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,, 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 2016-17, Writing Assistants conducted approximately 1080 conferences with 540 writers in 25 Writing Project courses, with Writing Workshop and Partnership conferences bringing the total to nearly 1800 conferences.

Writing Project Courses for Spring 2018

  • African American Fiction:  Humor and Resistance - E. Muther
  • Anthropology 1101:  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology - S. Dickey
  • Asian Studies 2050/English 2752:   Writing China from Afar -  B. Kong
  • Asian Studies 2552/Religion 2220:  Hindu Literatures - A. Golovkova
  • Biology 1158/Chem 1105/ENVS 2201:  Perspectives in Environmental Science - S. Deeds
  • Biology 2214:  Comparative Physiology - A. Johnson and S. Hauptman
  • GSWS 1101:  Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies - M. Cifor
  • Hispanic Studies 2061:  Introduction to Hispanic Studies:  Theater and Poetry - M. Boyle
  • History 2061:  Culture Wars in the Age of Enlightenment - M. Roberts
  • Music 1301:  Introduction to Classical Music - C. Thomas
  • Russian 2224/GSWS 2249:  Novelizing Nationalism:  Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky - N. Kupensky
  • Sociology/Education 2206:  Sociology of Education - I. Nelson

Bowdoin College Writing Workshops

Comments from faculty members teaching recent Writing Project courses:

"[The Writing Assistants] were extremely professional in their work. [Their] comments were also thoughtful, respectful and smart, truly inspiring and supporting students in their process of formulating and developing a thesis for literary studies… and all in Spanish!" (Spring '15)

"Both [Writing Assistants] were helpful in providing me with feedback about the students' questions and struggles, as well as the suggestions they gave for writing strategies....I brought up these concerns in class and gave students advice for the final writing assignment." (Spring '14)

"The Writing Assistants provide in-depth and instighful feedback to students' drafts....[They] make students think more critically about what and how they are writing. (Spring '14)

"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)

"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)

"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)

"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)


Writing Project Course Forms

Download forms for use in a Writing Project Course here.

Word Document
Conference Report.doc
Word Document
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