Our mission at the St. John's University Writing Center is to collaborate with writers across disciplines, levels of experience, and backgrounds at St. John’s, and to adapt our services as campus responds to COVID-19. We consider it our role to foster the diversity of writers and writing practices represented within our University community. Our philosophy is guided by a commitment to social justice and to the cultivation of equitable learning environments for people of all linguistic, racial, cultural, gender, and sexual identities. We work with all writers to develop and strengthen their critical thinking, rhetorical awareness, written expression, and writing processes.
Our Writing Center Consultants are undergraduate and graduate students of various majors trained to support writers across the five Colleges that make up St. John’s. As a community, our consultants work together to sustain collaborative learning practices both in and beyond face-to-face, e-tutoring and online writing consultations. Consultants also conduct their own research based on their work at the Writing Center, often presenting at regional and national conferences focused on composition and writing studies. With their leadership, the Writing Center continuously hosts tours, workshops, and collective writing events. Together, we aim to learn, stay in conversations, and engage in practices that enact our social justice initiatives.
The Writing Center’s primary responsibility is to support all University students, undergraduate and graduate, at every level of experience and with virtually all writing issues. Our consultants, hired on the basis of their writing ability as well as being active, empathetic listeners, foster a student-centered environment respectful of diverse literacy backgrounds. The Writing Center is fundamentally interdisciplinary; we strive to help all student writers, in all disciplines, become effective, confident writers and focused, critical readers. Our sessions typically involve any of the following: helping to interpret faculty assignments; brainstorming ideas; anticipating audience expectations and specific rhetorical situations; organizing ideas; suggesting possible directions for revision; strategies for editing and proofreading; and formatting and documenting evidence. We’re here for all clients--from freshmen working on first-year writing portfolios, to students writing personal statements for graduate school, to graduate students working on a thesis. Clients and faculty are welcome to use our resources, which include a range of handbooks and an extensive library of texts in composition theory and rhetoric.
A typical Writing Center session lasts around 45 minutes. At the beginning of the session we’ll spend some time familiarizing ourselves with the client’s goals for the session, the nature of the assignment or writing task, and collaborating with the client to develop an efficient and constructive use of time during the session. Afterwards the consultant will write a summary of what took place during the session, which the client can forward to her professor if she wishes. Students should not wait until the last minute to schedule assignments, but rather use the Writing Center in a manner that helps them explore and revise their writing well in advance of the deadline.