The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
About The Writing Center
A Message from the Director

From the Director

Welcome!

The staff of the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison cordially welcomes you to our web site! We’re pleased that you’re visiting, and we hope that you find information and advice here that help you with your writing.

Since its start as the Writing Laboratory in 1969, the Writing Center at Madison has helped literally tens of thousands of University of Wisconsin students, both undergraduate and graduate, learn more about writing and has helped them successfully complete course papers, theses, dissertations, and articles for publication — in all sorts of academic disciplines. To provide this help, we offer an extensive range of individual instruction, non-credit classes, curricular-based writing tutors (Undergraduate Writing Fellows), and instructional materials.

Why does the UW-Madison Writing Center exist? And why should anyone need the kind of help that it provides? What, after all, is the point of all this?

There are several answers (forgive our brief philosophizing and self-justification!) —

First of all, no one — no one! — learns all there is to learn about writing once and for all. When you’re ready, we’re ready to help you learn more about

student public art, 6176 White
  • writing a response paper
  • organizing a complex argument
  • handling evidence that contradicts your argument
  • reviewing published literature as part of your research
  • writing a book review
  • acknowledging your debts to other sources
  • choosing and using a particular documentation system
  • adding semicolons to your punctuation repertoire
  • and much, much more . . .

Second, some of the best writing instruction is individualized. What you need to hear and learn about your writing differs from what other writers need. In fact, one of the defining principles of our Writing Center is that we tailor our instruction to each student’s needs.

And third, good writers talk about their writing in progress. They share drafts of their work with trusted readers who care about helping them achieve their goals. You need feedback from readers to answer important questions like these:

  • “Have I proven my argument?”
  • “Do I have a discernible argument?”
  • “Do I need to develop one?”
  • “Are my main points clear?”
  • “Is my draft effectively organized?”
  • “Have I responded to the assignment?”
  • “Is my style effective, and is it appropriate for my audience?”

The instructors at the Madison Writing Center are, above all, experienced, knowledgeable, and challenging readers — all of whom are active writers themselves. As they respond to your work in progress, they can help you answer these questions and learn to ask many others. Students regularly tell us that we’re just the kind of readers that they need. For more information about how we can help you, take a look at What We Can Do for You, Online Conferences, The Writing Consultant, and Instruction via Email.

In short, the 100 of us who teach and work in Writing Center programs are all committed to helping you become the best writer you can be and to helping you succeed with the academic writing you have to do at the University. We hope you’ll get to know us and take advantage of the instruction we offer, as some 7,000 students — from first-year undergraduates to doctoral students — do every year.

Like all writers, we know that what we’ve produced here can — and should — be improved. We hope you’ll take the time to let us know what you think of what we’ve done. We’d welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions. You can send us feedback by using our feedback form or by addressing email to wcenter@writing.wisc.edu.

— Brad Hughes (bthughes@wisc.edu)

Director, Writing Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison