for writing, and taught us how to improve. He also provided different styles of papers and worked with us to improve the specific things we struggled with. Breaking down the process and re-teaching how to write is what helped me.”
     
  • “Elon could help improve my writing and other students by providing easy access to resources in the Gerald Francis center for DPT grad students.”
     
  • “It might help improve writing if there was an online forum where users could upload their writing and have it critiqued by other students or maybe even professors. It would provide feedback for the writers and allow others to get a chance to examine writing critically.”
     
  • “In-class workshops would be greatly beneficial.  The ability to write while the teacher is right there along with your peers is the best environment for me to improve my writing.  This exercise would also allow teachers to help with specific aspects of a student's writing.”
     
  • “An essential part of any individual’s success is the ability to write effectively. The ability to capture the reader’s attention within the first few sentences and the ability to make the reader feel your passion.  The introduction and conclusion are critical in the writing process. A good introduction contains a catch phrase that will stick with the reader and make them interested in what you have to say. A good conclusion hammers home the main points and restates the catch phrase to tie everything together. Teaching students how write in a way that captures the reader’s attention will greatly improve their effectiveness.”
     
  • “Nothing helps improve writing more than practice. It is tedious, yet important. It is also important to read. I think encouraging more fictional or biographical reading assignments would help. The last suggestion is proofreading. I've read some undergrad papers and the lack of proofreading is very obvious. I think this would be the single greatest step Elon could encourage, and students could perform, to improve writing. This could be accomplished by asking students in basic level English classes to submit numerous copies of a paper for proofreading or have an official proofreading buddy. It is never fun to proofread, but always necessary.”
     
  • “To improve the writing on campus it would be beneficial for students to have to read articles that require them to take an opinion and argue for it. This can be done in any class, not only those for English and writing. With a college education students should be both informed on current events and able to take a stance and argue for it. This opportunity allows students to be creative in their writing while promoting the use of supportive resources.”
     
  • “One option could be creating new opportunities for students to write and be creative, using tools learned in class, and forcing them to expand their horizons. Typically, incentives tend to work well, so if you're able to offer some sort of prize, that would probably generate the most interest. Topics could include, if could go anywhere in the country where would you go and why? What invention do you think would change the world? Other creative, different, thought-provoking questions that will make students think, and write more. I believe the ultimate key to success to get better at writing is to write as much as possible. This could be an opportunity to do that, while offering incentives that will get students involved. Like iPads :)"
     
  • “From the physical therapy student perspective, giving seminars/classes on proper format and scientific writing during our research classes would greatly benefit our professional growth. Much of our profession is evidence-based and conducting research. However, speaking for myself, I had very little experience writing up an abstract and other parts of a research article. Also, having a resume writing class or even online help/guidelines would help us for our job applications during our third year."
     
  • “I think it would be great to have every student take a writing course that is geared towards his/her major. For example, a business major can take a class that solely focuses on how writing is used in business both at Elon and in the real world.”
     
  • “Provide opportunities for ‘risk free’ writing assignments, such as a paper that is used as a teaching tool rather than affecting a large portion of my grade.  Therefore, students can learn rather than be fearful of failing.”
     
  • “I think performing an individual writing analysis for each student would be beneficial. From there, based on results, the school should put students in writing classes (ENG 110) with students who have similar writing skills and challenges. That way the professor of the course could focus specifically on things/topics that will benefit those students, instead of wasting time on other topics.”
     
  • “Elon can try to be more consistent in what teachers expect with papers. Some teachers have their own way of how you should write a paper, while others just let you use the skills from college writing to do it. I know different subject areas require different things, but if there was a concrete way types of essays were laid out that would be helpful. Like categories for ‘research papers’ and ‘argumentative papers.’”
     
  • “Make an extra effort in the sciences (i.e. biology, chemistry) to assist with writing lab reports. Many students don't think that there's skill or tact required in writing a solid lab report, but in fact in undergrad I found that my well-written lab reports led me to understand the material and processes more thoroughly.”
     
  • “Make it more about a process than just the final product. It's intimidating for young writers to only think about turning a paper in, but when I have a process to follow, it makes it seem far less stressful and actually fun!”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED APRIL 10, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 112)

  • “Projects to increase creativity.”
     
  • “Motivate more people to write by doing contest and activities.”
     
  • “Create 3 levels of college writing for: expert, intermediate, and struggling writers and assign incoming freshmen into a class based upon how they compare to their peers on the SAT’s writing section and ACT writing section.”
     
  • “Student-led workshops facilitated by writing center employees.”
     
