Adrianna and Art 2023

Graduate students gain valuable academic and professional experience through a University Writing Center Graduate Assistantship. In addition to developing writing expertise as consultants, UWC Graduate Assistants have written and edited newsletters and stories, created promotional videos, developed online writing resources, presented at regional or national conferences, conducted research, and taught in-class workshops. The UWC works with each GA individually to determine duties that serve both the writing center and the career goals of the student.

Hear It From Us!

Kerry Smith

Kerry Smith (2018-2020)

My assistantship with the University Writing Center has been one of the most influential parts of graduate school. The faculty and undergraduate consultants that make up the Learning Centers community have welcomed me, trained me, and pushed me to grow. It is because of this experience that I have discovered and honed my research interests and built valuable relationships that have immensely impacted my time in graduate school. The faculty here have been mentors and colleagues, and the undergraduate consultants are a wealth of knowledge and experience. There are many opportunities for professional development: whether through leading a small group, faculty-requested class presentations around campus, or training exercises at our all-staff meetings. My time in the UWC has been invaluable and I can’t imagine my JMU experience without it. As a writing center consultant, you will strengthen skills in strategic communication, collaborative problem-solving, active listening, and rhetorical flexibility. No matter where my career leads me, the vital skills development during my assistantship will be applicable and relevant to all my future endeavors.

Taylor Broughfman

Taylor Broughfman (2016-2017)

Working in the UWC has been an incredibly rewarding experience. As an English graduate student, being a tutor has aided in my writing and listening abilities. I can now listen to a client relay their concerns while simultaneously thinking of potential solutions to alleviate their problems. I am more confident in my linguistic knowledge by helping students move past writing stumbling blocks. Watching relief and understanding formulate in a student is one of my favorite moments of being a GA for the UWC.

The skills I've honed here will follow me into my professional career. I would recommend this to any graduate student that enjoys aiding others through writing. There are myriad opportunities to be found here.

Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy (2016-2017)

Being a University Writing Center GA has been a valuable experience for me. As a School Counseling student who doesn't come from an English or writing background, I was nervous that I wouldn't be as good as tutors/GAs who do come from that discipline. On the contrary, it has made me a better writer, reader, and listener.

The assistantship provides you with the training necessary to be an effective tutor, and those fears quickly dissipated for me. This GAship has also made me feel much more connected to the JMU community, as I get a lot of interaction with both the undergrad peer tutors and the undergraduates who need help with their writing. I strongly recommend it to anyone in need of a GA— I've learned a lot and I've had a ton of fun in the process.

Christina Wulf

Christina Wulf (2008-2009)

As an incoming History graduate student, I did not expect to end up a Writing Center consultant. But when my grad advisor suggested it, I was immediately interested. Classroom teaching did not have a strong appeal to me but working with individual students did. I grew particularly attached to the Writing Center's tutoring philosophy of empowering students and facilitating their learning rather than trying to "fix" their work. Most of all, I loved the uniqueness of every tutoring session and the thrill of establishing trust and watching students' confidence increase.

Although I am not directly involved with teaching or tutoring these days, the two years that I worked in the UWC still influence in my life. I approach my own writing projects differently-incorporating strategies that I learned as a tutor and always seeking good outside critique. I also communicate differently. Learning to listen closely, to build trust, to communicate gently with the goal of empowering another person-be it a student or just a fellow human being-has been invaluable.

Michael Critzer

Michael Critzer


When I was accepted into the English MA program at JMU, I hoped that my assistantship would place me as a TA for a professor. My goal was to teach at the college level one day, and I thought a TA position would be the ideal preparation, so needless to say I was disappointed when I learned that I would instead be posted in the writing center.

But the UWC proved to be unlike any writing center I had experienced. Through one-on-one writing consultations with students from campus- wide disciplines, I gained a better understanding of how to reach students than I would have toadying after some jaded departmental professor. I also received opportunities to give presentations on campus, learn leadership skills, and exercise my own unique talents and interests for the center.

When I was later appointed as a course instructor, the professional development and personal growth I experienced at the UWC placed me far ahead of TAs in my ability to relate to and effectively serve my students.

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