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Writing Consultations

At the Writing Hub, we believe that every writer can benefit from supportive, personalized conversations about their ideas and works-in-progress. Our team of highly-trained peer consultants works with student writers from across campus, from nearly every department and discipline, to offer supportive readers' feedback and actionable writing strategies. 

We honor that every student brings a richness of experiences, perspectives, and ideas to their writing process. In consultations, our aims are to facilitate students' discovery of and confidence in their own insights and their own voice, while also providing writing strategies that can transfer across different projects/courses and grow students' self-efficacy as writers, as thinkers, and as members of our academic community. 

What Students Say

Consultations help students develop their thinking about writing, while also giving feedback on works-in-progress. 

How It Works

We give students agency throughout the consultation process, from choosing which consultant they want to work with, to booking their own appointments, and setting the priorities for their consultation session. We use an online scheduling system specifically designed for writing centers, MyWCOnline, to organize consultation appointments. 

To make an appointment:

  • Visit ucsd.mywconline.com
  • Register for an account (first-time users only) and/or log in
  • Select the applicable consultation schedule (undergraduate vs. graduate)
  • See which consultants are available, click on an available slot, and fill out the pop-up appointment form. 
  • That's it!

Book appointments up to 2 weeks in advance, and we usually have plenty of same-day appointments available! Undergraduate students can make up to 4 30-minute consultation appointments per week. Graduate students can make 30- or 60-minute appointments, and up to 2 hours of consultation per week. 

Our Approach

The Writing Hub’s consultation model facilitates student success through collaborative dialogue, metacognitive questioning, and strategy acquisition. Below, we detail how deep learning, metacognition, high-impact practices, rhetoric and composition theory, and writing center theory and practice all inform the Writing Hub’s tutoring model.

Deep Learning

Deep Learning: Writing Hub peer-to-peer consultations are designed to be highly interactive learning environments that prompt deep learning experiences. Writing has consistently been linked to deep learning—learning that reflects personal investment and efforts to synthesize, contextualize, and reproduce material in meaningful ways (Laird, Shoup, & Kuh, 2005). Deep learning (and in particular, deep learning through writing) has been associated with more positive learning experiences, higher rates of transfer, and a higher likelihood of student academic success (Ramsden, 2003; Addison & McGee, 2010).

Consultants are trained to not only help students identify issues in their writing, but to guide students through a process of finding solutions to those issues for themselves. In helping students find solutions, Writing Hub Consultants utilize a strategies-based approach that helps students synthesize past writing experiences, course content, and writing knowledge. As a result, students remain in control of their own writing and learning, and consultations generate robust opportunities for students to engage meaningfully with their own learning experiences.

Metacognition

Metacognition serves as the basis for the questioning tactics employed by Writing Hub Consultants during their sessions. Metacognition is the ability to cultivate awareness, regulate, and direct one’s own cognitive processes, a capacity that correlates with academic success and deeper learning (How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures, 2018). Substantial research has linked metacognition and writing (Hacker, Keener, & Kircher, 2009; Negretti, 2012; Gorzelsky et al., 2016). As students write, they grapple with their own thinking on paper, and the Writing Hub serves to help students develop awareness of this thinking and unite it with strategies for successful composition and revision.

Metacognition in a Writing Hub consultation is twofold: 1) Consultants must cultivate awareness of their own thought processes and observations while interacting with student writing, and 2) they must probe students’ thinking about their writing choices to help students find and understand solutions for tackling writing issues. Consultants aim to help students with not only the drafts they bring to the Writing Hub, but to support them long-term as writers and learners that are able to monitor and assess their learning goals.

High-Impact Practices

High-Impact Practices (HIPs), are learning experiences that require significant time and personal engagement, entail routine dialogue with peers and faculty, and lead to measurable gains in personal and academic development (Kuh, 2008). HIPs typically support students by:

  • Providing students with frequent contact with faculty, peers, and material
  • Offering learning opportunities in active, engaging, and culturally-diverse settings
  • Offering regular and continuous feedback
  • Creating space for synthesis and application of new and existing knowledge 

Our conversation-based approach creates active, student-centered learning experiences. One-on-one consultations prompt students to engage in dialogue about their course content with peers from diverse social, linguistic, and disciplinary backgrounds. In consultations, students learn to problem-solve their writing by imagining the perspectives of diverse readers and engage in ongoing conversation to clarify and synthesize their knowledge. Rather than experiencing writing as a unidirectional relationship with instructors or advisors, where students submit work and faculty/TAs return comments and an assessment, students who use Writing Hub services interact dynamically with their thinking about their writing, drawing on their previous writing experiences, instructor guidance, and peer feedback to make writing decisions. 