  • “A second college writing course that is specific to writing in your content area.”
     
  • “Something like a personal librarian system…maybe personal Writing Center consultant.”
     
  • “Offering writing tutorials in writing center.”
     
  • “Instruction on how to write APA with title page and running header.”
     
  • “More professional writing classes.”
     
  • “The writing center should be open on Saturdays!”
     
  • “Winter-term Burst the Bubble classes: a seminar involving better writing skills would be great.”
     
  • “Providing facilitators of other languages in the writing center.”
     
  • “Students receive bonus points on essay if visit the writing center – put out lollipops!”
     
  • “Provide field-specific writing tutors, i.e. political science majors need help with case study framework.”
     
  • “Professors give more opportunities for draft submissions.”
     
  • “Emphasize writing in the math and science majors- more writing assignments besides lab reports.”
     
  • “Focus College Writing on specific writing styles each week. Ex) MLA (All I learned in College Writing) APA, Chicago, footnotes.”
     
  • “Ask for multiple drafts.”
     
  • “Making everyone knowledgeable on all ways of citing sources.”
     
  • “It would be of great assistance if you were to offer sessions on different kinds of writing. For example grant writing.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED APRIL 8, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 92)

  • “In a liberal arts curriculum, students will encounter expectations that vary by subject and by professor.  When a student is challenged to expand their skill set, they need clear objectives to make the process run smoothly. I think it would be helpful if there was a section in all writing-based courses' syllabi that outlines the objectives and style that the professor is looking for in students' writing for their respective class. This would be especially helpful in introductory classes. It would allow students to see what they need to improve or modify from the beginning. Plus, getting guidance straight from the professor is an encouraging thing.”
     
  • “Create more opportunities for creative writing.”
     
  • “I would love to see more big-name writers come to Elon to speak about their writing process, inspiration for writing, and struggles/resolutions along the way. Maya Angelou is a great example of a writer we have already hosted at Elon. Hearing from speakers like her is inspiring to my own writing. Maybe Elon could even try to have some more contemporary authors or journalists visit in the future.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED APRIL 5, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 89)

  • “Writing is an essential part of our lives, and will most definitely be in whatever career path we all decide to follow. I think it is crucial that professors focus more on how we are expressing ourselves through e-mails, cover letters, resumes, etc. It is important for us to consider how our thoughts are perceived and if we are getting our thoughts/ideas across effectively. I think if we take more of a real-world approach to writing, that would be very beneficial for students, along with College Writing.”
  • “Make the writing strategies and initiatives applicable to all majors. My peers and I found difficulty in an upper level general studies course when we all had different backgrounds and writing skills (for example a comm major v. exercise sports science). Also, offer transition courses that focus on grad school or job apps writing.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED MARCH 29, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 87)

  • “As someone in both a natural sciences major (physics) and creative writing, the break in my two disciplines is clearly very obvious. Many of the things I learn as a writer are not as easily applicable to my sciences classes. However, at the end of my modern astrophysics final with Dr. Tony Crider, we had a portion of the exam that was written: we had to present our results by communicating them in a paper as would happen in "the real world." I think using this method in many different kinds of science classes makes students more aware of the presence of writing in their profession - results are published in papers, and an inability to write hinders your ability to communicate. I think this addition the sciences is something the Writing Initiative can help with!”
  • “The most important part of improving writing at Elon is to make sure that prompts and writing topics are interesting and applicable. No student wants to write about a topic they find meaningless, but if they find the topic interesting, and they can apply it to their own lives and/or future career paths, then they will be much more inclined to put effort into their writing.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED MARCH 22, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 85)

  • “In real life - in one's job or community - a person will likely be writing about topics of interest to him/her. Elon professors and courses should be mindful of this as papers are assigned. Rather than selecting a narrow topic for a student to write about, there should be a broad spectrum of an area that a student can choose to focus on. If a student actually cares about and likes what they write, they will be more positive and welcoming toward the assignment, thus learning more.”
     
  • “I feel that this initiative should be integrated in to the college writing classes for first year students. It is a great goal and very good idea but the fact is that many more students will benefit from it if it is the basis for the college writing course.”
     
  • “It would have been great in College Writing to learn about the kinds of writing I would be doing in my classes for my major.  I went into classes for my major without any clue as to what was expected from me in writing assignments.”
     
  • “Giving examples of the type of writing different departments are looking for. Examples of functional uses of transferable skills in writing to future professions and careers.”
     
