James Madison University's Writing Fellows Program pairs advanced undergraduate writing tutors with courses in a variety of disciplines. In these classes, writing fellows help lead writing workshops, deliver mini-lessons, hold individual student conferences, and collaborate on assignment design.

Students, instructors and writing fellows all benefit, since the Writing Fellows Program enhances teaching and learning. Writing fellows act as liaisons between professors and students but hold no grading responsibilities. Students, in particular, value the peer interaction, the increased feedback, and the unique perspective a seasoned tutor can provide. Simultaneously, the writing fellow's perspective on assignments and general course progress enriches the instructor's pedagogy. This dynamic exchange between multiple classroom authorities boosts the level of instruction.

In 2010, Lead Peer Tutor Mike Kern piloted the writing fellows program with WRTC 211: Written Argumentation, a class composed primarily of writing majors and minors. Mike participated in one class per week, acting as a peer mentor and peer educator. Through hands-on experiences in the classroom and discussions with the course instructor, he gained experience in assignment design, grading practices, and classroom management. The participating faculty member found the experience to be enlightening: she was able to create more effective assignments based on Mike's feedback, and she gained a new perspective on students' needs and interests.

Since then, UWC Writing Fellows have brought years of tutoring and writing experience to classes across campus. Writing fellows have supported courses in Biology, Education, Engineering, History, Integrated Science and Technology, Media Arts and Design, Nursing, Philosophy and Religion, Psychology, Social Work, and WRTC, as well as the General Education program and JMU Teach.

To learn more about the Writing Fellows Program or to request a writing fellow, faculty can contact Writing Fellows Coordinator Laura Schubert at schubelk@jmu.edu.

Hear It From Us!

Kody Sharp

Kody Sharp
(writing fellow)

As a CSD major pursuing a career in Audiology, you can understand my concern when I was placed as a Fellow in a junior-level engineering course. However, my experience with the Writing Fellows program has proved nothing short of a wonderful learning opportunity. Spending time with students and faculty to develop the curriculum challenged me to further develop my own research & technical writing skills, as well as improve my interpersonal skills on an individual and group basis. In addition to my own learning, the follow-up with tutees and their progress in their writing gave me immediate feedback into what strategies worked and did not work. I would say the Writing Fellows program has been the single best thing to happen to my own writing and tutoring abilities.

Caroline Prendergast

Caroline Prendergast
(writing fellow)

I had the opportunity to work as a writing fellow in two courses in the psychology department. The program provides an important way for us to create links between our work in the UWC and the efforts of faculty and staff across campus. Further, it enables us to reach students where they are—directly in their classrooms—in order to introduce them to the resources and support we can provide. My time as a writing fellow was a transformative experience in my undergraduate career, ultimately leading me to conduct exploratory research on the benefits and uses of the program.

Picture of Paul Loman

Paul Loman
(former writing fellow)

I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work as a writing fellow for the past three semesters. It's a unique position to hold because it pins you directly between students and instructors. As a fellow, I've learned in the classroom along with the students, tutored outside of class, taught mini-lectures about writing, collaborated with instructors on assignments, and led workshops. I know that my experience as a fellow has helped inform my desire to teach in the future.

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