Frequently Asked Questions


Question?

Please be sure to contact us with any additional questions this page may not answer.

Graduate Students

For questions specific to our graduate services, visit our Graduate Services FAQ.

Presentations

To learn more about requesting a presenation, check out the Presentations FAQ.

Students

Our mission is to help UT Austin students become more proficient, more versatile, and more confident in their writing abilities

The UWC can assist you at any point in the writing process, from brainstorming to final revisions. We can work with any kind of writing, including personal statements and other non-course related projects.

We use a non-directive, non-evaluative approach to writing. This means we focus on having a conversation about your work and your writing goals. We do not edit, proofread, or rewrite papers.

Please bring your prompt and any work that you have. We do not need a paper copy of your writing.

You may bring your own computer or use a Mac at the UWC.

In general, UT undergraduates can visit up to 3 times per assignment. You may visit up to twice a day for two different assignments. You may visit only once per day, per assignment.

If a consultee is more than five minutes late, their appointment may be canceled or given away to another student. When late arriving to an appointment, students should check in at the front desk anyway.

Yes, our goal is to help students grow as writers. We want to be supportive of all writers. Our new space has enabled us to expand the accommodations we can offer to students with disabilities. For more information on our accommodations, visit our Accessibility page.

Yes! The UWC now welcomes UT graduate students from all disciplines. We offer individual consultations, retreats, writing groups, and more. Click here to learn about our services for graduate writers.

To schedule a graduate consultation, please call 512-471-6222.

Yes! Every member of the group must be present.
Please visit our Jobs page for more information.

Student associate positions are posted on Hire a Longhorn.


Faculty

While we understand the motivation, there are two reasons we ask instructors not to require consultations. First, we have observed that students who are required to attend are not as motivated and get very little out of a consultation. Second, because we are so busy, sometimes students who want to come to the UWC can’t because the appointment times are taken up by other students who don’t want to be here.

By all means, please strongly encourage students to use our services, but do not require them to come for consultations. If you wish to expose your entire class to our services, request an in-class UWC presentation, or have students attend one of our workshops.

A lot of things fall under the general heading plagiarism. Not all of them need to be handled the same way.

The most obvious form of plagiarism is collusion, where a student has turned in a paper written by someone else. Certainly in cases of collusion, you will want to contact Student Judicial Services to decide how to proceed.

Other things that fall under the general heading plagiarism are instances where students haven’t cited sources properly. In these cases it may be useful to consider the question “Why not?” Citing sources is a learned activity, and students’ learning about it varies. Even students who know how to follow the rules of a particular citation style, such as MLA, probably do not know the appropriate citation methods for all of their college courses. Citation styles can be particularly tricky for students who come from other cultures, which may have different conventions about how authorities are treated in paper, and different assumptions about what audiences know and don’t know. Frequently, students try to document sources correctly but make mistakes.

There’s only one way to be sure students know what to cite and how to cite it correctly in your field: Teach them. If you give them opportunities to try, fail, and get it right before turning in a major assignment, you will have far fewer instances of sloppy citation on a final draft. The UWC can help. If your assignment indicates which style guide students should follow, our consultants can help them learn to cite sources correctly.

Occasionally professors ask us if we can recommend an online tool to check for plagiarism. In our experience, the best tool is Google. Dr. Susan Schorn, Writing Program Coordinator in Undergraduate Studies, has run a number of tests that prove that Google is better at identifying replicated text than TurnItIn and similar products (which also have a high rate of false positives). Rather than running entire batches of papers through TurnItIn, you can copy passages that you suspect may be plagiarized and run them through Google.

The following pages from the websites of the Department of Rhetoric & Writing, University of Texas Libraries, and Undergraduate Studies provide resources to help you prevent plagiarism in your classes and handle cases that arise.

Plagiarism & Collusion, from the Department of Rhetoric & Writing

Prevent Plagiarism from UT Libraries

UWC Presentations is a specialized project group in the University Writing Center. We provide cross-disciplinary writing support for undergraduate writers as well as specialized pedagogical training for the instructors and TAs of undergraduate courses. Click here for more information, including how to schedule a presentation for your class.
We provide two presentations for for TAs:

Responding to Student Writing (45-50min)
In the Undergraduate Writing Center, many of our consultants and administrative staff members are also instructors at UT Austin. Accordingly, in addition to supporting student writers, we also offer support for instructors and teaching assistants who are responsible for responding to student writing. Our 45-50 minute Responding to Student Writing presentation outlines strategies that instructors and teaching assistants can use to maximize the effectiveness of the feedback they give their students. Please request your Responding to Student Writing at least two weeks in advance.

Presentation and Workshop Training Sessions (45-50min)
UWC Presentations can train instructors and TAs to deliver any of our presentations or workshops, and can provide supplemental materials, such as Peer Review worksheets or UWC Handouts, to help with the presentation or workshop. Presentation and Workshop Training Sessions are ideal for instructors of multi-section courses who want to offer their students UWC writing support while simultaneously providing their TAs with extra pedagogical training.

Simply decide what presentation or workshop you’d like the training to focus on and request the training session at least two weeks in advance. Visit our Presentations page for more information.