Principles for Consultants

  • Our aim is to improve individual writers, not individual pieces of writing. Nearly all suggestions and strategies should be useful for future writing situations.
  • We see writing as a series of choices and encourage writers to take responsibility for those choices. Therefore, we do not write on or otherwise correct a visitor’s paper.
  • We view writing problems as solvable. We offer encouragement and information, such as handbooks and dictionaries, to help writers solve their own problems and become more skilled in the process.
  • We teach by identifying patterns of error and manageable points of revision. We set priorities for each consultation based largely on the writer’s needs and concerns.
  • We help writers analyze assignments and recognize disciplinary writing conventions in order that they become more flexible writers within academia and beyond.
  • We assist writers by being readers and listeners. In doing so, we offer feedback on how an audience makes sense of the choices a writer has made.
  • We encourage visitors to write and talk during a consultation. In this way, visitors can practice a writing task with a consultant's support
  • We do not speculate about the grade a writer may earn, nor do we discuss previously earned grades. Our position further prohibits negative comments about instructors, methods, assignments, personalities, or grading policies.
  • We strive to offer models of good prose in our own written and oral communication.