At the Writing Center, professional consultants—teachers of college writing and writers themselves—work collaboratively with students to deepen their writing and English language skills. Through this work, we support undergraduate and graduate students across the disciplines, helping them to understand their audience’s expectations, to see writing as a process, to develop their own voices, to organize and communicate their ideas, and to advocate for the support they need. We also collaborate with faculty and program directors to develop teaching resources that facilitate active learning and promote inclusive, effective, and anti-racist writing instruction.
Individualized support encourages students to ask questions, to take risks, and to become more independent, confident, and versatile writers. Our core service is a 50-minute, one-to-one session, and our conversational, dynamic approach allows us to listen as actively as we speak and to structure sessions around students’ own priorities. One-to-one sessions also provide an ideal space for Baruch students to work on language acquisition; our pedagogy harnesses students’ multilinguality by encouraging them to use all of their language resources when drafting and revising.
Developing long-term skills
Our teaching prioritizes both “transfer”—helping students see how their current project can guide them in future writing—and disciplinary specificity. With these priorities in mind, we’ve designed lesson plans for 20+ skill-focused workshops, presented in classrooms and as standalone events, which scaffold each stage of learning: reading and analyzing models to extract key moves, practicing those strategies collectively, and then applying the broader skill to their own writing. We also create and collect writing guides that support independent work. In one-to-one sessions and small groups, we help students build the habits of mind that support long-term learning, including curiosity, engagement, and metacognition.
Supporting reflective teaching
Teachers are learners too, and we take a reflective, research-informed approach to pedagogy to ensure our practices align with our principles. We partner with colleagues in the Division of Teaching and Learning to offer pedagogical support to faculty across the disciplines. We see our student services—from individual sessions to in-class workshops—as a collaboration with faculty on writing instruction, and we end each session by writing a short reflection that students can share with their instructors. Recognizing that all writers need a reader, consultants seek feedback and support from each other on their own writing, which in turn helps them approach students with empathy during the often stressful process of revision. We also share our teaching strategies and reflections in our journal of staff writing.
Meeting students where they are
We continually adapt our teaching strategies in response to our students’ needs. At Baruch, this means reconsidering longstanding Writing Center practices with approaches from applied linguistics, TESOL, anti-racist and radical pedagogy, business communication studies, and writing in the disciplines. We see academic support as key to making college more accessible to all students, and we aim for a universal design approach to resources and services.
Encouraging creative inquiry
Students thrive when they are motivated to pursue genuine lines of inquiry—when their writing helps both them and their readers understand something new. To support and highlight student research, we meet regularly with writers of theses and captones, and we publish a journal of students’ scholarly writing, The Lexington Review.