  • “I think that in order to have students become better writers, they need to become better readers as well. Every Elon student should be REQUIRED to read the Wallstreet Journal DAILY and to write reports on it. I think this is a weekly assignment that is not too stressful and it would really help students become better writers/readers and finally AWARE of the world around them!!”
     
  • “The most important steps Elon can take to help improve my writing is to offer more writing based classes other than Elon 101 that are just 1 credit. Additionally, they can have writing centers in other buildings other than Belk Library. The hours of the writing center should also be longer.”
     
  • “I think it would have benefitted me to take a writing intensive course my freshman year taught by a renowned professor at Elon. I would have benefitted from learning early on the importance of being a clear and concise writer. I never was a strong writer and felt that I never had a proper understanding of how to become a strong writer. I feel as though it has set me back in many aspects. I feel it is necessary for all freshman to learn how to develop strong writing skills. I also think students should have an intensive course on how to write a long research paper! Often times I find myself repeating myself when I am assigned a long paper.”
     
  • “Learning how to go through using PubMed with search terms, efficient ways to store the articles for retrieval later, learning to use End note, etc and the rest of the research process.  Also provide on-line tutorials via emails for those who are interested.  These tutorials would include an exercise that's simple and take no longer than 1 hr at most. It would be nice to practice an exercise such as reading a badly writing paragraph and being guided to use a structured step to make the paragraph more concise with use of grammatical techniques.”
     
  • “In my opinion, the key to make this initiative a success is to teach Elon students how to become quality writers while not making the writing process a grinding chore. Assigning more and more general papers about random topics in more classes will not make students better writers. It is important to simply teach the strategies and steps of effective writing. While I am excited to improve my own writing skills through this initiative, I hope it does not include a huge increase in required papers/writings per class. I am a firm believer in quality over quantity. I would rather learn how to write a quality professional email, synthesis paper, cover letter, etc. then to simply be told to write them in 10 different classes. In the end, I hope the initiative will be teaching strategies and steps as opposed to creating good writers through tedious, unneeded, and unhelpful extra work.”
     
  • “Higher expectations for incoming students quality of writing. I think an essay portion to the application should be mandatory and highly considered. More active writing contests/build up your English department.”
     
  • “I think it would be helpful for students who are not required to place much emphasis on writing in their chosen major see their writing in real world contexts. It is hard to understand the importance of writing or to take pride in what you produce if your only outcome is a grade. If students know that their work will be read by someone other than a professor, there would be more motivation to communicate ideas effectively. Creating undergraduate journals for a variety of disciplines (similar to the Colonnades literary journal for the English department) could help students in all schools and departments understand the value of communicating ideas to an audience through the written word. I know I would be interested in reading what students are working on in political science, religious studies, philosophy, anthropology, etc. because I am interested in these areas but don't have time to take the classes.”
     
  • “Anything but another required course we have to take. I'm having so much tribute fitting in all my classes to be able to graduate on time already. I learned how to write well in high school. It's ridiculous that I should have to be required to take another course in addition to college writing. If this initiative begins while I'm still at elon, at least make it a requirement only for incomin freshman and classes after that. It's a little late  to those of us who are juniors and seniors.”
     
  • “Elon needs to raise the standards of writing across the board. I'm a senior right now, and the writing I often come across from other upperclassmen simply isn't at the level I would expect from people at our level of education. They haven't been graded well over the course of their college years and do not learn from mistakes because they're allowed to skate by. Challenge students to improve; don't just settle for mediocre.”
     
  • “The key to helping students be successful writers is to cater the programs to each major.  Business majors who need to write business plans and project proposals might be wasting their time in a session learning about social media marketing on Facebook and Twitter, etc.  Bringing in speakers to help with writing tips would be extremely helpful too because they have "real world" experience in writing.”
     
  • “To improve our writing as a whole, Elon students should be given writing aid that is applicable to their situations and majors, perhaps through detailed writing advisors. For example, in a Writing Center situation, biology students could make advising appointments with other biology majors who still incorporate Writing Center education.”
     
  • “It would be very helpful to have discipline specific writing courses. For example, I am a psychology major, but the first time I will have to write a full-length APA style paper is during my senior year. Having taken many psychology courses previously, I can see how helpful it would have been to have taken a class early in my psychology career (perhaps even a 2-credit class) which went over the basics of APA style, citations, and research methods (how to find articles and appropriately use them in a paper). Both of my research methods courses required some knowledge of APA writing and APA style papers, but the courses did not have the time to address the writing style needed, for example appropriate tenses or terminology.”
     
