1. What services do you provide to students, faculty, and staff?
  2. Who can use the CWE?
  3. Who is on staff?
  4. What happens during a session at the CWE?
  5. Can I require my whole class to bring their papers to the CWE?
  6. Should I offer extra credit to my students for using the CWE?
  7. How can I encourage my students to use the CWE?
  8. Could I be notified if one of my students comes to the CWE?
  9. Can my students come to the CWE to have their papers proofread or edited?
  10. Can the CWE help students correctly cite sources in their papers?
  11. What services does the CWE provide for students for whom English is not their native language?
  12. Can a student drop off a paper and pick it up later?
  13. Some of my students have gone to the CWE, but I don’t see a difference in their papers. How do you explain that?
  14. Can the CWE do workshops or presentations on writing for my class?
  15. Do you offer services particularly for faculty writers?

Q: What services do you provide to students, faculty, and staff?

A: The primary purpose of the CWE at Drew University is to provide support and feedback for students, staff, and faculty who would like to talk to a savvy reader at any stage of a project.

We help all writers in a variety of ways. We help writers to think through what any given assignment or writing situation is asking them to do so they may more thoughtfully develop their ideas in their writing. We can assist in planning out writing tasks more successfully, helping writers to break writing tasks into manageable steps or stages. We can help jumpstart the brainstorming of initial research questions, and in fact-gathering and evaluation of sources.

Please do note, however, that we do not provide proofreading or editing services. Our writing tutors respond as readers of written texts; we discuss the difficulties we may have understanding a work, and can suggest ways to make a student’s writing clearer and more effective. We can help students talk through a difficult section of a text, and identify patterns of errors in their writing.

Proofreader (a.k.a. copy editor)

  • Trained to identify typos
  • Paid to identify and correct mechanical (grammar and style) errors in a text
  • Concerned only with the text
  • Works in isolation with a red pen



  • Trained to be a knowledgeable reader
  • Paid to assist writers at all stages of the writing process
  • Concerned with text and the writing process
  • Works in consultation with author through conversation

For more on our mission, please see the Mission Statement.

Q: Who can use the CWE?

A: The CWE is open to Drew University students, faculty, and staff members. Please see the FAQ below about services offered and under development, particularly for faculty.

Q: Who is on staff?

A: We hire undergraduate and graduate students from across the curriculum at Drew. To see more about the tutors we have on staff, please visit our Staff page.

Q: What happens during a session at the CWE?

A: Because each writer and each paper is different, we strive to offer individualized services, taking into account the questions, strengths, anxieties, and prior efforts of the students we meet with. You can, however, get a generalized idea of what happens in a session by visiting our Maximizing Your Session page.

Q: Can I require my class to bring their papers to the CWE?

A: We ask that you do not require students to come to the CWE. We really appreciate your support of the CWE, but we know from experience that tensions may arise when students are required to visit the CWE for a class. Some of these problems include:

  • Many students will often simply drop in to have us verify their attendance (“Can you sign this to show I’ve been here?”)
  • Some students will wait until the last minute and then find the schedule completely booked.
  • Some students will come in but are not really interested in talking about their writing or their plans for revision. If students don’t plan on making substantial revisions to their work, they are often disinterested in interacting with a tutor or thinking about how to be a more effective writer.
  • Serving large classes may also prevent other students, who are perhaps more serious about improving their writing, from getting the help that they seek on their own.

Please see the next two questions for suggestions about how to encourage your students to take advantage of our services.

Q: Should I offer extra credit to my students for using the CWE?

A: Awarding points may offer the incentive to reluctant students to visit the CWE on their own, but it also may lead to students making appointments simply to get those extra points. If you do offer extra credit, please be certain to talk to your students about our services and the ways we interact with students during sessions. You might also prepare your students by sending them to the CWE’s web site, especially our page on Maximizing Your Session.

Q: How can I encourage my students to use the CWE?

A: Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Describe the CWE, its services, and your thoughts about the CWE on your syllabus. For instance, copy and paste the following description/introduction of the CWE into your syllabus:

Writers benefit from speaking with other writers about their works in process. The Drew University Center for Writing Excellence provides this service for free to students.

Please visit the CWE’s web site at: http://depts.drew.edu/writecen for more information.

