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University Writing Center
July 23, 2014

Code of Ethics & Policies

Writing Center Code of Ethics and Policies

All activities conducted in the University Writing Center are based upon the understanding that our primary purpose is to provide free, unbiased, informed writing support and assistance to all members of the UTPA community. Because we believe in the importance of trust between tutors and clients, confidentiality of tutoring sessions is respected. We believe a collaborative relationship between professors, tutors, and students/clients is most conducive to long-term writing development. We strive to fulfill the following code of ethics:

  • We respect the privacy of our clients and of the sessions.
  • We do not comment to students or instructors on the grade a paper received, nor do we speculate on what grade might have been appropriate for a paper.
  • All tutoring is free, and tutors may not receive money for services rendered in the UWC. If a tutor provides free-lance tutoring or editing, those arrangements are made at a location other than the UWC.

Policies regarding ethical use of the University Writing Center’s resources

  • The UWC may be used only by individuals who are part of the UTPA community: undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff.
  • Since writing is a process, tutoring is most effective when a student reflects on the tutor’s suggestions before returning for a second session or a different writing assignment. To facilitate this process, students can only sign up for up to two tutorials per day. The focus of that tutorial will be a portion of a longer single-writing assignment (the tutor may be able to respond to longer portions of shorter assignments in the 30-minute appointment).  Please note that students should avoid coming in with papers due the next period since there is limited opportunity for reflection on the student's part.  
  • Tutors will look at group papers or assignments only if all writers are present at the tutoring session.
  • Tutors do not evaluate professors’ grades or offer suggestions about grades. Grades and evaluations come from the professor.
  • If a tutor suspects plagiarism, the tutorial will end immediately.
  • Tutoring consultations are provided on a drop-in basis. Certain times of the year are busier than others, and a waiting period will occur during peak usage.
  • An average tutoring session lasts 30-45 minutes. If students are waiting, tutors will adhere to a time period of 30 minutes maximum.

Policies governing how University Writing Center tutors will assist students

  • Tutors will offer assistance at any stage of the writing process from brainstorming ideas to polishing and revising final drafts.
  • Tutors will ask questions to prompt thinking and will offer suggestions for improving writing assignments.
  • Tutors may assist the students in understanding the criteria of an assignment and offer feedback about how clearly the student communicates his/her ideas.
  • Tutors are not editors and do not proofread papers, but they will offer assistance in helping the student learn how to correct errors.

Policies regarding student responsibility and making each tutoring session effective:

  • Students must be aware that every writing concern will not be addressed in a single conference, but the tutor will use the allotted time as productively as possible. Tutors respond to papers in a holistic manner and do not serve as editors.
  • Students hold the responsibility of choosing to respond to a tutor's suggestions.
  • Students should bring to the tutorial a copy of the assignment, a copy of the syllabus if relevant information is included, and the professor’s comments.
  • Students with longer assignments (over ten pages) should be prepared to work on the assignment in sections and prepare accordingly.

Policy regarding judicious use of computers

  • Restricted to academic work, computers are available for drop-in use in the tutorial area and in the computer classroom (if not reserved by a faculty member). Students may print one copy of their documents. However, the printer should not be used as a copy machine (multiple copies of the same document). Please consult a lab proctor or aide if you are printing a document of more than 30 pages or more than two copies of any assignment since the proctor must approve the print job before it will be printed.
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