Faculty FAQ

What does the WORD Studio help students with?
Deciding on a thesis, developing ideas, strengthening organization and transitions, using and citing sources, deciding on research strategies, planning and rehearsing oral presentations, laying out visual projects (such as PowerPoints or handouts)—just to name a few areas. We are also happy to help students who want to improve their grammar and punctuation and can target specific problems they’re having in those areas; however, we do not see ourselves as “proofreaders” who are simply trying to “fix” students’ mistakes. We believe that if we simply copy-edit papers for students, they won’t really learn how to improve their writing themselves.

When should I recommend that a student visit the WORD Studio?
Whether it’s one of your best students or one who needs extra help, any student could benefit from feedback from a peer tutor. The earlier a student comes in the assignment process, the more useful feedback will be. Stress to your students that, for example, coming to the Studio at 8:30 a.m. with a paper that is due at 9:00 will only lead to a conference that’s rushed and frustrating for both tutor and tutee.

Why should students come to you instead of to me?
Sometimes students are intimidated by professors—even though we know how nice you really are! A student might want to get a first read from a peer tutor to fix major problems before submitting a draft to you for your feedback. Also, while students aren’t always able to make your office hours, we’re open 75 hours a week, including early mornings, late nights, and Sundays.

Who will be working with my students in the WORD Studio?
Sophomores, juniors, and seniors from a variety of majors and minors who have been recommended by professors, submit writing samples, and test out their communication skills in both individual and group interviews. Tutors go through rigorous training each fall and reinforce that training in weekly meetings. In addition, all new tutors are now required to take a one-credit course, Rhetoric and Communication for Peer Mentors.

What are the guidelines for a conference?
We try to make conferences student-centered; therefore, tutors ask students what they are looking to improve in their papers and presentations, and the conference is usually based around that discussion. Tutors make suggestions only—we do not rewrite papers or presentations, nor can we guarantee what students ultimately do with our advice once they leave the Studio.

Will I be notified if a student comes for a conference?
Yes, you will receive a conference record form (what we call a “white slip”) in campus mail; we usually send out white slips at the end of each week. However, students are allowed to indicate that they don’t want you to receive a copy of the form, so occasionally you won’t receive any notification.

How can I be of help to the WORD Studio?
By contacting the WORD Studio ahead of time if you are requiring a large group of students to come for an assignment, by encouraging students to make appointments for oral presentation rehearsals, and by providing us with copies of assignments for our files so that we can review your expectations for your students.

How do I recommend a student to work in the WORD Studio?
Contact the Director, Karen Gibson at kgibson@stlawu.edu.