Writing Center Services and Policies

The Writing Center offers free face-to-face and online services to all CMU students enrolled in any undergraduate or graduate course and for CMU faculty and staff.  Writing Center peer consultants can provide feedback on writing projects of any kind, at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to final editing.

In the event of a university delay or closure, all appointments scheduled to take place during the delay or closure will be canceled and will not take place.

Face-to-face services

Face-to-face sessions are available by appointment in Park Library 360. Appointments are 50 minutes and can be made by calling the Writing Center, booking an appointment through the WCONLINE link below, or by dropping in to check for availability. This service works well for brainstorming and developing ideas, integrating sources, and talking through writing challenges. Don't forget to bring any helpful materials to your session, such as assignment guidelines. Computers and printers are available for those with appointments.

Guidelines and policies

  • You can schedule a total of two appointments of any type a week; you can check back for drop-in availability.
  • Please call to cancel if you are unable to attend or may be late in arriving. Ten-minute grace period before you are marked missed and the appointment is given away. After three missed appointments, the account is deactivated for two weeks.

Park Library 360

Located on the third floor (south) of the Park Library
Phone: 989-774-2986

Online services

Asynchronous draft review

50-minute asynchronous review of your draft. Appointments for these sessions are made through our WCONLINE website or by calling the Writing Center if you have registered your account with WCONLINE. The draft for review must be uploaded at least 1 minute before the appointment time. You will not meet with a consultant during this time; a consultant will review your draft, provide written comments using Microsoft Word insert comments, upload the commented draft to WCONLINE, and email the commented draft to your CMU email. This service works well if you have a nearly complete draft and have questions about specific areas such as citation style, organization, and development or if you are looking for final editing and polishing tips.

Guidelines and policies

  • You can schedule a total of two appointments of any type a week.
  • Drafts are returned by the end of the day. They are attached to the appointment as well as emailed to your CMU email.
  • 50-minute session per submission. A 50-minute review generally covers 8 to 10 double-spaced pages, depending on selected focuses and draft content. If you have a longer paper, we recommend booking two appointments back-to-back with the same consultant and indicating the consultant should pick up where they left off the previous hour.
  • Consultants are not available to work with writers via email or over the phone. All appointments must take place through WCONLINE.
  • Before resubmitting papers, make applicable revisions to the draft and indicate where consultants should resume the review.
  • Delete all comments before submitting.
  • File attachments must be 5 MB or less and attached to the appointment in one of the following formats: .doc, .docx, .rtf, .ppt, or .pptx. Links to outside sources and drafts emailed to the Writing Center are not accepted.
  • An attachment is not required to book the appointment; however, the draft must be attached to the appointment at least 1 minute before the appointment begins. After that, the appointment is locked and can no longer be edited. The appointment will be marked missed if no draft is attached. After three missed appointments, the account is deactivated for two weeks.
  • Please note: Consultants go through a semester of training to work at the Writing Center, and consultants are not available for asynchronous draft review appointments until they are fully trained. If asynchronous draft review is not an option in the appointment form, the consultant is not available for asynchronous draft reviews. The appointment type selected in the form is the type of appointment the consultant will hold; it is not possible to change face-to-face or video conference appointments to an asynchronous draft review by writing that in the appointment form.

How to book an appointment and submit your draft

  • Click on the link below, select a day/time with a consultant available for asynchronous draft review.
  • Fill out the form completely, attach your document by clicking on the "Choose File" button, and then click "Create Appointment." NOTE: You must schedule an appointment for each submission. If an appointment has multiple attachments, the consultant will comment on the most recently uploaded draft.
  • The system will not notify you if the appointment has no attachment. After attaching your draft and creating the appointment or saving the changes, we recommend refreshing the page, clicking on the appointment again, and verifying the attachment is there.
  • Drafts are returned as a Word document through WCONLINE and through your CMU email. You will receive a notification via email that the draft has been uploaded. Comments appear in the right margin.

Online one-to-one video conference via WCONLINE

50-minute online appointment in WCONLINE with a Writing Center consultant. In online video conferences, a consultant meets with you to discuss the draft; they do not provide written feedback on the draft. These sessions are like face-to-face sessions and work well when coming to our physical locations is difficult.

Guidelines and policies 

  • You can schedule a total of two appointments of any type a week.
  • Ten-minute grace period before appointment is marked missed. After three missed appointments, the account is deactivated for two weeks.
  • Consultants are not available to work with writers over the phone, via email, or via other platforms (such as Zoom, Webex, Teams, etc.). All appointments must take place through WCONLINE.

How to book and attend your appointment

  • Click on the link below, and select a day/time with a consultant.
  • Fill out the form completely. You may choose to attach a draft, but it is not required. 
  • Log back in about 5 minutes before your session to join and meet with a consultant to discuss your draft.

Writer behavior policies

The CMU Writing Center reserves the right to terminate sessions wherein students behave in a manner at odds with the CMU Code of Student Conduct or that infringe upon what is detailed in the Code of Student Rights. CMU Writing Center consultants are students themselves and thus should not be subject to harassment, abuse, and/or bullying. In instances where a consultant feels unsafe, the session will be terminated, and the Directors will consult with the Office of Student Conduct to address the issue.

 Similarly, all appointments must focus on the writer’s own work. Sessions may be terminated if the work submitted is not the writer’s own work, or if someone other than the writer attends the session in place of the writer. Please see CMU’s Academic Integrity policy for more information.

CMU Writing Center statement and policies on Language Learning Models (LLMs) and artificial intelligence

Language Learning Models (LLMs) and artificial Intelligence (AI) have increasingly become a concern in writing in various private and public spheres, including the university and workplace. While we acknowledge the potential and possibilities for AI tools for the writing process, we firmly assert that LLMs and AI are no replacement for human originality, critical thinking, or creativity. 

The pervasiveness of these tools has changed what it means to write, read, and respond in the university. Thus, the CMU Writing Center’s practices will be guided by the policies and principles articulated here. We thank Rebecca Hallman Martini and the Jill and Marvin Willis Center for Writing for providing us with language and guidance with which to address these important issues.

We do not directly address the use of LLMs/AI unless writers initiate the discussion. Consultants will not introduce the topic of AI in sessions. Although writing center consultants may suspect that language in a writer’s work could be the product of AI, they will not accuse a student of doing so. If a writer introduces the topic of AI, we will encourage the writer to abide by the policies and expectations of the course and/or rhetorical situation to which they are writing. Ethical concerns and academic integrity should always be the first consideration in the use of AI.

Writing Center consultants will not generate feedback using LLMs/AI. Violation of this policy may result in termination of employment. CMU’s community of writers can submit their work knowing that it will be read and responded to by a human being. Writers make appointments with us to receive feedback from highly trained human beings. The limited research available on AI feedback indicates that it is inferior to that of an interested human reader. LLMs require uploading a person’s writing to be analyzed and monetized by private companies. Doing so without consent is thus a gross ethical violation and at odds with CMU’s Academic Integrity Policy.

Writing Center consultants may discuss AI and LLMs and their ethical uses if writers introduce the topic. However, these discussions will occur within the parameters of course policy (to the best of our knowledge) and with writers’ complete transparency about their use. The CMU Writing Center is not responsible for writers’ unethical uses of LLMs and AI.

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