Center for Writing and Speaking
Imagine having the opportunity to prepare for a critical presentation with a peer tutor who understands the nuances of body language and the importance of maintaining eye contact with your audience. What if you have great ideas for a paper, but you’re unfamiliar with the format the instructor has assigned? Let’s say you need quick tips fast—such as the “dos” and “don’ts” of writing a research paper, a résumé, an outline for an informative speech or tips for mastering an employment interview? You’re working on your senior project and need some feedback before turning in the next draft, or you want to practice a speech you are about give for an off-campus organization. The Center for Writing and Speaking can help you do your best work with all of these assignments and more.
The Center for Writing and Speaking (CWS) is a peer tutoring organization devoted to improving and enhancing students’ writing (Writing Center) and speaking skills (Speaking Center). Staffed by trained peer tutors, the CWS provides students of all ability levels with individual assistance in writing papers and in preparing and practicing speeches and presentations.
Both the Writing Center and the Speaking encourage students to come in for tutoring at any stage of the process, from understanding the assignment and idea development to the final stages of editing and polishing. Tutoring conferences are collaborative: the student brings her ideas, intentions, and knowledge, and the tutor brings experience in helping writers or speakers turn their work into successful final projects. Throughout the conference, tutors emphasize critical thinking and student ownership of the work. As CWS director Christine Cozzens said, “The Center for Writing and Speaking should really be called the center for intellectual engagement outside the classroom.”
The CWS is located on the ground floor of McCain Library and is open 24 hours a day as a student work space; tutoring is offered six days a week. Available resources include over 100 student-produced handouts on many aspects of writing and speaking, books, journals, computers, printers, scanners, software and audio and video playback equipment. Christine Cozzens, professor of English, directs the CWS and the Writing Center and David Lawrence, associate professor of rhetoric and communication, directs the Speaking Center. Over 2,500 writing and speaking conferences are held at the CWS each year; that means Agnes Scott students from all majors appreciate and make good use of this service.
Sign up for an appointment
Agnes Scott students may sign up for an appointment at either the Speaking Center or the Writing Center, by visiting our online schedule at http://cws.agnesscott.edu.
The Center for Writing and Speaking offers many services and events, including
• Career Workshops
Learn how to create a résumé, write an effective cover letter, write personal statements or other essays to accompany graduate school and scholarship applications, and interview with future employers or graduate programs. These workshops are held every semester and are cosponsored by Career Planning.
• Handouts With Quick Tips on Speaking and Writing Topics
Both the Speaking Center and the Writing Center offer online handouts on a variety or common speaking and writing tasks. Written by tutors with input from faculty members, the handouts provide quick tips or guidelines for topics such as writing about film, job interview skills, finding and developing a topic, citing sources, preparing a speech, and many more. Our handouts are used in writing, speaking, learning, and teaching centers and in courses all over the world!
• Celebrations of Writing and Speaking
The CWS calendar of events includes readings and talks by published writers or well-known speakers, Careers in Writing panels, speech contests, the annual “Faculty Tell All” panel in which faculty reveal their writing and speaking secrets, town hall meetings to discuss current events, and many more activities that celebrate writing and speaking.
• Walk-in Hours
The Speaking Center and the Writing Center hold walk-in hours on Monday nights during the semester from 7 to 10 p.m.: students who want brief help with their work may drop by during these times. While most tutoring sessions are arranged by appointment, students may visit the centers at any time to see if a tutor is available.
• Partners Program
Students may work with the same tutor every week on a variety of writing, research or language skills. This program is open to any student who wants regular help.
• Course Tutors Program
By request of a faculty member, any course at Agnes Scott can be attended by a Writing Center or Speaking Center peer tutor. That tutor is then available to students for course-specific help throughout the semester.
• Caught on Tape
Students can learn to speak in front of an audience by using the Speaking Center’s audiovisual equipment to videotape their performance, then have it critiqued by a peer tutor.
• Speech Contests
The Speaking Center sponsors annual speech contests judged by a panel of faculty and staff. There are prizes for the best speeches and certificates for all participants.
• Hone and Perfect Skills
There’s room for improvement for even the best writers and speakers. The Center for Writing and Speaking gives students the opportunity to improve their skills in an atmosphere of encouragement and intellectual challenge.
• Be a Writing or Speaking Tutor
Do you see yourself as a writing or speaking tutor? Hiring for these highly competitive, paid tutor positions takes place each spring semester for jobs that begin the next academic year. Applicants should be good at writing or speaking, have a strong academic record, and enjoy working with people.