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Writing Fellows

 For Faculty

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What Is the Writing Fellows Program?

The Undergraduate Writing Fellows Program brings together talented undergraduate writers and dedicated faculty members to improve student writing in a variety of disciplines and to establish a culture of writing and revision at Nazarbayev University. This three-semester fellowship prepares students across all majors to serve as undergraduate peer writing tutors, or Writing Fellows, who in turn work with other students to help them become better writers through dialog and collaboration.

This interactive approach to writing allows student writers to be active participants in their learning; with Writing Fellow support, they can identify areas where they need the most improvement in their writing and learn strategies to help them not only write better papers, but become strong, independent writers and learners.


All Writing Fellows are trained to write insightful and critically constructive comments, which they are able to do because they are careful, analytical readers. They are not TAs or substitutes for professors; while they may not have subject expertise, they are educated, inquisitive readers who can help student writers more clearly express their analysis, arguments, ideas, etc. Whereas student writers bring their content knowledge to the table, Writing Fellows bring their expertise in writing, thus creating a balanced, intellectual partnership of mutual learning.


When Writing Fellows collaborate with undergraduate student writers and faculty mentors, they uphold the university’s graduate attributes by becoming open-minded, thoughtful, and innovative communicators who are committed to social and ethical responsibilities as intellectual leaders.

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Am I Eligible to Request the Help of a Writing Fellow?

You are eligible to request a Writing Fellow if:

  • You are teaching a course with 2 major writing assignments (8-10 pages).

  • You will have at least 12 students enrolled in your course (each Fellow sees about 10-12 students, so a class of 36 students will have 3 Fellows).

  • You are willing to adjust your syllabus to allow time for revision and to require that all enrolled students work with the assigned Fellow(s).

  • You are willing to meet regularly with the assigned Fellow(s) to discuss assignments.

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How Does it Work?

The Process:

  1. Students will submit drafts of their papers to you, which you will then give to your Writing Fellow(s) two weeks before the final assignment due date.

  2. Writing Fellows will then read, comment, and meet one-on-one with students to discuss strategies for revision and improvement.

  3. Students will revise the paper based on suggestions from the comments and the consultation.

  4. They will turn in their final version and their draft with the Fellow’s comments on the assignment due date.

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What Are the Benefits of Working with a Writing Fellow?


When you work with Writing Fellows, you have dedicated writing tutors for your students, allowing you to concentrate more on evaluating the content of student papers. Writing Fellows can also assist you in clarifying assignment goals and expectations for draft and final assignments. Faculty members who have worked with Writing Fellows often report that students who commit to working with Writing Fellows do better in terms of their writing content and structure.

“Writing fellows are great additions to classes! It can be challenging to integrate instruction about writing with instruction about the topic of your course. ... [You] benefit because you get better papers and because you can focus on teaching skills in your subject area…”

 -Dr. Erika Alpert, Department of Sociology & Anthropology

“[The involvement of the Writing Fellow] was helpful in communicating to students that writing is a multi-step process that involves reflection and revision. In my comments on final drafts, I often cited the feedback provided by the fellow on the rough draft, highlighting where the student had been effective in building on comments or where they had ignored what I thought were valuable suggestions. It also helped me to think about these papers as being written to a larger audience than just me as a professor.”

- Dr. Gabriel McGuire, Spring 2020, Department of Languages, Linguistics and Literature

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What Can I Expect from a Writing Fellow?

Writing Fellows are first and foremost writing tutors, meaning that they work explicitly with writing organization and structure and not course content. Writing Fellows read student drafts and craft constructive end-note commentary for students to review before meeting with them for a 30-minute consultation to discuss the comments. This consultation is paramount to the writing process as it provides students with ideas for moving forward in their writing and strategies for being a better writer overall.


To that effect, Writing Fellows expect full participation and engagement from students - what might be misconstrued as passiveness may actually be them providing their students with an opportunity to work through their questions and try out new strategies. Briefly, here is a list of what Writing Fellows do and don’t do:


What Fellows Do  

  • Writing Fellows comment on and meet with students for 2 papers.

  • Writing Fellows write detailed end-note and marginal constructive comments for student drafts that are submitted on time.

  • Writing Fellows meet with students to discuss these comments and to help students develop strategies for better writing.


What Fellows Don’t Do

  • Fellows do not attend classes or address course content. While they may have some familiarity with the discipline, they will encourage your students to speak with you about any content-related questions.

  • Fellows do not address grammar errors (unless they impede comprehension) as their training does not focus on constructive strategies for language learning and correction.

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What Do Writing Fellows Need from Faculty?

The Writing Fellows are bright, resourceful, and active learners, but they will need your guidance, support, and consideration, which you can provide as follows:

  • Be sure your students understand that the Writing Fellows are an integral part of your course.The more clearly your students understand what Fellows do, how valuable you hold their contributions, and how crucial working with them is to their success, the more seriously they’ll work with their Fellows.

  • Keep the lines of communication open and active. Please check in with the Fellows as they may have questions, concerns, and needs for advice, and respond promptly to their emails and be available to meet.

  • Establish clear policies and stick to them. For the cycle of drafts, conferences, and revisions to work, we need clear policies on late drafts, extensions, and attendance at conferences. Please establish these with your Fellows at your first meeting, make sure that your students know what the policies are, and hold to them through the term.

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News and Events

No announcements at this time.

Check the WCP Homepage for updates.

Contact Us

For additional information contact:

Karie Pieczynski at 

Ti Wu at

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