Debby Ellis Writing Center

Student FAQ

Who can visit the writing center?

All Southwestern students of any major are welcome for consultations.  The Writing Center is also open as a quiet place to work any time Mood is open, even if staff isn’t present.

How long does a consultation last?

We generally keep our consultations to around half an hour.  If that’s not enough time to review your paper, we’re happy to consult with you more than once.

How many times can I visit?

There are no limits on how many times you can visit, even for a single paper.

Can the Writing Center help me even if it’s not an English paper?

Absolutely! The DEWC staff contains majors from many different departments, and everyone is trained to work on papers for all disciplines.  To learn more about our current staff, including their specialties and schedules, visit our Meet Our Staff page.

What should I bring with me to the Writing Center?

Please bring the writing prompt for your assignment and a printed copy of your work so far.  If you have a specific part of the paper you want the consultant to focus on, let them know.  Also, please do arrive with enough time for the consultation to take place.  While we’re open until 9:00 we’d like at least 30 minutes to perform a consultation.

Who works in the Writing Center?

The staff of the DEWC are students from all divisions of the university who have studied writing center theory and practice and interned in the DEWC.  To learn more about our current staff, including their specialties and schedules, visit our Meet Our Staff page.

Does using the Writing Center violate the Honor Code?

Coming to the DEWC is not a violation of the Honor Code.  Some professors may prefer that you mention your visit when you turn in a paper, and some may forbid it on take home exams.  When in doubt, ask your professor.

Will you tell my professor I visited the Writing Center?

We will if you ask us to!  While we use data from our sign-in sheets to improve outreach, we never contact your professor about your consultation without discussing it with you first.  However, please note that having the DEWC contact your professor may be in your best interest - it shows the professor you’ve made an additional effort on the assignment, which might encourage them to award a higher grade.

I want to work in the DEWC.  How do I do that?

Hooray! We would love to read your application! We hire new staff in the early spring; last year our applications were due at the end of February. Please check our website and keep an eye on campus notices. We will send out announcements when our application period begins.

Who is Debby Ellis?

Professor Ellis was a scholar of Medieval Literature and a beloved professor of English here at Southwestern. She helped establish the Feminist Studies Program and the Undergraduate Writing Center. When Professor Ellis died in 1999, her students suggested that the Undergraduate Writing Center be renamed in honor of her memory.