Mission, Vision, Values, & Services

Here at the Fred Meijer Center for Writing, we hold our mission, vision, and values at the forefront of all that we do; view the drop-down menu on the right to learn more about our mission, vision, and value statements.

To learn more about what we do, see "The Consulting Work" below, or contact us!

The Fred Meijer Center for Writing & Michigan Authors provides all university writers with the resources and services they need to meet their writing goals. The center offers a wide variety of programming to students, faculty and staff--such as in-class writing support (WRT 098/150 and SWS courses where consultants work individually or with groups of students), faculty/staff writing retreats (time and space in which to write, facilitated by a writing coach), workshops (on a variety of topics), and writing groups (opportunities for writers to get and give feedback on drafts in small groups). However, the hallmark of the center's work is the one-to-one consultation facilitated by a trained peer-writing consultant. Sessions can act as a tutorial or pedagogical moment, but each consultation functions as collaborative, intellectual exchange.

Undergraduate and graduate students are trained via a two-day orientation, a one-credit academic course, and ongoing trainings throughout the academic year. During training, they learn to ask the writer questions in an effort to understand the writer's goals for a piece of writing, the parameters of the assignment, and the writer's questions or concerns about the draft. Additionally, consultants are trained to read rhetorically, meaning that consultants "say back" what the piece of writing is about and how it is structured, in order to provide a way for the student to think metacognitively about the writing and reflectively about his or her writing process. In cases where a student does not yet have a draft, the consultant can facilitate pre-writing activities to help the writer generate ideas for the assignment. Later in the writing process, consultants employ activities to help the writer revise and edit the text. Every session ends with the writer devising a plan for revision. The goal of these writing consultations is to help writers help themselves--not just with that single piece of writing, but also to become better writers overall.

We view Grand Valley as a community of writers, all with their own writing processes, purposes, and goals. The center should enable students, faculty, and staff to achieve their writing goals and become full participants in our campus community as well as in larger academic, professional, and global contexts.

The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors is founded on the principle that writing is a social act and that a writer’s peers – whether undergraduate, graduate, or faculty/staff – can, with proper training and support, provide a writer with valuable writing assistance. Therefore, we value:

1. Process

Just as Grand Valley strives for excellence, the The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors values time and space for writers to practice the writing process; we believe this perspective is essential to a writer’s confidence and personal success in writing. We train our writing consultants, therefore, with the skills and knowledge necessary to approach writing from a process-oriented mindset so as to pass that perspective on to other writers and fellow thinkers. Through this value, the center hopes to be an instrumental resource for our clients to become more intentional writers.

2. Dignity

The center greatly values the dignity of all who enter our space, use our services, and/or work for our center. We aim to not only respect the dignity of others, but also promote and nurture the dignity that may yet be acknowledged in an individual. By valuing dignity, we hope to maintain the integrity of writers, their peers, and their sources of expert perspective (i.e. academic citations, formatting, and audience expectations). Our writing consultants, therefore, are trained to embody the liberal education components of dialogue and collaboration, which require empathy, constructive positive feedback, and respect toward the writer and their identified needs and goals. By aligning ourselves with this desired framework, it is essential that the center stay grounded in this value of dignity.

3. Curiosity

The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors aims to create a safe environment for the free exchange of ideas. We ground much of our consulting work not only in theory, research, and the field’s best practices, but also in curiosity, inquiry, and critical thinking. We ask that our consultants learn respectful strategies for supporting writers in their quest for new knowledge. We take on the responsibility to support writers in their acquisition of descriptive, declarative, and procedural knowledge; therefore, we promote active and engaged curiosity at all levels of the writing process for consultants and authors.

4. Inclusiveness

The center aligns itself with Grand Valley in valuing all identities, perspectives, and backgrounds and aims to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone who enters. We employ students from multiple disciplines, language backgrounds, educational experiences, and personal cultures – not only for the purposes of supporting the interdisciplinary nature of writing, but also to promote and grow an inclusive and diverse community of writers, thinkers, and members.

