handbook: welcome

Welcome to the Program

Welcome to the Writing Fellows Program! This teaching and learning initiative, co-sponsored by the Writing Center and the College of Letters and Science Pathways to Excellence Project, places undergraduates like you in positions of intellectual leadership, in which you serve as role models for your peers, gain invaluable experience in writing and reading, and work together to improve the quality of writing instruction on campus. We’re delighted that you have accepted this challenge.

Program Philosophy

Two beliefs underlie this program. The first is that collaboration among peers is an especially effective mode of learning. The second is that all writers, no matter how accomplished, can improve their writing by sharing work in progress and revising based on constructive criticism. As a Writing Fellow, you will promote active dialogue between writers and readers and encourage your peers to see revision as a crucial part of all successful writing.


You will work closely all semester with a group of 10 – 16 students in a Communications-B or writing-intensive course, under the guidance of a professor who has chosen to participate in the program. The professor will require his or her students to submit drafts of assigned papers to you at least two weeks before the papers are due for a grade. During that time you will read the drafts, write comments on them, and hold individual conferences with students. When students turn in their papers to the professor to be graded, they will submit both their revised drafts and the earlier draft with your comments.

Your role is to facilitate good writing, not to serve as a judge. You’ll focus on helping students write more clearly and effectively, but you will not grade papers. You are not expected to be a specialist in the subject area of the course in which you are working or to answer questions about the course content. Your job is to make suggestions for revision and help student writers express their ideas as effectively as possible.


As a Writing Fellow, you will:

  • Meet with professors
  • Go to your assigned class to meet the students
  • Collect, read, and comment on student drafts
  • Schedule and conduct one-on-one conferences with students
  • Treat student writing with respect and confidentiality
  • Conduct yourself with promptness and professionalism when interacting with professors and students
  • Be willing and eager to define and explain your role as a Writing Fellow to the students with whom you work
  • Attend required staff meetings and ongoing education sessions
  • Be an ambassador for the program

Writing Fellows Program Administrators

Emily Hall, the director of the Writing Fellows Program, directs and administers the Program and teaches English 316, the special Fellows seminar on tutoring writing. Emily earned her Ph.D. in English literature at UW – Madison, where she has taught composition and literature for over fifteen years. Her scholarly interests include tutoring writing, feminist theory, and Victorian literature. She would be happy to hear from you if you have questions or concerns, and she can be reached in her office (room 6163), at 263 – 3754 or by e-mail at ebhall@wisc.edu.

Cydney Alexis, the assistant director of the Writing Fellows Program, assists Emily in the administration of the program, mentors Fellows, and coordinates Fellows’ Ongoing Education sessions. Cydney completed her law degree at UW – Madison in 2005 and is now working on her Ph.D. in Composition in Rhetoric. She has taught English for over ten years and also assistant directed English 100. Her scholarly interests include material culture studies and writing process research. Her office is 6161, and you can reach her at 263-2946 or by e-mail at cydneyalexis@gmail.com.

Brad Hughes, together with Jean Lutes, founded the Writing Fellows Program in the fall of 1997 and continues to help oversee it. He consults with faculty participants and coaches Fellows on how to help student writers improve. Brad, who has been teaching at UW – Madison for over twenty years, is the director of the Writing Center and the director of the L;amp&S Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Program. Brad welcomes your questions, concerns, and ideas about the Fellows program. He can be reached in his office (room 6187F), at 263 – 3823, or by e-mail at bthughes@wisc.edu.

Terry Maggio is the university services program associate B (no kidding!) for the UW-Madison Writing Center. Terry received her masters in Journalism from the University of Iowa and has worked for pay for the American Cancer Society and the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Board and for free for her husband’s dental clinic and disaster relief efforts. At the Writing Center, Terry creates publicity materials, schedules classes, remodels tired facilities, and juggles budgets, and she’s proud to say she never backs away from a good fight with Physical Plant. Terry and Paul are the parental units of three daughters who have taught them much, including the UW’s alumni dirge, Varsity. When not working, eating in and eating out, sailing, gardening and sudokuing, one often can find Terry on the sidewalks of Madison trailing behind her goofy Rhodesian ridgeback, Nala.

Rachael McCormick and Kelly Kopish, the Undergraduate Assistant Directors (UADs), organize community-building and social activities for current Fellows, help lead some ongoing education sessions, publicize the Writing Fellows program on campus, help recruit students to apply to be Writing Fellows, and participate fully in the selection process for new Fellows.