Writing Workshops

The Writing Center offers workshops and seminars in the following categories:
Essay Writing
Research Writing
Citation Formats (MLA, APA, and CM)
• Editing for Grammar, Punctuation & Mechanics
• Transfer Essays
Creative Writing (includes a Veterans’ Writing Group)
Study Skills 

Critical Thinking in Reading

 Reading and Studying Patterns. Learn how who you are affects how you understand reading text material. This is an interactive session in which students will examine their histories and discuss comprehension strategies. Outcome: Awareness of personal and cultural influences on learning.

Reading as Thinking--How to really "Get" What You read. Students will learn and use metacognitive techniques for understanding what they read. Outcome: Ability to decipher the patterns of a textbook or other academic text, and then use those patterns to better comprehend the material.

Reading with a Pen. Students will learn how to use Reading Logs, Annotation and Concept Maps. Outcome: Ability to apply note-taking strategies when reading, studying and researching.

Going Deep. This session will help students probe text material deeply. Students will learn Close Reading techniques. Outcome: Ability to use critical thinking when reading and to holistically analyze texts.

Taking Lecture Notes: Discover ways to improve your effectiveness in taking lecture notes.

Discover Your Learning Style: Participants will assess their individual learning styles (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic) and develop ways to make use of multiple styles in learning.

Critical Thinking in Writing

 Who You Are When You Write – Identifying Your Writing Habits, Skills and Style. Students will share their writing histories in order to identify strategies and skills that are effective. Outcome: Awareness of the holistic factors affecting writing and ability to consciously apply effective strategies.

Getting started on an Essay. Students will learn how to think about topics and assignments as a writer, and will practice questioning techniques that help them to write on any topic assigned. Outcome: Ability to generate ideas and to develop them into written text.

How Writers Think (Reading as a Writer). Students will examine several texts to discern discipline specific traits, challenges posed by various rhetorical strategies, and the strengths that result in clear writing. Outcome: Awareness of effective writing skills across the curriculum, and ability to select appropriate strategies and tone for a discipline.

The “You” in Your Topic—How to Identify a Topic that Inspires You. Students will examine who they are and connect that to their topics. Outcome: Ability to draft a compelling research topic or an arguable thesis.

Research Logs. Student will learn annotation skills that can be applied to research topic refinement, content development, annotated bibliographies, and article reviews. Re-teach reading logs as a tool for research. Outcome: Ability to use critical thinking in annotating text.

Revising and Editing Your Writing. Students will use “consultancy” techniques (asking questions of their writing) to identify areas that need revision or editing. Outcome: Ability to identify revision and editing needs in one’s own writing.


Creating a Workable Topic: Generate a workable topic and thesis. A great session for starting on an argument and persuasion essay or a research paper. Learning Outcome: Ability to generate a well thought out topic and to form a clear thesis.

Components of an Essay (Essay Structure): Learn simple ways to create an organized and unified paper. Learning Outcome: Ability to take an idea and break it into parts that follow a clear structure in an essay.

Thesis Statement: This workshops gives students a chance to focus on the art of writing a thesis statement. Learning Outcome: Awareness of the elements of a thesis, ability to match a thesis to the purpose of a paper, and greater confidence in generating multiple thesis statements.

Developing Body Paragraphs: Practice methods for paragraph development that use support and description to expand and/or clarify your writing. Learning Outcome: Ability to write a paragraph that is unified and developed through support, explanation, description, analysis, definition, or comparison as needed.

Research Writing Across the Curriculum

What does a Good Research Paper look like? Join a reading and discussion of sample research papers. We will examine good and not-so-good papers for their use of structure, content, and citations.

Research Writing: structure for informative and persuasive research. Learn topic driven methods of structuring your research (problem to solution, cause and effect, macro to micro, chronological/sequential and more). Practice structuring your own topic with these frames.

Research Writing: structure for literary criticism.  Learn about the most common schools of literary criticism (Formalist, Sociological, Historical, Psychological, Mythological and more). Practice applying these perspectives to standard structural devices such as division/classification, cause and effect, compare and contrast, analysis, and classical Greek argument.

Your Research Topic: Forming a Research Question for a Workable Thesis. Identify a workable research topic and develop a guiding question that will lead you toward a well developed research paper.

Credible Sources: Learn how to locate sources and assess them for reliability and credibility.

Incorporating Support/Evidence: Learn how to incorporate evidence from source material while using your own analysis and synthesis to improve the unity and flow of a research paper. Students will practice “sign-posting” strategies and using the appropriate transitional words and phrases. This workshop also teaches a simple five step process for showing logical reasoning and unity

Is it Enough? Learn how to test your own writing for development. See ways to expand writing by asking the right questions and then answering them with evidence and analysis.

Editing Session: Learn revising and editing technique, and apply them to your own writing. Bring a rough draft of your current work. (See calendar for focus topics)

Citation Formats: Acknowledging Your Sources

How to Summarize, Paraphrase and Quote Your Sources: Students will view incorrect and correct ways to incorporate source material. Students will practice summarizing information and integrating quoted material into their own writing.

MLA (Modern Language Association) Citation Format: Research papers for English courses and many other courses in the humanities require that you acknowledge your sources in MLA format. Two workshops are offered for MLA Citation: Within text citation and Creating a Works Cited page.

APA (American Psychological Association) Citation Format: APA format is used for the fields of psychology, medicine, business, and education. Learn the three components of APA citation: Document Format, References List, and In-Text Citations.

Chicago Manual Citation (Turabian): CM or Turabian is the citation format used in history departments. This format makes use of end-notes and/or footnotes.

Creative Writing

Inner-Words: Finding Your Voice through Writing. Session starts with a relaxation technique followed by an opportunity to write. The result of that writing will be discussed or participants may choose to bring a written piece for discussion. Activities will help participants uncover their voices, and the environment will provide a safe place for those voices to be heard.

 Veterans’ Writing Session. These writing sessions are open to current or former military (U.S. or other nations). Sessions begin with an activity aimed at helping participants move from the distractions of daily life to an inward focused mind-set. Participants then have time to write followed by time to share and discuss that writing if they so choose. The writing activities do not intentionally focus on military experience; however, the Veterans' Writing Session does provide a place where current and former military personnel can feel comfortable sharing whatever it is their writing brings.


Grammar, Punctuation and Mechanics

Avoiding the Top Five Grammar Errors: This workshop will provide understanding of the most common grammar errors. Students will practice identifying and correcting these errors in their own writing. Learning Outcome: Ability to recognize and correct in one's own writing the following: Run-on sentences, comma splices, sentence fragments, unnecessary passive voice, and pronoun errors.

Punctuation Review—Commas: Knowing where to use a comma not only can help a writer clarify his/her intent, but also can help a writer avoid errors such as run-on sentences, mixed sentences, and comma splices. Learning Outcome: Ability to use commas appropriately.

Punctuation Review—Semi Colon, Colon, and Dash: These commonly confused marks of punctuation lend style and tone to writing; additionally, when used well, they can help writers avoid comma grammatical errors. Learning Outcome: Ability to use semi colon, colon and dash appropriately.

Detecting and Correcting Run-On and Comma Splice Errors: Run-ons and comma splices are the most common errors seen in the essays brought to the Writing center. Students in this workshop will identify these errors, correct them, and then learn how to avoid them. Learning Outcome: Ability to identify, correct and avoid run-on and comma splice errors.