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Center for Academic Support Home Page: Resources for Faculty

Home page for the Center for Academic Support, Denver Campus

How the Writing Center Can Help You

The JWU-Denver Campus Writing Center

Services for Faculty & Staff 2019-2020


The Denver Campus Writing Center is pleased to announce that our services are available to the entire campus community! Writing Center consultations for staff and faculty are conducted through a non-hierarchical peer-collaborator model. Services include:

Undergraduate Assignment Advising. If you’re not receiving the quality of work you expect from your students, revising assignment instructions can help. Assignment instruction revisions can reduce instances of academic dishonesty and increase student engagement.

JWU Memo and Report Reviews. These sessions are available for staff and faculty who have been tasked with crafting institutional reports or proposal documents and would appreciate feedback before they are submitted.  This includes but is not limited to curriculum proposals, semester conversion materials, and other aspects of institutional administration. 

Graduate Application Letters and Documents. If you’re applying to programs in order to advance your own education and career, a consultation with the Writing Center can help you refine your personal or diversity statements, curriculum vitae and/or letter of application.

Graduate Assignment Planning and Research. Graduate coursework is a challenge for every student! Consultations are available for assistance with planning, outlining, researching and organizing graduate-level academic work including reading response assignments, preliminary “problem of practice” proposals, and even larger and more complex projects like literature reviews.

Graduate Assignment and Article Reviews. Not only will our staff assist you with the writing and research process, we will review your work before it is submitted! Assignment reviews can tackle anything from basic issues of clarity and style to the requirements of individual citation styles and beyond. Sessions are available for faculty crafting work as part of their own advanced degree and for those submitting work for publication.

Consultations for staff and faculty have already taken place this fall!   Appointments can be scheduled through Prof. Samuel Wells via email: times are not limited to the posted hours of the Writing Center.

Any faculty who might be interested in serving as future peer-collaborators are also urged to contact Prof. Wells. Share your experience and knowledge with your colleagues!



“It is with great enthusiasm that I endorse and highly recommend the new professional and educational programs that the Writing Center is currently implementing for all JWU faculty, staff and JWU students.  These new services are a representation of the excellence that the Writing Center strives to achieve. The five new services are designed to assist faculty, staff and JWU students with a variety of academic and professional services. I can personally attest to the excellence article review process for faculty.  Professor Samuel Wells edited a very lengthy article I am preparing to submit for potential publication titled The Pogroms in Russia, 1881-1882, 1905-1907: A Brief Examination of Their Causes and Effects.  Professor Wells’ extensive editing and commentary have proved to be of invaluable help. I highly recommend the new programs at the Writing Center for faculty, staff and most importantly, JWU students, and encourage everyone to take advantage of these superb opportunities.” - Dr. Jim Moulton



Tips for Providing Quick and Effective Feedback on Student Papers

Few things facilitate a student’s learning better than direct interaction with a professor. For many of us, this often comes in the form of written feedback on a student’s assignment. But students can easily become discouraged by minimal or vague notes, leaving them to wonder where they went wrong or where to start revising. They also can be overwhelmed by an over abundance of feedback, leaving them to wonder where to begin. Follow the tips below to avoid frustration for both you and the students.

  1. Avoid vague comments. It doesn’t ruin an assignment to reveal your criteria up front.
  2. Provide student examples of both strong and weak student papers. Showing them less-than-perfect student work allows them to identify pitfalls to avoid.
  3. Avoid too many written comments. Grammatical errors are the easiest to fix, so students tend to address only those, sacrificing their understanding of the content.
  4. Know what you can and can’t fix. If a student has an excessive errors, suggest (gently) that they seek out other resources available to them, such as the Writing Center.
  5. Use a mix of feedback. A student can only absorb so many comments. Mix line edits with an general feedback in a paragraph at the end.
  6. Be clear. Make sure your students know upfront what your markings mean.
  7. Be nice. Point out the student’s strengths as well as weaknesses.

Simple Steps to Avoiding Plagiarism in Your Classroom

It's a common misperception that all types of plagiarism are the result of a willingness and intention to deceive. In fact, the main causes of plagiarism have to do with a student's misunderstanding of the material or assignment, or poor time management skills. While these things still remain the responsibility of the student to identify and correct, there are steps we can take as instructors to help guide our students through the often unfamiliar research process.

  1. Clearly articulate assignments and objectives. Make sure students understand how research fits into this process.
  2. Ensure students fully grasp the assignment. Take time to address any questions in class.
  3. Allot enough time for students to complete the assignments according to the standards. Check in with them along to way to help avoid procrastination. One method for this is to scaffold or sequence smaller assignments that culminate into a larger writing project.
  4. Review what constitutes plagiarism. Studies show students who take a brief quiz reviewing citation methods, such as the difference between proper and improper quotation and paraphrase, significantly reduces the instances of plagiarism.

These tutorials and quizzes can help students review the material. Each takes only 10 to 20 minutes:

  1. Capitalize on teaching moments. While severe plagiarism, such as copying an entire paper, is an obvious violation of any university’s honor code, sporadic bits of copied text often indicate a student is struggling with comprehending the class material and/or the citation method. Meeting with the student and/or using the Writing Center may not only resolve the matter, but strengthen the student’s understanding of the material and the process of writing in academia.

A student's failure to understand the conventions of MLA, APA, etc. does not necessarily mean the student has intentionally plagiarized. These citation methods are part of a complex rhetorical act that require knowledge of the discipline and its conventions, including how the field values, makes, and represents knowledge. Without such an understanding, citation styles can seem like an arbitrary list of rules. But again, failure to give credit in appropriate MLA style, for example, does not equate with plagiarism. Before we suspect plagiarism, we must take a look at the entire text to see if the student is acknowledging the source in some other way. Read more about the causes of and preventing plagiarism.

Also: Turnitin And The Debate Over Anti-Plagiarism Software

Additional Resources for Faculty