  • “Everyone improves when they have to do something more often. Everyone can become a better writer if they have more practice. College Writing is great, but most upperclassmen may have forgotten what they have learned if they never took another writing class after that one. I suggest possibly adding a second college writing class requirement for upperclassmen so they have another chance to improve their writing style and get better.”
     
  • “I think one of your main foci should be helping students develop appropriate email formatting. Current trends with text messaging have caused many people in my generation to not develop appropriate email skills. In a professional world that still very much depends on the ability to convey information through email on an almost certain daily basis, something has to be done.”
     
  • “Requiring multiple drafts before final submission! Having smaller parts of the paper due in increments rather than all at once!”
     
  • “One of the most important steps that Elon can take to help students improve their writing is to incorporate more of a focus on writing in classes. Personally, I learn the most by taking time to edit other students work because I learn from correcting others mistakes. If teachers were to make sufficient time for peer editing, I think all students would benefit.”
     
  • “Being a business student, I think it's important that Elon focuses on writing with groups of people.  I think this is extremely important because once we are in the real world we will be expected to work well in groups and create a cohesive report, analysis etc.  I oftentimes find it difficult to write in groups since I am putting not only my own ideas, but others ideas into one. I think this focus on writing in groups would be extremely beneficial.”
     
  • “I think the College Writing classes need to focus more on the writing process.  My experience in College Writing focused more on the analysis of readings and books, but I think part of the semester should be dedicated to improving writing.  Also, maybe the Residential areas could have Writing Center consultants come to programs to offer assistance to residents, and maybe do a workshop on how to be a better, more conscious writer.”
     
  • “I think one of the most effective steps to improve the overall writing program for the students is to have more writing intensive freshman and sophomore based classes, where students will learn the foundations of good writing for different disciplines and then would be able to apply it in their field of study junior and senior year.  Additionally, I think it would be useful for students to have a resume/cover letter workshop/course they are required to attend/take that class (maybe a half semester 2 credit class) so that they are more familiar with the basics of how to write those before junior and senior year when they are looking into internships and jobs.”
     
  • “I think it is important for disciplines that traditionally may not be focused on writing to incorporate it into their classes. For example, math and science majors should learned more about technical writing in their disciplines. Being able to communicate mathematical and scientific findings through writing is a very important skill for people in those majors. English and Social Science majors aren't the only ones who should be writing papers!”
     
  • “The Center for Leadership each month does a "leadership lunch," where a distinguished leader on campus presents on a certain aspect on leadership. I believe it would be a good idea to do  a monthly "writing lunch," where the school has great writers or teachers present on an aspect of writing. I think students would greatly benefit from learning in this type of setting.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED MARCH 20, 2013 (Total Suggestions – 60)

  • “Instead having one, general writing center in Belk, Elon could provide writing centers specific to each school that would cater more towards each major, since writing from Communications, for example, is very different from writing for a business class or from an English class.”
     
  • “It would be helpful to be able to communicate and correspond with members of the writing center and this new writing initiative by email or electronically so that you can receive feedback without having to be on campus in the library.”
     
  • “I think it would be most helpful if writing classes were offered that were major specific. For example, have a college writing style course but focus on concise, persuasive, or other major specific writing. That way students will be more engaged and find the class more useful to their post academic career.”
     
  • “I feel like something that would help students is making writing center less intimidating. I know my freshman year, I only went because my teacher told me to. I feel very intimidated knowing someone I don't know is going to look over my paper and critique it. Also, I know I get a lot better on my papers when my professors require drafts so they can give feedback. I understand it's hard to tell every single professor to do that, but I know for myself and others, knowing what a certain professor is looking for in a student's writing helps and gives you more confidence while writing.”
     
  • “I think that we should work to find a way for students to do a smaller version of undergraduate research in their coursework. I'm not suggesting this in terms of page length or seriousness, but in the scope, focus, and authenticity of the writing. Undertaking an undergraduate research project is, without a doubt, one of the most engaging and rewarding experiences during my time here at Elon.”
     
  • “Rubrics should be required for each writing assignment when the assignment is assigned. It is unfair to grade a student on a paper; when the student does not know the criteria for the paper. For college writing, make it a more uniformly taught class. Finally make criteria for each essay written in college writing; ie a research paper in science with at least 5 sources, but allow the students to pick the individual topics.”
     
  • “The most important steps Elon can take in insuring it's students become better writers is to encourage reading. Reading awakens people to different styles of writing and helps specifically students in crafting their own unique writing style. Depending on a students major, students can either spend a significant amount of time writing and researching (ie English and History majors) or barely any time (ie Business majors). This gap could be decreased by requiring more writing intensive classes in non-Humanities classes.”
     
