Exploring the need of academic writing support for Graduate students in Pacific North West

I would like to discuss the following questions with PNWCA with the goal of supporting graduate students' academic writing in the Pacific North West region: What are the current writing support available for graduate students in the Pacific North West region?; What are the names of different graduate writing centers in the Pacific North West region?; Are there any association among graduate writing centers in the Pacific North West region?; How can we facilitate graduate students' writing (research paper, dissertation, research proposal, conference presentation, and poster presentation) in the Pacific North West region?; How can we plan to develop graduate writing tutoring in the Pacific North West region?I would appreciate your opinion, advice, and suggestions for the above concern.


Shampa Biswas,




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Grad Writing Support at UW Tacoma

Hi Shampa,

Thanks for reaching out to the community. I think we might have met last year when I worked as the Grad Writing Consultant at UIdaho! Now I am at UW Tacoma. I've been here for 6 months and was hired specifically to build support for graduate student writers. Faculty and staff whom I've interacted with so far have been enthusiastic about my arrival, but no one has really set forth concrete objectives for me. I've been trying to shape a grad writing support program here by contacting professors and graduate advisors, visiting classrooms, giving guest lectures, hosting workshops at the writing center, and, of course, providing one-on-one consultations. I've considered or attempted other initiatives--many (coincidentially!) described above by Jenny, at UW Seattle--to no good effect. I don't know whether the low response is because these are new opportunities that grad students still just don't know about or because this campus has a very different culture than a residential, research-based university. Our students are not writing dissertations and most do not plan on publishing articles or entering academia. Most of our students are working on community-oriented "capstone" projects that integrate literature reviews and recommended applications.

It would be great to see what all of us colleagues across the region are doing to support the variety of grad students in the Pacific Northwest. A regional scope to this issue fits well with my institution's "urban-serving" focus on the community. I'm interested in whether you, Shampa, support students at the branch campuses of WSU. I'm interested generally in what other branch campuses offer for grad writing support and more vocationally-oriented schools (perhaps like OHSU--thank you, Hill, for being part of this conversation).

Perhaps a related note: Shampa, has the WSU Grad and Professional Writing Center always so clearly differentiated between appointment and drop-in expectations? My writing center does not set aside certain times for rhetorical/organizational concerns vs. grammatical and stylistic concerns, but doing so is an interesting idea. How is that working for your students?

Thanks for your post. I hope we can continue to build some awareness and connection among those of us working in this region.




Amy Whitcomb, M.Sc., M.F.A.

Instructional Consultant

Teaching and Learning Center

University of Washington Tacoma

(253) 692-5938


Amy Whitcomb, M.Sc., M.F.A.
Instructional Consultant
Teaching and Learning Center
University of Washington Tacoma
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

support for grad-level writers

Dear Shampa,

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center at the University of Washington Seattle has been supporting grad students for the last 10 years; grad students make up about 12% of our user population and command about 18% of our one-to-one sessions, or about 2,250 sessions per year, with tutors who are themselves both undergraduate and graduate students -- at a 3:1 ratio.

I don't know of any association specifically made up of centers supporting graduate students, but I would think that just raising the topic at our regional (quarterly) Directors' Day Out events or regional conferences would spark a pretty good conversation. The question of what we could do to support grad-level writing is huge, but we have been piloting some things at our center in addition to our traditional 45-minute one-to-one sessions, namely:

*longer consultations for grad students

*drop-in consulting hours specifically for grad students hosted in one of the preferred grad student workspaces on this campus

*workshop series for grad students introducing some of the genres they are expected to work in, like conference presentations, grant proposals, CVs, the prospectus

*in a couple of weeks, we will be piloting a week-long dissertation retreat here in the OWRC, with guest speakers discussing strategies for managing projects of the dissertation's scope and affective weight, consultations with writing tutors and research librarians, and lots of dedicated writing time (free of distractions and other responsibilities)

I think your question of what we might do to promote region-wide support and networking for grad students is a good one, worthy of getting people together face-to-face.  Any thoughts on when and where we might host such an event? Thanks for great questions, and I will be curious to hear what others have to say.

-Jenny Halpin (Director, OWRC)

What are the names of

What are the names of different graduate writing centers in the Pacific North West region?

Thanks for sharing

Hi Hill,

Thanks for sharing about university-wide writing initiative and support. I will email you offline with my specific questions.





Washington State University, Pullman, USA. Email: shampa_biswas@wsu.edu or shampa.bd@gmail.com

Graduate Writing Support at OHSU

Hi Shampa,

I am developing the university-wide writing initiative and support here at Oregon Health & Science University, as well as running the writing center in the OHSU School of Nursing.  We are a health sciences university with almost all graduate students in exclusively health sciences disciplines.  I'm happy to offer up any insights or participate in collaborations.  This is new initiative and position at OHSU and I've been on board for less than a year, but things have unfolded quickly and quite nicely (due to massive administrative support).  Feel free to email me: taylorhi@ohsu.edu with specific ideas or questions that I might be able to field.


Hill Taylor