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Writing Project


For all students in courses assisted by the Writing Project, Writing Assistants read drafts of two or three essays, papers, or lab reports. After writing marginal and summary comments on the drafts, they meet with each writer to discuss the writer's ideas and ways to improve their presentation to a reader. After the conversation with the Assistant, the writer revises the paper before turning it in to the professor for further feedback and a grade. Writing Assistants have no role in grading the papers.

Peter & Lucy

Writers in Writing Project courses are responsible for writing a serious draft and submitting it to the course instructor with a self-assessment form. They sign up for conferences and meet with their Writing Assistant as scheduled. After their conferences, they revise their papers in whatever ways they choose, proofread, and turn papers in to the course professor with the first draft and the completed self-assessment form.

Faculty members wishing to have Writing Assistants read and respond to papers for all students in one of their courses contact the director of the Writing Project, Kathleen O'Connor (X3760, koconnor@bowdoin.edu), a few weeks before registration for that semester. They schedule draft and final dates for relevant assignments that allow time--normally ten days--for reading drafts, conducting conferences, and making thoughtful revisions. Faculty members who participate in the program require participation of all writers in their class, as they find that nearly all students benefit from the perspective of an attentive reader who is not a specialist in the field, as well as from the process of drafting, seeking feedback, and revising.

In the academic year 2012-13, Writing Assistants conducted approximately 1040 conferences with 544 writers in 25 Writing Project courses.

Writing Project Courses Spring Semester 2014

  • Africana Studies 2235 / GWS 2229/Religion 2247   - Global Pentecostalism  - J. Casselberry
  • Anthropology 1013 Native American Stereotypes K. Fayard
  • Asian Studies 2806/ English 2758 - New Fictions of Asian America -   B. Kong
  • Biology 2214 -  Comparative Physiology -  P. Dickinson, S. Hauptman
  • English 1114 - Introduction to Narrative - E.Muther
  • Film Studies 2202 - Film History II - T. Welsch
  • Film Studies 2224 -  The Films of Alfred Hitchcock - T. Welsch
  • Film Studies 2230 - Documentary Cinema - S. Childress
  • GWS 1101 - Intro to Gender and Women’s Studies - J. Scanlon
  • Psychology 2750 - Behavioral Neuroscience - R. Thompson
  • Sociology 1101 - Introduction to Sociology - I. Nelson
  • Sociology 2224 - Global Health Matters - S. Bell

Bowdoin College Writing Workshops

Comments from faculty members teaching recent Writing Project courses:

"The papers I get in writing-assisted courses are ALWAYS better because they benefit so substantially from multiple conferences, a break between draft and revision, and the thoughtful attention of the peer readers. " (Spring '08)

"I am 100% clear that the papers I receive are better for having been revised with the help of the Writing Assistants....The quality of their feedback is extremely high, and they all demonstrate a shared understanding of what are higher-order concerns and what are lower-order concerns. They are valuable and valued collaborators with me and with my students. " (Fall '11)

"I have taught this class with and without Writing Assistants. The papers with WA support are consistently better written and analyzed." (Spring '12)

"All three of the tutors ...were responsible and effective. I got only positive feedback from the students." (Spring '12)

"The Writing Assistants made thorough, thoughtful, and encouraging comments. I was impressed by the level of detail that the WAs were able to address in the students' drafts. I learned a lot about how to comment effectively on drafts by observing them." (Fall '11)


Writing Project Course Forms

Download forms for use in a Writing Project Course here.

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Conference Report.doc
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Conference sign-up sheet.doc
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WA final questionnaire.doc
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Writer self-assessment.doc
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Writing Assistant Job Description.doc
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What you should know about the WP.doc

Writing Workshops