1. You Must Accompany Your Paper
All consultations happen with the writer present. Consultants talk (or chat online) with you about your goals for the writing and your plans for revision, so your participation in the session is integral. Consultants will not discuss your paper (content, structure, grammar, etc.) with anyone but you - unless you are present and willing to invite other voices into the conversation about your piece.
2. Consultations Have Time Limits
Consultations should last for 30 minutes. This time frame helps you and the consultant stay focused on your concerns for the draft and your plans for revision. As you'll see, a lot can happen in 30 minutes!
- Drop-In Consultations: 30 min
- Undergraduate Appointment Consultations: 30 min
- Graduate Appointment Consultation: 50 min
- ESL Appointment (Undergraduate or Graduate) Consultations: 50 min
3. Students Are Allowed Two Consultations Per Day
Writers may have two consultations per day. Consultations are meant to empower you to do your own writing/revising, and sessions are focused on giving you feedback to consider as you continue writing on your own. We want to ensure you apply what you learned in a session to make changes to your writing before working with multiple consultants. The center tends to be a busy place, so this policy also enables as many students to get appointment slots or drop-in support as possible.
4. Consultants Are Here To Help You Write Your Paper
Though you may come in looking for editorial support, consultants are trained to help you proofread your own paper - that means the consultant won't fix your paper for you; instead, they will guide you through the process of revising/crafting your own work based on tips they've learned along the way as writers or based on what you need as a writer. Additionally, consultants will be able to help you with much more than just proofreading or editing your paper! The Writing Center can help with any stage of the writing process - that includes brainstorming topics, integrating research, planning and organizing the structure of your piece, revising on a large scale (i.e. changing your topic) and on a small scale (i.e. rewording a sentence), offering a new perspective as a reader/audience, challenging ideas in your argument through kind discussion, and much more!
5. Consultants Do Not Grade Papers
Because they are not professors, consultants will not grade your writing or tell you that the writing is "finished" and ready for submission. As experienced readers, trained responders, and good writers themselves, they have many useful suggestions for you to consider when revising, but these suggestions should not be interpreted as "grading" your writing.
6. The Take-Home Exam: We Can't Do It For You
Many professors expect that students complete take-home exams without assistance from anyone. If you have been specifically told to do the work on your own, we would like to uphold your professor's request, and relinquish the opportunity to support you. However, unless you've been specifically warned, you are welcome to bring in a take-home exam/quiz/final project and receive assistance NOT on the content of your answers. but on the clarity of your words. Our policy, however, is to automatically send the session notes from your consultation to your professor. They will receive a receipt of the session notes in their email.
7. Consultations Are For You - But You Can Share Them With Your Professor
We hope that writers come to the Writing Center when they want help, but we recognize that sometimes there are other people involved in deciding whether writers need more help or not; therefore, if for any reason you need to share your visit with your professor or an advisor or a coach, just tell your consultant at the end of the consultation. All consultations end with Session Notes (these help you keep track of what you accomplished and what you plan to continue regarding your writing), and they can be emailed to anyone you wish (as long as you have the email).
Writing Center Policy on Working with AI-Assisted Writing Tools
As AI-assisted writing tools (such as ChatGPT, Bard, CoPilot, etc.) gain popularity, they will be increasingly used in writing for college courses. As such, the GVSU writing center policy on AI-assisted writing focuses on two aspects:
- Regardless of your writing process, whatever paper/project you work on with a writing consultant, we want to help you make it better
- Writing Consultants are happy to assist you with AI-writing related tasks (such as prompt engineering, integrating ideas, citation, etc.)
As with any emerging debate, the Writing Center position on AI-assisted writing may continue to change along with the technology and its use.
Always check with your faculty, department, and/or discipline if you are unsure of whether you are allowed to use this technology. That said, this new technology has many applications for writers and the Writing Center is happy to assist you in using AI software in your work.