  • “Offer a "writing in the work place course" for undergrad students. Offer writing workshops for grad students.”
     
  • “Encourage students to be passionate about writing through extracurricular competitions, contests, and other means. Students should never dread writing outside the classroom!”
     
  • “Professors should offer students the oppurtunity to gain extra credit on their papers if they visit the writing center before turning the paper in. The extra credit shouldn't be too high. Maybe just a point or two. Also, the school should offer workshops that teach students how to write well in the workplace.”
     
  • “I think it is absolutely critical that Elon students read more. Without reading, we cannot learn to be strong writers.”
     
  • “Writing is one of the best forms of learning, it forces students to exercise critical thinking, creativity and problem solving. In high school I was in International Baccalaureate, which had a heavy focus on writing and have been dissappointed in my time here in the lack of overall writing. One area Elon could definitely improve on is implementing more writing into tests. This allows students autonomy over their answers and still tests their knowledge of the class material.”
     
  • “I think that it would be helpful to recognize that students have come from all different levels of writing abilities and some students need more focused help on specific areas. Have a person in the writing center that specializes in specific writing styles would be helpful. This would increase the user friendliness and allow students who need help on lab reports or press releases to get the help they actually need from someone who is experienced in the field. It would be also helpful to have the ability to sign up for slots online to meet with writing center workers. For future students it may be helpful to provide them with information on books that will help them as they transition into college writing fir example, the Style Guide book. This could also be an Elon made quick tips book on how to improve your college writing, use these helpful tips when you get to Elon.”
     
  • “I personally have never been to the writing center. I believe that every student should be required to go to the writing center at some point in their Freshman year, whether it be in Elon 101, Global, or otherwise.”
     
  • “Allow students to choose their College Writing classes based on a subject that interests them; this way, even students who don't feel passionately about writing will have an invested interest!”
     
  • “I feel that the College Writing classes for first year students need to be standardized. As I understand it stands right now, professors are free to make the class however they choose. I have heard some first years say that all they do is watch movies in class. Others say that their class is an environmental issues writing class. While I am sure these are exaggerations on the part of the students, I do think there should be standard objectives and goals developed for professors. If standards already exist, this is a great time to look at them with a fresh perspective based on the Writing Initiative. We need objectives that help students to not only get their writing up to the "college level", but develop professional writing skills that they can use the rest of their time at Elon. Going forward, if specific writing objectives are not available for each discipline, now would be a great time to develop and implement them too.”
     
  • “First, we must know what defines great writing.  For example, content does matter a lot, but presentation can play quite an impact as well. I think it would be beneficial to have presentations about "improving your writing" from the school as well as from companies/employers.  We want to know what is expected of us. Another area of consideration is to tell us why it matters.  This could be summed up easily into something like protect your reputation and don't look dumb, but people aren't going to remember that as well.  It is needed to make it stick why you have to be good at writing. Also, as with any goal, try to have a clearly defined end result.  Where exactly will people be getting to and how can this be measured?  Why will they try to meet this goal? (requirement? enthusiasm? motivation?)”
     
  • “I think it is important to have us write for different audiences, instead of just for our professors.  I had a marketing class where we had to come up with a marketing plan for a real local organization.  It was one of the best experiences because I got feedback from people in the industry and the company actually used our marketing plan we created for them in coming years.”
     
  • “Like everything in life, the best way to become a good writer is to practice. Every proficient writer I know became that way by first learning proper fundamentals, and then having to exercise those skills on a very regular basis. Instead of structuring Global and College Writing classes with occasional papers that are worth large portions of students' grades, create a template with weekly papers that all College Writing courses follow. They don't have to be long--2 pages is plenty--but students need to practice over and over again the skills they are (hopefully) being taught. It is also important to let kids write about what they care about--freedom of topic selection is a huge catalyst for interest in any subject. This could create more work for professors, but I have known people who absolutely hate writing become incredibly proficient with just one semester of intensive practice.”
     
  • “I am a double major in art history and marketing.  As an art history major, I feel that I have learned many skills that have helped me to become a strong writer.  However, as a business major, I feel that writing skills are rarely referenced outside of Business Communications.  Writing should play a role in every major.”
     
  • “My writing is always best when I am able to complete several drafts. The classes that I have handed in my best pieces of work have also been the classes where there were built-in steps along the way. Professors will require bibliographies, outlines, rough drafts and encourage peer editing. If we can build these steps into more 100-200 level courses, they may become habits that stick with students throughout their academic career. Once the importance of revision is established and understood, handing in a paper in its first form may become a strange practice. The University has been great in encouraging students to take their writing seriously, and making all the necessary resources available. Now it is just a matter of taking it to the next level and encouraging a higher standard of writing.”
     
  • “Advice that I would give deals with the writing center. I would suggest a way to make the writing center more valuable and useful. From previous experiences, going to the writing center confused me and made me nervous  to turn in my paper.”
     
  • “Conduct Workshops where students can bring writing samples and have them evaluated on site and also workshops that cover common mistakers, errors and areas of improvement.”
     
  • “I think that the way the current writing excellence initiative seems structured assumes that a culture of reading already exists on campus.  To be an effective writer you have to read, and our students do not do this nearly enough.  I feel this to be especially important in discipline specific writing where you need to have exposure to the style to write in it.  Therefore, I would suggest that a reading component be added to the initiative.  Currently I feel that the academic climate is weak on campus and I hope that this initiative is the first in many steps to turn that around.”
     
  • “The student tutors should understand all different types of citations (MLA, APA, AP, etc) that way we can come in with papers in classes like science or comm and it can be edited in the proper form.”
     
  • “I think that there should be greater emphasis on developing writing skills in the College Writing course and GST 110 because during my three semesters at Elon I have encountered many students who didn't have some basic writing skills or knowledge that I learned as a sophomore in high school. Some examples are writing in active voice, basic grammar and punctuation rules, and writing correct citations. I know that I didn't really go over any of these in either one of those courses my freshman year. The professors I have had tell students who don't know how to cite to just look it up online and don't go over it as a class.”
     
  • “I think it is important to define where a focus of writing will enhance the quality of work. In some situations excessive writing can diminished the overall focus of an assignment. Such as in the sciences when often you are trying to be clear and concise without any extra fluff. Writing is important and must be altered to fit the scenario. There cannot be a blanket initiative for all departments and classes. They must be individual tailored to fix the criteria. This initiative should not create busy work or superfluous content.  It cannot take precedence over learning the course material which is already highly involved”
     
  • “Make sure that students know the difference between editing and revising. Revising is a much more thorough process that changes the overall content of the paper, while editing fixes syntax and other grammatical errors. Making sure that students know this will help them in the writing process.”
     
  • “I think it's the most important to know who your audience is. Teaching how to write to different audiences, in connection with the third initiative already introduced, would definitely improve my writing and help me on research projects in the future.”
     
  • “Although the writing center is available to all students, I feel as though my visits there are not necessarily always as productive as I hope. It's great to have student's helping studen'ts but someone who is an English major writes quite differently from an Exercise Science major, so it's not very realistic for me to bring a science research paper to the writing center. I think it may be useful for each department to have one or two faculty members who are trained and highly educated on writing styles for their respective area. My College Writing class was very helpful to me because although it was still a very difficult level class and the professor expected a lot from the students, he allowed everyone to pick their own topics for each paper. Although my College Writing class freshman year was very helpful and educational, I feel like over the past two years this has gone away slightly, so maybe at least 2 credits of intensive writing classes a semester should be mandatory.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED MARCH 19, 2013 (Total Suggestions - 30)

  • “Give writing prompts that allow us to explore our experience, history and personal nature. There is nothing better than being able to write about something YOU are passionate about. When given assignments that are uninteresting to the self, the paper quality lowers off top. The ability to tie in personal experience with current teaching, lessons and readings is what I think allows the mind to wonder into a zone which is perfectly designed for writing passionately.”
     
  • “Research methods-type courses should be required as part of the general education requirements so that students understand the process and methodology of research papers early on so they are not struggling as upperclassmen.”
     
  • “I think it can begin in global classes, Elon 101, and college writing. In all of these classes when I was a freshman, we wrote but didn't learn what makes good writing. My "common read" was "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and we didn't touch it in any of my classes; why don't you require a book report in one or the other. Require students to read and then write. Have us find elements of writing we admire and push us to emulate those elements. (Hopefully, every student at Elon has a book they enjoy, and there's bound to be a reason why it's enjoyable) Teach us how to make an argument based on a common read so that students can come up with an argument and compare them to one another. Yes, book reports have been exhausted, but learning rhetoric without a foundation doesn't make much sense to me, either. Students need to learn how to write beyond a 5 paragraph essay, and that didn't happen for me until I really got into my English concentration. I think just at the beginning of a person's career at Elon, there are many opportunities to make writing more significant, more influential. Also, talk to Drew Perry or Scott Proudfit. I've never been so inspired to write and so drawn to the power of words in my life than when I'm in class with those guys.”
     
