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Mission & Philosophy

The Writing Center of Eastern Illinois University is a place where students can develop as writers and thinkers. We recognize that student writers come to the center with individual needs and individual writing processes, and we are committed to working with students from all disciplines, majors, and academic backgrounds at any stage of the writing process.

We work with writers to craft documents such as academic essays, lab reports, résumés, term papers, cover letters, memoranda, and professional reports. And our system of one-to-one consulting sessions demonstrates our value and respect for individual writers, all of whom can benefit from feedback about their works in progress.

Writing consultants engage in conversations with students about their writing in an open, non-evaluative manner that not only supports students producing stronger writing but also fosters each student's development as a more efficient, critical, and effective writer. To support this aim, consultants at the writing center collaborate with writers to help them discover and organize their ideas, assist them in producing effective and cogent support for them, and offer advice on effective methods for revising and editing their work.

The writing center is a place where students can learn to be more thoughtful and rhetorically effective writers. This free resource for students not only exemplifies the idea of peers grappling with their works in progress, but the writing center also represents the idea of writers in progress.

In addition, the EIU Writing Center is part of the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA) and the Midwest Writing Centers Association (MWCA). Our center espouses the ideas set forth by Jeanne Simpson (the first Director of the EIU Writing Center) in her "Statement on Professional Concerns" published in The Writing Center Journal in 1985, which is provided below.

The National Writing Centers Association offers the following basic guidelines for operating a writing center:

  1. Because writing is a skill used in all subjects and at all levels of the educational process, a writing center should be considered a support service for the entire institution rather than simply for a single department. Although the budget and staff of a writing center may come from a single department, the mission of the center and its constituencies should encompass the entire institution.
  2. Regardless of its organization and design, a writing center should be based on the idea of individualized instruction. Therefore, materials and methods chosen for writing centers should be adjusted to individual needs.
  3. Access to the writing center should not be limited by a student's level of preparation or physical capabilities.
  4. The writing center should have instructional goals that are clearly understood by tutors and students.
  5. Writing center records should provide for continuity of instruction regardless of how its staff is organized.
  6. A writing center should have clearly stated, consistent, and ethical principles to guide its tutors. The National Writing Centers Association suggests the following:
  • Tutors should be provided clear explanations of writing center procedures.
  • Tutors should neither directly nor indirectly offer criticism of a teacher's assignments, methods, or grading practices.
  • Tutors should be given guidelines for defining acceptable and unacceptable intervention in a student's writing process.

For a link to this position statement: http://writingcenters.org/positionstatement.htm

Also, here is a link to "The Concept of Writing Center" from the IWCA: http://writingcenters.org/slate.htm