 

Rhetoric + Composition

Rhetoric and Composition: All of the Writing Hub’s services are also informed by contemporary scholarship in rhetoric and composition. The Writing Hub’s broad orientation to writing draws significantly from social-cognitive theories of writing (Flower, 1994; Portanova, Rifenberg, & Roen, 2018) and emphasizes the role of language identity in shaping writing experiences (Baker-Bell, 2020; Ruiz, 2016). These key tenets illustrate that writing is a situated, social, and context-bound experience, and all Writing Hub consultations respond to this understanding.

In their sessions, writing consultants are expected to draw on their theoretical knowledge of composition and language learning to guide students through diagnosing writing issues and cultivating strategies for revision. By synthesizing broader theoretical understandings of composition with awareness of linguistic diversity and students’ individual writing and language histories, writing consultants provide individualized support that is informed, empathetic, and actionable.

Writing Center Theory + Practice

Writing Center Theory + Practice: The Writing Hub’s peer-based tutoring model likewise reflects the most recent trends in writing center scholarship by supporting diverse learners from a range of linguistic, cultural, racial, and differently abled backgrounds (Babcock & Daniels, 2017; Denny, Nordlof, & Salem, 2018; Greenfield & Rowan, 2011) and prioritizing a global understanding of language. Consultants are encouraged to interact with contemporary, radical perspectives on writing center practice (Greenfield, 2019) and explore how their work reflects and connects to the broader writing center community. 

Throughout their sessions, writing consultants prioritize foundational writing center perspectives, including:

  • Understanding writing as a process.
  • Recognizing writing as a social, rhetorical, and knowledge-making activity.
  • Valuing writing relationships outside of the teacher-student relationship.
  • Prioritizing students’ long-term development as writers.
  • Believing that all writers learn from and with knowledgeable peers.

References

Addison, J. & McGee, S.J. (2010). Writing in high school/writing in college: Research trends and future directions. College Composition and Communication, 62(1), pp. 147-179. 

Babcock, R.D. & Daniels, S. (2017). Writing Centers and Disability. Southlake, TX: Fountainhead Press. 

Baker-Bell, A. (2020). Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy. New York, NY: NCTE/Routledge. 

Brownell, J.E. & Swaner, L.E. (2009). High-impact practices: Applying the learning outcomes literature to the development of successful campus programs. Peer Review, 11(2), pp. 26-30.

Denny, H., Nordlof, J., & Salem, L. (2018). “Tell me exactly what it was that I was doing that was so bad”: Understanding the needs and expectations of working-class students in writing centers. The Writing Center Journal, 37(1), pp. 67-100. 

Finley, A. & McNair, T. (2013). Assessing Underserved Students’ Engagement in High-Impact Practices: Assessing Equity in High-Impact Practices Toolkit. Association of American Colleges and Universities. 

Flower, L. (1994). The Construction of Negotiated Meaning: A Social Cognitive Theory of Writing. Carbondale, IL: University of Southern Illinois Press. 

Gorzelsky, G., Driscoll, D.L., Paszek, J., Jones, E., & Hayes, C. (2016). Cultivating constructive metacognition: A new taxonomy for writing studies. In Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer, Anson, C.M. & Moore, J.L. (Eds). The WAC Clearinghouse: University Press of Colorado.

Greenfield, L. (2019). Radical Writing Center Praxis: A Paradigm for Ethical Political Engagement. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press. 

Greenfield, L. & Rowan, K. (Eds.). (2011). Writing Centers and the New Racism: A Call for Sustainable Dialogue and Change. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press. 

Hacker, D.J., Keener, M.C., & Kircher, J.C. (2009). Writing is applied metacognition. In Handbook of Metacognition in Education, Hacker, D.J., Dunlosky, J., & Graesser, A.C. (Eds.). New York, NY: Routledge. 

Hacker, D.J., Dunlosky, J., & Graesser, A.C. (Eds). (2009). Handbook of Metacognition in Education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Kuh, G. (2008). High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter. Association of American Colleges and Universities. 

Laird, T.F., Shoup, R., & Kuh, G. (2005). Deep learning and college outcomes: Do fields of study differ? Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Institutional Research. 

Murray, A. (2015). Academic libraries and high-impact practices for student retention: Library deans’ perspectives. Libraries and the Academy, 15(3), pp. 471-487. 

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2018). How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Negretti, R. (2012). Metacognition in student academic writing: A longitudinal study of metacognitive awareness and its relation to task perception, self-regulation, and evaluation of performance. Written Communication, 29(2), 142–179. 

Portanova, P., Rifenberg, J. M., & Roen, D. (2018). Contemporary Perspectives on Cognition and Writing. The WAC Clearinghouse: University Press of Colorado.

Ramsden, P. (2003). Learning to Teach in Higher Education (2nd ed.). New York, NY: RoutledgeFalmer. 


Ruiz, I. D. (2016). Reclaiming Composition for Chicano/as and Other Ethnic Minorities: A Critical History and Pedagogy. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Want to Know More?

Check out our Consultant Education page, or reach out to us at writinghub@ucsd.edu