Founded in 1934, the University of Iowa’s Writing Center is one of the oldest and largest writing centers in the country. Our mission is to help those we work with become stronger readers, writers, and critical thinkers. Each year we provide approximately 9000 hours of one-on-one writing instruction to 4000 UI students, faculty and staff. Every semester a staff of 20-25 graduate student instructors and 6-10 undergraduate tutors provide approximately 220 hours a week of one-on-one consultations at the main Center (110 EPB) and at satellite centers across campus.
The Writing Center is unique in terms of its grounding in and dedication to research, the number of students it serves, the broad reach of its operations across all disciplines and colleges, and in the fact that it provides professional development for both graduate and undergraduate student tutors. A central part of the Writing Center's mission is to promote teaching with writing to facilitate and consolidate student learning and to provide students with as many opportunities as possible to build their writing skills.
The Writing Center supports student success and retention by providing one-on-one consultations on any kind of writing project. We see undergraduate students from every discipline, from students enrolled in their first Rhetoric course to seniors working on capstone projects. Approximately 25% of our consultations are with graduate students working on dissertations, or postgraduate researchers working on manuscripts for publication. In addition to course assignments, we provide feedback on emails, personal statements, cover letters, scholarship and job application materials, and creative writing. Our emphasis is on writing instruction (not editing).
We support at-risk populations through our Writing for Academic Success program, and satellite centers, as well as through partnerships with the Center for Diversity and Enrichment, Gerdin Athletic Center, and the College of Nursing. Approximately 15% of our clients are multilingual second language writers.
The Writing Center supports undergraduate student career development and leadership training through a competitive Writing Fellows program which trains students in the Honors Program to become Writing Fellows and undergraduate tutors. Writing Fellows are required to take a three semester hour course, Writing Theory and Practice.
The Writing Center supports the professional development of graduate students through our Teaching in the Writing Center course which prepares graduate students to work in the Writing Center and introduces them to scholarship in the field of writing studies. Graduate students have contributed to research projects based in the Writing Center, used the Writing Center as a research site, and gone on to careers as writing studies scholars and writing center or writing across the curriculum program directors.
We support writing across the curriculum through the Institute for Teaching with Writing, individual consultations with faculty, and workshops on various aspects of incorporating writing into courses.
The Writing Center is the site of an active research program. Writing Center Director and Professor of Rhetoric Carol Severino’s research program is the only one in the US to combine scholarship from composition studies and applied linguistics to study issues in second language writing (SLW) by analyzing data collected in the Writing Center. Severino was a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador in 2008, and has served twice as an English Language Specialist for the US State Department in Honduras. In 2015, she keynoted the Latin American Writing Programs and Writing Centers Conference in Colombia and the Southern Illinois Writing Centers Consortium Conference. She serves on the editorial board of Journal of Second Language Writing and reviews for many other writing studies journals.
Individual consultations: Thirty to sixty minute in-person or videoconference appointments are available to all students, faculty and staff up to 8 pm, Monday to Thursday, and from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Fridays in the main Center (110 EPB). These include blocks of reserved appointments for specific groups of students at satellite centers in the Center for Diversity and Enrichment, the Gerdin Athletic Center, the Blank Honors Center, and the Main Library. We offer support for writing in Spanish through a partnership with the Division of World Languages and the Spanish Speaking and Writing Center.
Standing weekly meetings (Enrollment Program): Standing weekly meetings are available for students, faculty and staff with longer writing projects or concerns about writing. M-Th 9:30-3:30.
Document review: We offer written feedback on materials uploaded to our document review system. Available to all students, faculty, and staff.
Writing for Academic Success: This is a twice-a-week one-credit-hour tutorial with a writing center instructor for inexperienced or apprehensive first-or second-year undergraduate writers and readers.
Annual Dissertation Camp and year-round Write ON program supports graduate student writing. Funds are provided by the Graduate College and the Obermann Center.
Writing Fellows Program: Twenty to thirty Honors undergraduate students are assigned to work with instructors in approximately 12-15 courses per semester across campus. Writing Fellows provide students in these courses with written feedback on two writing assignments per semester, and also meet with students one-on-one for conferences. This is a collaboration with the Honors at Iowa Program.
Writing Across Campus: We work with faculty to promote writing across the curriculum through a biannual series of faculty workshops, our Teaching with Writing Obermann Group, and our Writing Across Campus newsletter.