Writing Fellows Program
The Writing Fellows Program at Boston College began in 2004 as an initiative to enhance the effectiveness of writing and writing instruction in undergraduate courses across the curriculum. Since 2004, over 3,600 students have been a part of a writing-fellowed course.
The Writing Fellows Program pairs trained graduate-student writing fellows with faculty members who want to focus more attention on student writing in a course. Writing fellows meet individually with students and assist them with three to four papers during the semester, offering feedback on paper drafts. Fellows receive training in responding to student writing and in the rhetorical expectations of the specific discipline and writing assignments. The faculty members also engage in an ongoing dialogue with the writing fellows to clarify what constitutes effective writing in each specific disciplinary and rhetorical situation.
Working with the fellows becomes an integral part of a course, ensuring that students are getting quality feedback on their writing, especially in larger courses that make such concentrated individual attention difficult for faculty to provide. The benefits of this program are three-tiered: first, students benefit from conferencing, mentorship, and direct writing instruction with their writing fellow. Second, faculty benefit from direct interaction with the fellows and learn what types of writing instruction are most effective for achieving their learning goals. Third, the writing fellows benefit, honing their teaching and conferencing skills as they prepare to teach in the FWS program.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive; on average 88% of students agree or strongly agree that conferring with writing fellows has improved their writing. 90% of students surveyed said they would take another writing-fellowed class and would recommend their roommate or friend to do the same. All of the faculty members who worked with the program found the Writing Fellows program to be a helpful resource for their course, and one that they hope to utilize in future classes. The program has influenced how the faculty members approach writing their assignments and communicating their expectations to students.
The program is interdisciplinary in nature. We have partnered with faculty in all four of the undergraduate schools (A&S, LSOE, CSON, CSOM) in a range of disciplines. While the majority of the graduate fellows are M.A. students from the BC English department, in recent years we have employed MA students from Philosophy, Teacher Education, and Romance Languages.
If you are interested in having the writing fellows work with your class please contact the director of the program, Vincent Portillo (firstname.lastname@example.org).