Frequently Asked Questions

Faculty and staff are invited to use the Writing Center for assistance/feedback on any student-facing documents. If you have a question that is not answered here, please email Mairin Barney at .

The writing center is a tutoring service located in the Liberal Arts Building, room 5330. We provide individualized feedback for writers at any stage of the writing process. All of our services are currently available both in person and online.

Our tutors are undergraduate and graduate students who are recruited on the basis of their writing skills and their ability to work with writers. Our tutors come from a variety of departments and majors. We actively recruit tutors recommended by faculty. If you would like to refer a particular student to work at the center, please contact Wayne Robertson at .

Our staff is prepared and eager to help all Towson students, including those with special needs. Because we work one-on-one with students, we are able to make accommodations and spend significant time making sure that the student’s individual needs are met.

With your students, Writing Center tutors review the assignment guidelines and talk about where the writer is in their writing process. Often, this means looking over a rough draft, but some students do not need to have much or any writing completed to benefit from a session. Tutors address a variety of writing concerns including helping students synthesize their ideas, examine evidence, organize their points, write more effectively to an academic audience and develop their ability to better edit their own work. In addition, tutors often discuss the student’s writing process, and help the student identify his or her strengths, weaknesses and goals.

If you would like to know if your students are using the writing center and what they are working on, encourage them to ask for a Session Review Form or “blue slip” at the end of their Writing Center session. The tutor will complete the form and email it to the professor after the session is complete. If you have specific questions about the center or a particular student's experience, please contact our director, Wayne Robertson. He welcomes your calls and questions. You can reach him by e-mail at  by phone 410-704-5379.

Tutors work with students to learn to identify and correct sentence-level errors in their own writing. Our purpose is to help students improve their own editing and proofreading skills. Often, this results in a piece of writing that is improved and has fewer sentence-level errors. However, it does not mean that the essay will be error free. After all, we are not editing papers for the student or rewriting their sentences. It also happens sometimes that the tutor will spend the entire session talking with the student about other writing issues (coherence, organization, evidence, integrating sources, unintentional plagiarism, etc.) and they might not have time to discuss grammar, even when it is also an issue in the text. In these situations, the tutor may recommend that the student return to the center to further work on their writing if time permits. 

Online instruction is here to stay, and it is definitely possible to support student writing in online or hybrid courses, just as we do in face-to-face courses. Please reach out to E. Mairin Barney, , the Writing Center’s assistant director for faculty outreach, with questions about this. Faculty can request a virtual class visit, get support with using the Writing Center online, discuss effective ways to hold peer review sessions in Blackboard and learn about online platforms and tools for facilitating student conferences. 

If you identify one or more students who seem to need additional help with their writing, you can encourage them to come to the Writing Center for a session. If you prefer that your student works on something specific, please tell them directly. If a whole class seems to be struggling with a specific genre or type of writing assignment, you can work with the assistant director for faculty outreach to design an in-class workshop and/or revise a writing assignment. See Resources for Faculty for more information. For writing-intensive courses, such as TSEMs, Core 9s, or capstone courses, consider requesting a Writing Fellow to support your students throughout an entire semester.