The University Writing Center (UWC) now offers free writing support for all UT graduate students. The UWC has worked with undergraduates for many years, and generous support from the Office of Graduate Studies and the College of Liberal Arts enabled the center to begin welcoming graduate students in Fall 2016. The UWC’s mission is to empower graduate students by helping them develop professional writing practices and reminding them that they are not alone as they face the challenges of graduate-level writing. In addition, the UWC is working to open up a campus-wide conversation about graduate writing support by collaborating with faculty, administrators, and organizations including the Graduate Students Assembly, the Libraries, the Center for Faculty Innovation, and the Counseling and Mental Health Center. Research shows that graduate students become more productive and feel more confident about writing when they work in communities that provide encouragement, structure, and support. The UWC offers this support through one-on-one consultations, writing groups, retreats, events, presentations, and a library of resources.
The UWC provides free one-on-one consultations for all graduate students. During a consultation, you’ll meet with a trained consultant for 45 minutes to discuss strategies for moving forward with a writing project. The UWC works with writers at all stages of the process, from research and brainstorming to final editing. Consultants can also help to address general concerns, such as managing time, overcoming procrastination, or communicating with advisors. Writers can bring drafts of any project, such as a dissertation chapter or course paper; you are also welcome to meet with a consultant even if you do not yet have a draft written. UWC consultants are postdoctoral fellows and advanced graduate students in diverse disciplines. They do not edit or evaluate students’ drafts; instead, they ask guiding questions to help students clarify the expectations of the project, look for main concerns to focus on in revision, and suggest resources that can help students to continue revising on their own. To learn more and schedule a consultation, visit uwc.utexas.edu.
The UWC offers a variety of weekly writing groups led by postdoctoral fellows. In Sustained Writing groups, writers check in on their progress toward writing goals and spend an hour or two writing quietly together. In Peer Workshop groups, writers exchange constructive feedback on drafts. In Writing Skills for International Students, Writing Your Dissertation, and Writing Your Journal Article, writers complete readings and guided discussions to learn about specific writing topics such as composing literature reviews, managing citations, and explaining the significance of your research.
The UWC schedules monthly Saturday writing retreats where graduate students can gather for a full day of sustained writing in a quiet, supportive space. 65 writers from 36 different disciplines participated in the most recent retreat on October 15. Retreat participants begin by setting writing goals for the day, then work quietly in 45-minute blocks from 9 to 5. Writers also have the option to meet with a writing consultant or browse display tables of resources. To find out more and register for the UWC’s upcoming retreats on November 12 and December 3, visit the “Events” page at uwc.utexas.edu.
Upcoming workshops at the UWC include Navigating Your Dissertation Process, Time Management for Scholars, and Writing Articles for Publication. The UWC also hosts collaborative events with other campus organizations like the GSA, Scholars Commons, and Libraries. For example, in January 2017, UWC consultants will team up with media services staff to help graduate students prepare short presentations for an international “Three-Minute Thesis” competition.
The UWC offers several presentations designed for graduate students, including Making the Transition to Graduate Writing, Starting a Writing Group, and Writing Your Dissertation. UWC presenters can visit your graduate class or informal group, and you can also schedule a visit to the UWC’s space in PCL 2.330. Grad students who teach undergraduate classes can also request a UWC presentation or invite presenters to lead in-class workshops on peer review and revision.
The UWC’s Graduate Services site (uwc.utexas.edu/graduate-students) includes a list of online handouts and resources for graduate writers. In addition, writers are welcome to visit PCL 2.330 and browse the UWC’s in-house library of print resources, such as citation manuals, handbooks for ESL writers, and guides to writing in specific disciplines.
For more information on the UWC’s graduate services, please visit uwc.utexas.edu, call the front desk at 512-471-6222, or visit PCL 2.330.