Writing Fellows Program

What is a Writing Fellow?

Writing Fellows are experienced Missouri State University writing consultants. They hold one-on-one consultations with students in specific writing-intensive courses across the curriculum. Each student in the class is required to meet with his or her assigned Writing Fellow at least twice to discuss the assignment, writing strategies, and ways to revise and edit the draft into a polished paper the professor will then grade. Writing Fellows work closely with the professor teaching the class to clarify writing expectations. 

Writing Fellows do not grade papers. As peers, Fellows serve as sympathetic readers, providing informed, constructive criticism directed toward the argumentation, analysis, organization, clarity, and style of papers. After drafts of papers are returned, Writing Fellows meet with each of their students in a writing consultation. These consultations provide a chance to discuss revision strategies and work through additional concerns.

Required Training for New Fellows
  • Writing Center Consultant Training: New Fellows have completed the training required of writing consultants and served at least one semester in the Center as a consultant.
  • Theory & Practice: After selection, Fellows are given additional readings to assist them with the theory behind the program and how, in practice, the work of a Fellow is different than that of a consultant.
The Benefits of the Program
Faculty Support

Writing Fellows are assigned to instructors who request them and who require students to write in their classes. (Writing projects might mean two to three short papers or one long paper submitted--and revised--in successive stages, or any other variation you might invent). Fellows assigned to any given course read and discuss all first drafts written by students enrolled in the course. Students then have time to revise their papers. We encourage multiple drafts! The heart of writing well is learning to edit your work.

Course Support

Writing Fellows-supported courses help students improve their writing skills by working with a consultant who has been trained in composition theory and pedagogy. In a “fellowed” course, students receive detailed commentary on at least a first draft of their papers during the semester. Professors receive the first drafts, with annotations by the Writing Fellows, and the final papers so that they may review the process of their students’ work.


Writers at all levels benefit from good feedback, and that’s why the Writing Fellows Program recruits undergraduate and graduate students to work with their peers in courses across the curriculum. Writing Fellows are chosen for their strength as writers and their interest in helping others to improve their writing.

Faculty Partners

Fellows serve as a sounding board for the articulation of course goals and for assistance in redesigning writing assignments. They provide a range of support for their faculty partners, including but not limited to:

  • Assist faculty with refining previous writing assignments or in designing new ones (both formal and informal) to accomplish set goals.
  • Provide feedback in regards to explicit criteria for evaluating student writing (the criteria communicated to students as part of the writing assignment).
  • Develop useful, efficient ways of responding to student writing.
  • Attend two or three sessions of their faculty partners’ classes to assist with the implementation of the formal or informal writing activity.
  • Conduct brief class presentations in their faculty partners’ classes on writing-related modules including such topics as generating and organizing ideas, using and citing sources, and proofreading.
  • Help identify and possibly collect submissions for undergraduate and graduate research journals and forums.
How Faculty Benefit (From the University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Some faculty members have informed us that working with Fellows actually saves them time during the grading process. Others maintain that while they spend the same amount of time, they can concentrate more on issues of course content because Fellows have already talked with students about matters of structure and organization. Several professors have also commented that working with Fellows led them to clarify their goals and expectations for students’ written work and even to revise their own assignments."

What Professors can Expect from Fellows

The students who serve as Writing Fellows are skilled writers who have demonstrated an enthusiasm for thinking and learning about the writing process as well as a commitment to helping their peers. As they write marginal and end comments on student papers, Fellows bear in mind both the general principles they learn about in their training and the specific issues to which they are directed by their supervisor, the Director of Student Learning and the faculty member of record in the course. Their comments do not focus on the content of papers; rather, they accept the content with which a writer presents them and focus their comments and conferences on ways to improve the presentation of that content.

How can I get a Fellow for My Course?

If you're a faculty member at Missouri State University who is interested in securing a Fellow for your course, please contact Michael Frizell, Director of Student Learning Services by email or by calling (417)-836-5006.