SOLES Graduate Student Writing Center

begin quoteI was very out of practice in essay writing and the comments the writing center made on my papers were instrumental to my success in my first semester back to school.

Get to know more about the SOLES Graduate Student Writing Center, the services it offers, and its founder Dr. Heather Herrera, Assistant Dean of Assessment & Accreditation.

1. Tell us a little about you.
Hello, I am Dr. Heather Herrera, Assistant Dean of Assessment & Accreditation. In addition to being an administrator, I am an instructor. My background is in English Education and I have taught English composition for over 20 years. I have always enjoyed reading and writing and felt compelled to work with people who struggled with reading and writing, which is why no matter how demanding my administrative work might be, I always find a way to keep my teaching practice alive.
2.  Why did you start the SOLES Graduate Student Writing Center
I am grateful to say that the SOLES leadership, specifically our interim Dean Joi Spencer, saw a need to support graduate students with the demands of writing at a graduate level, which is qualitatively different from supporting undergraduate students. We knew that graduate students had new expectations in terms of genres and we knew that they had competing demands placed on their time, so our services had to be high quality and accommodate their schedules, which is why the center is staffed by professional academic editors and the writing center was started as a virtual space. 
3. What resources are available
The SOLES Graduate Student Writing Center offers free, professional-quality academic coaching, one-on-one conferencing and workshops such as "How to Write the Literature Review" or an end-of-the-semester writing bootcamp. We have also just begun providing writing coaching to faculty to support research publications.
4. How can the Writing Center help me with my program?
Regardless of a student's major, the writing coaches can help you develop confidence as writers and ease with the writing process and to learn the skills to produce clear and effective writing. Our philosophy is that graduate students are  emerging writers and with directed support we can help them successfully achieve their academic goals.
5. I am not sure my writing skills are good enough for graduate school.
Self doubt about writing is one of the things that the SOLES Graduate Student Writing Center is actively working to undo. As I said, we believe that the students we serve are emerging writers, so we take a directed and student-centered approach to help students improve and succeed. Part of being in graduate school is learning the rhetorical moves required for the discipline and the SOLES Graduate Student Writing Center will provide the knowledge students need to be successful writers in their specific fields.
6. How many papers total has the Writing Center corrected? 
Since we launched the Graduate Student Writing Center in spring of 2018, we've received over 1,000 submissions.
writing center video

Student Testimonials

"I cannot thank you enough for the thorough and thoughtful feedback. I truly feel that the writing center has been one of the most valuable resources in my graduate school education. Your feedback over the past couple of years has helped me to improve my writing immensely. Having been out of school for over a decade when I entered this program, I was nervous to write academic papers. You have helped me to bring clarity, strength, and professionalism to my writing. But most importantly you have increased my confidence as a writer and instilled in me a new passion. Please share this message with everyone at the writing center! You all are amazing and I am so grateful to have had all of your help! I graduate in a month and your tips and advice will stick with me! Thank you," Carolyn Winn.

"I really do appreciate everything you do at the writing center and I wanted to let you and your staff know that your support really helped me succeed this semester. I was very out of practice in essay writing and the comments the writing center made on my papers were instrumental to my success in my first semester back to school in 5 years.  Even beyond that, the comments and revisions helped me feel like I was qualified to stay in the program.  The direction and support from the writing center helped me hone in on parts of my writing that needed work and reminded me that I knew the content, I just needed help refining my writing and really helped boost my confidence in all my classes," Billy Piper.

"I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for your services. You take a very thoughtful approach to the feedback. I've learned SO MUCH! What on earth did I do before the writing center? Some of the edits I had no idea about prior to sending in papers. 

Thank you for the kind and thorough coaching. If you don't get emails like this often, know that the folks I am in class with rave about the good work you do," Kelly Sloan.


Corinna Lewis


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