Interacting with Students - NIU - Writing Across the Curriculum


The NIU Writing Consultants Handbook

Interacting with Students

Consultants are expected to provide many forms of professional assistance to undergraduate and graduate students. For instance, consultants might be asked to visit classes or small discussion groups and deliver lectures on pertinent aspects of writing. Starting a research paper; documenting sources; conducting audience analysis; using quotations, paraphrases, and summaries--these are all examples of topics that consultants know well and can present through guest lectures and informal discussions.

Most commonly, though, consultants will see students during office hours to critique drafts and help them engage in writing assignments. The goal is not simply to edit or proofread, particularly for ESL students; rather, consultants should act as mentors and offer support with such activities as inventing and developing arguments, using required layouts for lab reports, formatting documents, and developing journal writing skills.

There is, however, a qualification about proofreading and editing. If a consultant has time and is interested in working with texts and developing editorial skills, then it may be productive to help graduate students and faculty members edit dissertations, theses, and works in progress.

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