A research university is a writing university. The Writers Workshop contributes to the intellectual and creative activities of the University of Illinois by providing support for all writers in the campus community—undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctorates, faculty, and staff—via writing consultations, writing groups and writing retreats, and workshops and presentations throughout the academic year. By doing so, the Writers Workshop advances the mission of the University to create an inclusive learning environment that fosters students’ abilities to achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals.
The Writers Workshop supports all forms of academic and professional writing, at any stage of the writing process: essays, research papers, personal statements, cover letters, theses and dissertations, manuscripts for publication, presentations, digital compositions, and anything between and beyond. Our programming helps writers:
- Interpret academic tasks and instructor expectations
- Address and overcome writer’s block and writing apprehension
- Create arguments, analysis, and logical structure
- Learn effective revising, editing, and proofreading strategies
- Understand, integrate, and cite sources
- Utilize technology to communicate in diverse modes and media
- View writing as a powerful tool for communicating knowledge and discovering new ideas
- Develop sustainable habits and routines to support long-term writing projects and professional growth
- Cultivate an understanding of audience, purpose, genre, and writing processes to foster transfer of knowledge and skills to new writing scenarios.
The Writers Workshop is committed to providing accessible and inclusive learning spaces. Our pedagogical methods are collaborative and adaptive to students’ needs and learning styles. We celebrate and respect the voices of individual writers, whose goals motivate all of our efforts.
The Workshop also engages in research that supports our local practices and speaks to broader concerns in writing center and writing studies scholarship. To learn more about ongoing research, see our Research page.
What Writers Say:
During the 2020-21 academic year, the Writers Workshop held nearly 7250 consultations and reached another 5000 students through presentations, class visits, and writing groups. The majority of students who used these services—95%–rated them as “Excellent” or “Very good” on a 5-point scale. In the words of our writers:
- “The Writers Workshop has made me a more confident writer!”
- “My writing skills have been dramatically improved! Thank you!”
- “I have survived so many essays”
- “My personal statement helped me get admitted into my dream PhD program!”
- “I hope everyone knows about how awesome this resource is.”
- “It’s always a great writing experience when I work with [Tutor]. He helps take away all the anxiety I have towards writing.”
- “The appointment I had was very useful and helpful. I am very excited that the University has this resource, as I will be returning when I have to work on my next paper.”
- “[The tutor] was extremely helpful and listened carefully to my problem. She helped me come up with ideas for possible master thesis questions based on my interests and the research I have already been doing and working with. She helped me come with effective ways to discuss my ideas with my advisor and helped me gain confidence to do so.”
- “I’m happy to report that since the Writers Workshop [Graduate Writing Retreat], I have been writing ritually (yes, just for the sake of sitting and writing). I’m trying to utilize some of the things we discussed at the workshop: planned work schedule and breaks, having a daily plan, learning to just let a document go, and overall – I have a more balanced workflow than before. So… yay Writers Workshop!”
The Writers Workshop was founded in 1990 as part of the Center for Writing Studies (CWS), an interdisciplinary unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. CWS facilitates research and promotes graduate study in the areas of written composition, language, literacy, and rhetoric. CWS also houses a Writing across the Curriculum program that assists faculty and TAs with the teaching of writing across a wide range of academic disciplines. Though the Workshop can trace its antecedents at the University back to the 1940s (see Lerner’s “Searching for Robert Moore”), the impetus for the current configuration was the Advanced Composition General Education requirement. Since that time, the Writers Workshop’s mission and programs have expanded beyond its initial role of supporting students in Composition I and Advanced Composition courses, growing with the changing needs of the University.
While the Writers Workshop is an LAS unit, we serve students at every college at the University of Illinois. The Workshop also regularly provides collaborative programming with units such as the Office of Undergraduate Research, Business Career Services, Engineering Career Services, Undergraduate Library, Thesis Office, National and International Scholarships Program, and many others. To learn more about our programming or to request a workshop, please visit our “Workshops and Class Presentations” page.