Writing Center - Student Success - Christopher Newport University

Student Success

Writing Center

The Alice F. Randall Writing Center staff invites you to come talk with us about your writing! After training for a semester in a writing-intensive class, our consultants can help you with any writing from across the disciplines and at any point in the writing process. From helping to brainstorm ideas, to organizing rough drafts, to developing thesis statements and revising a final draft, we're here to help.

We offer three different ways to get writing assistance:

  • In-person tutoring in Christopher Newport Hall 124
  • Online synchronous tutoring using Google Meet
  • Asynchronous tutoring, where a writing consultant will provide written feedback on your writing within 24 hours of receiving it

Please contact wcenter@cnu.edu or the Writing Center director, Dr. Nicole Emmelhainz, nicole.emmelhainz@cnu.edu for more information.

The late Alice F. Randall, associate professor of English, dedicated herself to the academic well-being of students. She was a nationally recognized researcher for her work in reading and gave unselfishly of her time to counsel and support hundreds of students in her reading courses. Randall was associated with CNU for nearly 18 years and was honored by the CNU Board of Visitors on April 28, 1993.

Students Helping Students in Writing Intensive Courses

Faculty who teach writing intensive courses may nominate an excellent student writer to serve as a writing associate. These students earn a stipend for reviewing student drafts and conducting brief tutorial sessions on successful writing strategies. Students and faculty receive training as part of the writing associates program.

For more information and to nominate a student for your writing intensive course, email Dr. Nicole Emmelhainz, writing center director, at nicole.emmelhainz@cnu.edu.

The Writing Associates Program involves students in peer mentoring and learning projects, enables faculty across the curriculum to participate more fully in writing initiative programs such as the Sophomore Writing Seminar and encourages campus-wide discussion of teaching and writing

Modeled after programs at Brown, Swarthmore, Brigham Young and the University of Richmond, and crafted by Emeritus Professor Tracey Schwarze, the Writing Associates Program assigns trained undergraduates to specific courses with substantive writing components in order to provide students in those courses and the professors teaching them with a resource dedicated to the continued development and enhancement of writing as a tool for demonstrating thinking and learning.

Writing associates, students and professors all benefit from this collaborative effort, which enhances both teaching and learning on campus.

Writing Associate Responsibilities

(approx. 50 hours/semester devoted to a single course)

  • Attend 6-8 hours of training in responding to student texts and in consulting strategies
  • Confer with the course instructor about writing assignment criteria and expectations
  • Read two sets of complete drafts of formal writing assignments and respond to these in writing within one week (writing associates receive drafts two weeks before papers are due)
  • Hold two conferences (10-15 minutes each) with students about their papers

Writing associates earn a $400 stipend per semester.

Participating Faculty Responsibilities

  • Agree to structure the course so that it provides at least two writing assignments of substantial length and complexity across a time period sufficient for student writing, associate response, and student revision (approximately four weeks/assignment)
  • Attend information sessions scheduled by the writing program administrator.
  • Confer with your writing associate about writing assignment criteria and expectations.
  • Schedule essay assignments to provide a two-week window for writing associates to review papers and give students a chance to revise them.
  • Work with writing associates to devise a policy to ensure that students turn in their best work to associates. Communicate to students that papers handed in to writing associates should be complete and their very best work, and make participation mandatory, not optional (that is, make clear you won’t accept papers that have not been read by writing associates and subsequently revised).
  • Understand that writing associates generally will accept the content of student papers as accurate; their focus will be on helping students to present their content in an effective manner – that is, they will help students attend to matters of organization, development, focus and surface errors.
  • Understand that writing associates are not teaching assistants. They cannot lead discussion sections, hold classes in your absence or assist with grading.
  • Encourage students to visit the Writing Center for additional help.

Interested faculty members request an associate and agree to meet the above responsibilities. Assignments of writing associates will be made on an as-available basis. Priorities for assigning writing associates may include:

  • Sophomore writing seminars (especially courses taught outside the English Department) with assignments compatible with the program
  • Writing Intensive courses with assignments compatible with the program
  • Sophomore writing seminars and Writing Intensive courses for faculty who have recruited writing associates

Student Responsibilities

  • Submit a complete draft of your best possible work to the writing associate two weeks before the paper is due
  • Meet with your writing associate twice during the term
  • Visit the Writing Center for additional assistance

The writing program administrator trains associates, meets with participating faculty members in orientation and evaluative sessions, and makes course assignments. Where possible, associates will be assigned to courses in their own disciplines (that is, a psychology major who is a writing associate ideally will be assigned a psychology course). Faculty should recommend promising students (especially majors) to this program; this might be one way of guaranteeing writing associates to their courses.

For more information about becoming a writing associate or requesting one, please contact Dr. Nicole Emmelhainz-Carney at (757) 594-7973 or nicole.emmelhainz@cnu.edu

Our consultants for the fall 2023 semester are:

  • Tyler Alberico
  • Whit Flores
  • Trey Greenwell
  • Vangeli Hadjimichael
  • Candyce Harrell
  • Matthew Johnson
  • August Lively
  • Shannon O’Keefe
  • Lisa Parker
  • Margaret Russo
  • Madeline Shepherd
  • Jackie Stallworth
  • Karen Kinsley-Smith
  • Jasmine Williams

Both the director and the writing consultants are available to come to your classroom to talk about our services, to demonstrate a sample tutorial or to address a specific writing concept in more detail. Please email Dr. Nicole Emmelhainz at nicole.emmelhainz@cnu.edu for more information.

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