5. Community

In the same way that we aim for inclusiveness, the center actively promotes community in all aspects of our work – community in an individualized consultation, community at our locations, community online, and collaborative communities on campus. At the university level, the center functions as an intellectual contact zone, where students can discuss, challenge, and respond to feedback from trained peer consultants. By creating a space where all writers are encouraged to engage with their peers, the center champions creating communities on local and global scales. One of the essential features to building community is empathy, which includes an attention to listening, judgment free consulting styles, adaptable strategies and practices, and awareness and acknowledgement of one’s personal and subjective biases. Through empathy, the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors aims to build a healthy community full of independent, active thinkers with the drive to promote the love of writing beyond our physical spaces.

6. Empowerment

The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors considers power to be an instrumental feature in one’s belief of their own capacity to approach, complete, and succeed in any writing project; therefore, the center values our role in the empowerment of emerging, practiced, or expert writers. Through our pedagogically sound consulting techniques, consultants provide writers with the time and space to celebrate success, identify concerns, develop helpful strategies, and grow a personalized voice and style so as to continue the writing process beyond the walls of the Writing Center. We make it our mission to be a supportive place and service for writers, who want or need to acknowledge and grow their own agency over any writing project or future writing goal.

7. Adaptability

Through our innovative collaborative efforts and our critical awareness of our clients’ needs, The Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors hopes to pin adaptability at the forefront of our mission and of our daily work. Not only do we orient every individual consultation toward each writer’s own specific needs and goals, we focus on adapting our training, practices, and services to the constant evolving qualities and identities of our clients. Additionally, we aim to adapt to changing technology needs, student expectations, and evolving university goals. The center offers multiple avenues of writing support to serve the campus community, which include face-to- face consultations, online consultations, group consultations, classroom support, electronic resources, and multiple locations at our various GVSU campuses.


The Consulting Work

Our writing consultants can not only help you wherever you are, but they are also trained to assist you during any stage of the writing process, including:

  • Brainstorming and selecting a topic
  • Understanding your assignment
  • Navigating and interpreting professor feedback
  • Considering your audience and what expectations they have
  • Organizing your ideas and structuring your paper
  • Crafting an argument, message, theme, or story
  • Integrating sources and considering their effectiveness
  • Revising, editing, and formatting your work
  • Learning how to use and perform different citation styles
  • Clarifying your message and editing your language

A consultant and a student working together

One-To-One Support

Writing consultants are trained to facilitate conversation about your writing at any stage of the process, whether in person or online. They ask deep questions about a variety of topics related to you and your assignment, process, and goals. Staying true to a socratic method, they support you in exercising critical thinking skills so you may know more about why you're making choices about your project. Also, they have great advice. Consultants are successful students, and they're very aware of how they learned to succeed. In one-to-one sessions, they can help you find the answers in resources online or in text. 

Classroom Support

Consultants are embedded in every section of WRT 150. In this setting, they work alongside students and professors to better support the portfolio crafting process. Typically, consultants are invited into the lab setting, where they develop a style that works best with the instructor and the students (can include, but not limited to: having mini-meetings with students, managing a sign-up sheet for support, wandering the room and providing extemporaneous support, etc.).

Group Facilitation

Writing consultants are trained to facilitate small writing groups, which are made up of individuals writing group papers together, conducting peer review, or are working through brainstorming topics together. These sessions can occur in a workshop model -- where consultants come to your class for small group work. This also translates to the ways in which consultants are prepared to support group writing projects. Sometimes, teams of writers have to produce one project collaboratively, and they may come to one of our locations or meet online and work with one consultant at that time. 


Specialized Support

Sometimes writers need more specific help than what can be happen during one of our staple services. The Writing Center, therefore, offers some unique services for these specific communities. To learn more, please click the pics below!

 

 

 

Have other questions? Contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible!