Faculty FAQS

What Information about the Undergraduate Writing Center Can I Put on My Syllabus?

Feel free to use any or all of the paragraphs below in your course syllabus:

The Undergraduate Writing Center offers UCLA undergraduates one-on-one sessions on their writing. The Center is staffed by peer learning facilitators (PLFs), undergraduates who are trained to help at any stage in the writing process and with writing assignments from across the curriculum. PLFs tailor appointments to the concerns of each writer. Sessions can focus on how to approach an assignment, on formulating a thesis, on fleshing out a plan/outline for a draft, on reading a draft with the writer to check for clarity and flow, on incorporating and citing sources, on revising a paper based on instructor feedback, or on tackling grammar or sentence structure problems.

We offer the following types of appointments:

  1. Scheduled Appointments: Our most common service is a 25-minute OR 50-minute appointment scheduled ahead of time to work face-to-face with a PLF on either composition or ESL issues.
  2. Drop-in Appointments: We offer drop-in appointments during our normal business hours on a first-come, first-served basis at the Powell Ground Floor location. Sessions last 25 minutes. At our other locations, Rieber Hall 162 and Evening Remote, we offer walk-ins at specified hours. See “Hours and Locations” on this website.
  3. Online Appointments: This service allows students to submit a paper, and at a scheduled time, the writer and a PLF can each view the student’s paper simultaneously and discuss revisions in a 25-minute OR 50-minute conversation online, using Zoom and Google Docs.

What students should bring to the Writing Center:

  • A draft of a paper if the student has completed one
  • Preliminary notes or writing if the student doesn’t have a draft
  • A copy of the assignment
  • Instructor or peer comments on the paper
  • Copies of readings or research related to the assignment.
Can I Require or Give Extra Credit for Students Coming to the Writing Center?

We appreciate your announcing our services to your classes and underscoring the Undergraduate Writing Center by a note in your syllabi. If you would like to orient your students to the Undergraduate Writing Center’s services, we are happy to send a PLF to your class to give a brief presentation on all the UWC has to offer. You should also feel free to refer individual students to the UWC.

However, we ask that you NOT refer your entire class or require individual students to visit the UWC. We also ask that you NOT award students extra credit for their use of the UWC. Our funding does not allow such practices. More important still, students who benefit the most from our services are those who seek them voluntarily. The collaborative nature of the PLF/student-writer relationship is best cultivated when the student writer is motivated, but not compelled, to seek assistance.

When you advise students to come to the UWC, please remind them to bring a copy of the assignment. Such context is extremely valuable to the PLF. In addition, if you want the student to focus on something specific, send a note along that indicates this. The PLF and the student will then be mindful of your concerns.

Can I Verify that My Students Came to the Writing Center?

Sessions between a PLF and student are confidential. If a student gives permission, the PLF will send you an e-mail detailing the date the student visited the Center, the assignment the student worked on, and the aspects of the assignment or the writing process discussed during the session.

Unfortunately, students occasionally tell instructors they visited the Undergraduate Writing Center when, in fact, they did not. If you have questions about whether a student visited the Center, send email to holten@humnet.ucla.edu or call Christine Holten at 310-206-1320.

Will Students' Writing Improve Substantially after a Visit to the UWC?

We help students at any stage of the writing process and on specific writing assignments in your course. While we do help students with particular writing assignments, our ultimate goal is to help them become effective and confident writers. Thus, even after a visit to the Undergraduate Student Writing Center, a student’s paper may still have errors or larger organizational or content problems. Because our time with a student is limited, we have to set priorities about what aspects of writing or a given assignment to work on. These priorities are set together by the PLF and the student writer. In a 50-minute session, the student and PLF may only have time work on a thesis or practice identifying and editing recurring grammar usage or punctuation problems. Although the student may be able to use what has been discussed with a PLF to improve some parts of a paper, there may be other problems that the student is still not able to work on. That’s why we encourage students to schedule subsequent appointments.

We will not help students with “take home exams” unless we have written permission from you. You may either send a note along with the student or leave a message with Christine Holten, by contacting her at holten@humnet.ucla.edu or calling 310-206-1320.

How Does the UWC Handle Plagiarism?

At the Undergraduate Writing Center, we help writers use and credit sources appropriately. This includes how to paraphrase and summarize source information properly, how to incorporate sources into one’s own writing, and when it is necessary to cite source information. If a PLF has concerns about how research is used in a writer’s text, PLFs will point these out and help the writer to effectively incorporate and appropriately cite the source information. The PLF will also discuss UCLA’s policy on academic honesty and plagiarism so that the writer is aware of the consequences of plagiarism. If a PLF feels that a writer is not willing to revise potentially plagiarized elements of a paper, the PLF has the discretion to end the appointment.