  • Remind students of our website: http://depts.drew.edu/writecen during your in-class discussion of writing.
  • Visit us as a class! Bring your class to the CWE for a 10-minute “meet-and-greet” with one of the tutors on staff to help your students be more comfortable with the resource. If interested in this, please e-mail us at Writecen@drew.edu.
  • Request a tutor-visit to your class! At your request, one of our staff members can visit your class and briefly explain our services and strategies. If interested in this, please e-mail us at Writecen@drew.edu.
  • Let your students know that visiting the CWE on their own initiative sends you the message that they are motivated and conscientious enough to think more deeply about their assignments and their learning.
  • Ask students who have visited the CWE to share their experiences with others in the class.
  • Share anecdotes about your former students who have used our services and improved as writers.
  • Ask us for informational fliers to post on your office door, pass out in class, or send to all of your students via e-mail.

Q: Will I be notified if my students come to the CWE?

A: You or your students may request that we share their attendance record and a brief report of their work at the CWE with you. The only time we will not share this information is when a student specifically requests that we keep her/his attendance confidential. Please e-mail us at writecen@drew.edu for more directions.

Q: Can my students come to the CWE to have their papers proofread or edited?

A: We are not a proofreading or editing service. The CWE’s practices reflect the belief that learning to be a more effective writer is learning to be a more effective reader of one’s own texts. If we simply “corrected” the errors on a student’s paper, not only would that student not learn anything but we would interfere with that student’s ability to take responsibility for her/his own work.

We do support students in learning how to spot their own errors more effectively, but this is an interactive process that is broader in scope than proofreading and editing. On a case-by-case basis, we will offer gradual instruction in grammar, usage, sentence structure, punctuation, etc.; this occurs in the context of reading and discussing the writing that students bring to us.

Q: Can the CWE help students correctly cite sources in their papers?

A: Absolutely! If students know which citation style they have been asked to use and bring in all the relevant information about their sources, we can offer them guides and sources for appropriate formatting and work with students as they begin to format their citations accordingly.

Q: What services does the CWE provide for students who may be non-native speakers of English?

A: We are very happy to work with ELL students. Writing in another language (and for many students in U.S. universities, English is a third or fourth language) is a difficult and sometimes frustrating process, and takes time, practice, and persistence. Students who are willing, as many are, to come in repeatedly and to work hard between sessions to apply what they learn in the CWE will gradually make progress. Please do not expect instant results.

Q: Can a student drop off a paper and pick it up later?

A: No; this would be antithetical to our core mission. The CWE is all about conversation. Both the student and the writing specialist will be asking and answering questions, reading the paper together, and engaging in a dialog about what is working and what isn’t. The goal is to look for solutions together so that the student maintains ownership of the paper and learns from this process of problem solving.

Q: I don’t always see a difference on papers that have been taken to the CWE—why is that?

A: Sometimes, one visit is enough to help some students identify and address the issues that need to be resolved in a paper. With some feedback and conversation those students are able to improve their draft significantly.

We also—quite commonly—see papers with more writing difficulties than we can address in a fifty minute session. As much as we sometimes hunger to “take over” a student’s paper, and “fix” all the issues in it, that is not our mission as a CWE. “Fixing” a student’s paper—even correcting grammar—does not help the student to grow as a writer.

Learning to be a proficient writer is a lengthy process, often taking a number of years and determined practice. Students come to the CWE at all levels of ability, and many do leave with more developed ideas, a stronger understanding about their next steps as writers, and with a better idea of how what they wanted to say in a paper actually manifested on the page. In these cases, even if a student uses what s/he learns in a session to improve their paper in some ways, there may still be other problems remaining in that draft.

We hope you will encourage students to return for additional sessions and to plan on an adequate length of time for revision so that s/he can keep working on her/his writing over time.

If you should have any concerns or questions about a particular session, or if you would like to communicate your own expectations for student writing to the CWE, the Center’s Director would love to hear from you. Email us at writecen@drew.edu.

Q: Can the CWE do workshops or presentations on writing for my class?

A: Absolutely! We would be happy to work with you for these events. Please email us at writecen@drew.edu for further information.

Q: Do you offer services particularly for faculty and faculty writing?

A: The CWE works closely with the Coordinator of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program to provide resources and support for faculty in the College of Liberal Arts. If you have a need for class visits, workshops, handouts, or other services/resources, please contact us at writecen@drew.edu.

You may also visit the Drew Writing Studies web page at http://depts.drew.edu/writingstudies for more resources, including: information on upcoming workshops and activities, links, handouts, the faculty Moodle site for Writing Intensive and Writing in the Majors courses, and more!