The Writing Fellows program at UNH is under review. Until further notice, the program is limited to graduate students. Based on a peer tutoring model, the Writing Fellows program assumes that students need time and collaboration to learn the conventions of disciplinary writing. It also assumes that a graduate Writing Fellow would be able to focus on writing in the context of the course more so than a TA or GA.
For more information on what Writing Fellows do, see below. To arrange work with a Writing Fellow in an upcoming course, click here.
What is a Writing Fellow?
A Writing Fellow is a graduate student trained to work with the students in a single course to help them become better writers. Usually Writing Fellows know the faculty member teaching the course and have expertise in the appropriate field. Fellows often hold individual writing conferences with students, help facilitate draft workshops in class, comment on student papers via email, and lead short in-class discussions on applicable topics. Writing Fellows are paid for the 3-5 hours per week that they work and gain invaluable experiences related to teaching and writing.
The Writing Programs have supported Writing Fellows in a variety of disciplines, including courses in Animal & Nutritional Sciences, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Health Management & Policy, History, Kinesiology, Management, Mechanical Engineering, Microbiology, Natural Resources, Occupational Therapy, Philosophy, Political Science, and Zoology, among others.
What are the benefits of working with a Writing Fellow?
Research in Composition Studies suggests that students need to collaborate in order to become better writers. That is, they need to converse with others – peers, faculty, readers – to understand what works and what might not work for their writing in a given rhetorical situation. Writing Fellows can help provide the kind of collaboration that students need in order to improve. Writing Fellows also serve as important, non-intimidating intermediaries by helping students understand instructors’ expectations.
Working with the Writing Fellows program has been great. For my students, it supports their development as writers and makes them more confident when they submit drafts to me. Plus, because my Writing Fellow helps students organize and craft their papers before I see them, I can focus on providing content-based feedback. This helps students write more solid second and third drafts, moves their understanding along earlier in the writing process, and saves grading time on my end.
Jayson Seaman, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology
What do Writing Fellows do?
Most Writing Fellows spend the bulk of their time meeting individually with students to help them understand assignments, revise effectively, and grasp the writing conventions of a discipline. In addition to conferencing, Writing Fellows may also lead small group discussions and help facilitate peer review workshops. The only thing Fellows are not allowed to do is grade or act in the capacity of unofficial TA: as soon as they became involved in formal assessment, their relationship with students would change dramatically.
What makes for a good a Writing Fellow?
Over the years, we’ve learned that successful Fellows share the following traits:
- They are trustworthy and get along well with the course instructor.
- They communicate effectively with peers and with the course instructor.
- They know what it means to write well for the discipline or field in question. They are familiar with the genres and writing conventions appropriate to that field.
- They recognize that they represent the course, instructor, and the university, and they handle themselves professionally and responsibly.
Will working with a Writing Fellow lighten my workload?
Not necessarily. Learning to integrate a Writing Fellow into your course can actually make for more work in the short term. After you’ve worked with a Fellow for awhile, your workload may lessen. But it’s important to keep in mind that a Writing Fellow’s primary purpose is to help students become better writers.
One particular girl came in for her first writing consultation with an average paper. She had some good ideas and her writing was ok, but she just wasn’t clear on how to write a business paper. She was receptive and told me where she felt she was struggling the most. She actually ended up coming in to see me for her second appointment and even made a third appointment to go over old papers just so she could have more feedback. Her papers improved, and some of my advice was really starting to make sense to her. She felt comfortable with me and trusted my advice and opinions enough to see me three times.
Kelly Muise, Writing Fellow