  • “Important steps Elon can take to help students improve their writing:
    - clearly outline how different writings should be written (history papers, english papers, psych papers, etc)
    - meaningless papers are dumb and dont teach students how to write
    - writing a 10 page paper is the same thing as writing a 2 page paper if a student has no clue how to write it. Don't make the student write extra pages if they are not going to learn on the second page
    - keep the papers interesting and different”
     
  • “Sometimes, students' writing skills are just out of practice. I suggest having monthly writing contests. These can have varied themes throughout the year in order to appeal to all majors. Each winner would receive an award certificate, as well as a small reward, such as a $20 Target gift card. In order to increase entries, professors could encourage students to enter the contests, and students could use their entires as portfolio writing samples. Entrants would also be encouraged to visit the Writing Center prior to submitting their entries.”
     
  • “promote the writing center so more people will go to it and have it be more useful, rather than a set structure of just you reading your paper out loud and going over it like that. Allow for more freedom within the writing center. Have professors set a standard of writing styles, because many times it differs from professor to professor.”
     
  • “The best way to become better at writing is to write- a lot.  Assignments with student-picked topics are most likely to yield great results because students will be likely to delve into things they want to write.”
     
  • “I think it's great that each time a student visits the writing center their professor is notified. However, I think it would be really beneficial to the student if the professors were more involved in the feedback that the student receives from the writing center tutor. For instance, when the professor is notified, I think it would be beneficial to provide specifics of what was discussed and what problems the student had and for the tutors to relay to the professor how they helped there student and the advice that they gave them and if that aligned to what the professor is looking for regarding the assignment. This could be with the students discretion cause some students may not feel comfortable talking to their professor so they may not want the writing center tutor to discuss details about their meeting. But in general I think it would be really beneficial for the professors to be more involved in the process so the student and the tutor knows if they are headed in the right direction.”
     
  • “I think that Elon should incorporate writing into non-writing intensive courses in some way. I think that writing skills slip when students take numbers-based classes.”
     
  • “The most important steps Elon can take to help me and other student improve our writing is by offering more qualified help in the writing center. From past experience, I have not gained very much insight or help by going in the writing center.”
     
  • “Elon should have more resources available to students online for help with writing. It would be awesome if we could somehow have the students who work at the writing center online at points to help students. If we could create an online program where students can get the same writing help that the Writing Center offers by going to the library, that would be very beneficial. I know for me I would love to use the Writing Center services, but I don't have a lot of time to go during the hours they are open. I would really appreciate an alternate option and I think it would help me improve my writing.”
     
  • “The Freshman English110 class should not be a blanket course. The way we had the option to test into a higher language, we should have that option for English. My college prep in writing was much different than my classmates, while some of them really do need the practice using MLA citations and doing research, I don't believe I do, and could have benefited more from being in a more advanced class.”
     
  • “In classes, we are occasionally asked to submit and peer-review an essay before creating our final draft. I feel that implementing this process in the majority of our classes would help us complete better final products. Personally, I am always more happy with my paper if I have done more than one draft of it.”
     
  • “Going back to basics - it is often times difficult to attempt to improve students' writing skills if they are starting without the fundamental knowledge and writing tools necessary. Without a substantial foundation, it is impossible to go any further with writing skills. I think that going back to what makes good writing skills good (vocabulary, sentence structure, etc.) will help students. I also think that students need a course within their major department to learn about how the writing style is in that department. For example, a lab report, a research paper in the arts and sciences, and a grant proposal are all different types of writing - there either needs to be one course that covers all of those types or a course within each academic department for students to learn how they are expected to write in that particular field.”
     
  • “I think it would be helpful to have in class writing center help for big papers.”
     
  • “Keep investing in the students. Improving programs like the writing center and the student professional have been great steps so far.”
     
  • “Don't just give back grades - give feedback. I feel that students focus heavily on the grade portion of papers and essays, rather than truly thinking outside of the box and being creative in their writing. In my former university, I took the standard freshman writing course, and had a professor who would do this with rough drafts of essays. Students would have to turn a complete rough draft of the paper, and he would schedule meetings with students to discuss their writing and how to improve it. Although individual meetings may be outside practical time constraints, comments on how to improve writing style sent back in a word document could be a great way for a professor to to help a student's writing. Another suggestion I have is to focus on the broader scope of writing. Although academic writing is an extremely important skill to learn, writing takes several different shapes now - not just in the traditional reports or essays now. Considering questions like 'How do you prepare students for an employer that wants you to write a blog post, or a tweet?' or ' How do students effectively write for digital messages?'  Although it doesn't have to be a large portion of the class - I think it's a practical situation that a lot of students will encounter in their future employers.”
     
