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Support for Faculty

The resources of the Hixon Writing Center are not just for Caltech students—the HWC staff works directly with faculty to support their teaching of writing across the disciplines.

Here are a few of the ways we can support you:

Direct Support with Developing Course Materials or Bringing Writing into Your Classroom

If you'd like to schedule a consultation to discuss ways the Hixon Writing Center staff can support your work in the classroom, contact our director, Dr. Susanne Hall. In the past she has worked with faculty to help to create new writing assignments, assist in the creation of rubrics or other ways of assessing writing, share research about what kinds of feedback on student writing are most effective,  and offer materials and guidelines for using student writing in class to promote revision or subject-area learning.

Guidelines for Teaching Writing and Communication

Few faculty members receive specific instruction during graduate school about how to teach writing and speaking to their students, and yet it is up to all of us to work together to teach students to communicate effectively within our fields. Caltech's writing center is working on developing new resources for faculty across all disciplines that outline approaches to teaching writing, creating assignments, and offering feedback. For now, we can share with you some resources for faculty created by our colleagues at MIT. In private consultation, we can connect you with other resources specific to your field.

Handouts on Writing-Related Topics for Your Students

If you're looking for handouts to distribute to your students on topics related to academic writing, check out our student Handouts and Resources page. If you'd like to recommend the development of a new resource aimed at our students, we'd love to work with you on that--please email us.

Resources on Fostering Productive Collaboration and Academic Honesty in Student Writing

We encourage all faculty to check out our resources aimed at helping faculty prevent and respond to plagiarism.

If you haven't already, consider developing a collaboration policy for your students in classes in which writing is assigned.

Resources on Writing in Our Library

We worked with the Caltech library to put together a LibGuide which highlights many books and other resources that may be of interest to writers in your classes. Consider linking to this as appropriate in your teaching, and please let librarian Donna Wrubleski know if you would like something added to the list or would like the library to purchase a resource it doesn't currently have.


There are also a couple of ways you can support our work:

Encouraging Your Students to Visit the Hixon Writing Center

Our goal is to have every Caltech student visiting the Hixon Writing Center, because we strongly believe that a crucial method for improving as a writer and communicator is talking frequently with diverse, skilled readers about one's writing. Students tell us that the single most important reason they will visit the Writing Center is that they've been encouraged by their professors to seek us out so they can talk about a work-in-progress. When you tell them that drafting and talking about their writing with skilled readers is something important, they listen. If you would like to include some information about the Hixon Writing Center in your syllabus, we've created two samples you can use or adapt.

Would you like evidence that your students came to work with us? If so, read more about the process of formally referring a student to visit the HWC.

If you would like more information about the basic nature of our tutorial work with students, take a look at our tutoring page. We also ask faculty whose students work with our tutors to spend just a minute reading our advice about Having Reasonable Expectations for Student Progress.

Help Us Understand the Support You Need

Over the next several years, HWC staff will be working on developing resources aimed specficially at our faculty related to teaching writing and communication, and we want to build custom resources in response to faculty requests. What issues come up for you in the classroom, in designing assignments, and in responding to student writing that we might be able to help you negotiate? If you have suggestions for something we can develop for faculty, please email us.

We often work closely with Caltech's Center for Teaching and Learning to provide resources and events that support teaching. We encourage you to visit their website for more information about upcoming workshops and other resources for faculty.