  • “I think it would be beneficial for students if you offer writing workshops throughout the year and having more than one student helper in the writing center. Students also are willing to come to things such as the writing center and programs if there are some incentives like extra credit from professors, drawings (that include some free stuff or phoenix cash and meal dollars).”
     
  • “While the Writing Center is great, the philosophy listed on their page explicitly says they are not an editing service (though they do mention editing under the "we offer" section). I think it'd be great to have a peer-editing program at Elon. Maybe similar to the Writing Center for students to drop by and have someone edit their paper for grammar, clarity, and word choice. I know WC is hesitant to do that because they don't want people dropping papers off and not learning from it/having someone else do the work, but maybe they could stay while the editor explained things to them. Or maybe not have a center at all, but have an strictly online service where people could send papers in and the editor would leave comments using Track Changes/Markup in Word, so that the student would have to go make the changes on their own. I think editing others' papers makes you a better writer yourself. What if you had a kind of e-net service where people were matched based on course/topic/length of paper and switch papers and are accountable for editing someone else's paper? Not sure if any of these ideas are practical but I do think Elon would benefit from an editing service in addition to the content service of the WC.”
     
  • “Emphasize the revision process. Too frequently I think a paper is handed in and then that is the end of the process. We should encourage students to review and revise assignments. That does not only mean editing structure and grammar, but also adding in new research and information when necessary.”
     
  • “The faculty and staff should encourage students to write about what you're passionate about and not be discouraged by setbacks or people telling you that you can't do it because everyone can write even if they think they can't.”
     
  • “I believe that something Elon could do to help improve student writing would be to not only include increase the number of hours available for the writing center, but also include the ability to set up personal appointments with a writing assistant due to the Elon lifestyle of being overly committed to activities.  It would also be nice to offer short talks about how to properly form a paper.”
     
  • “Professors can offer extended time for editing and correcting papers. This can be in the form of one-on-one meetings with professors to discuss writing. Or, even class time dedicated to peer review. This allows students to receive immediate feedback on their writing and better understand how to strengthen their skills.”
     
  • “-Require writing-intestive courses for freshman
    -Bring in authors to lecture students and discuss personal writing strategies
    -Encourage students to read more in their free time; better readers are better writers.
    -Teach 'em grammar n stuff”
     
  • “When discussing writing, any type of writing, professors or other stakeholders should impart the notion of audience. An audience determines the type, tone and style of writing. Too many people think that writing is boring and long, but that is not the case. Professors, etc., can showcase other styles of writing -- from cheeky blog posts to speeches, and explain why or why not the writing is effective. Have high standards -- mark off for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Many students think that a version of text-speak is ok -- it's not when writing an email or submitting an assignment. By doing this, even science students can realize that what they say is important, and that they can get their message across clearly and effectively, no matter how simple the sentence structure or words used. It's not about complexity, it's about effectively. Professors can also offer extra credit or other incentives to visit the Writing Center, speakers on campus, or other avenues where writing instruction or exposure would help them.”
     
  • “Host a "Writers' Symposium" at the end of each semester where students who have submitted outstanding writing over the semester can be honored. Professors could nominate students from their classes.”
     
  • “I recommend the Writing Excellence Initiative include an optional forum regarding Business Writing. I have been told by numerous business professors that we are not adequately prepared for the concise writing style used in business. Our only course in which we have briefly learned this is Business Communications, which most of us took as a sophomore.”

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SUGGESTIONS POSTED MARCH 11, 2013 (Total Suggestions - 3)

  • “Improve the writing center and make it a place for students to get relevant help.”
     
  • “Elon could offer 1 day where they bring in professionals (either over Skype or in person) that are specific to students majors.  These professionals could speak frankly about the writing skills they use on a day to day basis and what their writing experiences have taught them in their profession.  This day could either coincide with SURF day, or Reading Day, but students will get to hear what SPECIFIC skills they should hone before applying to jobs.”
     
  • “I believe that freshman college writing classes should make each freshman go to the writing center prior to submitting their papers. This important step will allow each student to have one to one interaction with an excellent writer.  I am sure this will improve students grammar, word choice, creativity, and organization. Finally, I am able to say this because my writing improved every time I stopped at the writing center.”