Faculty with questions about any facet of using writing to teach can now send queries to

Potential topics include:
Responding/Commenting on Student Work
Handling Suspected Plagiarism
Designing Assignments
In-class Writing Exercises
and more.

Our answers will draw upon best practices and latest thinking and scholarship in the field of Writing Studies.

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The Writing Center Is Available to Help Your Students With Writing Throughout the Disciplines

The following is authored by theCo-Directors of Hofstra’s Writing Center, Dr. Lisa Dresner and Dr. Daisy Miller. ( and

Hofstra’s Writing Center is available to help your students with all kinds of writing projects across various academic disciplines, both in our main office (102 Mason Hall) and in our satellite center in Axinn Library (201G Axinn). Feel free to send us your students at any level–from first-year students to Ph.D. candidates–for assistance with any type of writing, including lab reports, papers, job/internship application letters, personal statements for graduate and professional school applications, and dissertations.

Our faculty, graduate fellows, and undergraduate peer tutors are happy to support your students in any part of the writing process, including brainstorming for ideas, strengthening arguments, organizing thoughts, improving paragraph structure, quoting and citing effectively, editing for style, proofreading for correctness, and revising work in progress. Our goal is to give your students the skills they need to feel more confident about becoming effective writers.

We have also recently partnered with several reference librarians from Axinn Library to offer assistance with research at all levels on Monday and Tuesday afternoons at the Writing Center. Feel free to send your students for research help with anything from short research papers to masters’ theses/dissertations. Research appointment slots are clearly marked “For Research Help ONLY” on the Writing Center schedule.

Remember that the Writing Center also serves faculty, staff, and alumni, so feel free to sign up for any assistance with your own research and writing projects as well!

To make an appointment, go to and click on the “schedule an appointment” button. Hit “click here to register” and fill out the one-time registration form. Then, log in with your e-mail and the password you’ve selected. Any open white space is either a free research appointment (marked “For Research Help ONLY” or a free tutoring appointment (marked with the tutor’s name). Click to make the appointment.

If you and/or your students have difficulty registering, feel free to stop by 102 Mason Hall (M-F, 10AM-5PM) or 201G Axinn (evenings and weekends) for assistance. You can also call 516-463-4908 during the day on weekdays.

Please let us know if there are other services you’d like to see offered by the Writing Center. Just send an e-mail to and, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

–Dr. Daisy Miller and Dr. Lisa Dresner, Co-Directors, Hofstra Writing Center

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Considering Your Capstone

Want to read better capstone essays at the end of the term?

If you archive work from previous terms, you might take a look and see if there are pitfalls you can help your current students avoid.

Listed below are some other ideas for things you might ask your students to do now or in the coming weeks to get in position to submit better written work down the road.

–Ask students to submit a written summary of a key source, including the source’s argument along with evidence. Students might submit these each week or so, and later compile them into a longer annotated bib.

–Ask students to write up a key problem or controversial issue related to the course—ideally some locus of legitimate disagreement where students can decide which view they accept and make their own case.

–Students might write up a critique, or any sort of reaction, to a particular source.

–Is there a particular piece of the capstone essay in your course that students tend to fumble, or struggle with? Can you abstract it and let them take a crack at it now in a non-grade or low-stakes grade format?

–How might you divide, plot, or stage the tasks in your capstone, and spread them in some shape or form over the rest of the term?

These are ways to give students a jump on thinking about, and drafting their final projects. Along the way, you can critique the writing based on criteria you want to emphasize, or that seem necessary for particular students.

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Reflecting on the Ways of Writing at Hofstra

WAC gives as good as it gets.

In January 2013, WSC faculty shared a writing-across-the-curriculum retreat with interested Hofstra faculty and administrators representing the three divisions of HCLAS – social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences.

It was a fruitful exchange in many ways.  WSC faculty presented their experiences and research about best practices used to engage student writers, and HCLAS faculty were invited to do the same.

Like all good conversations, the contents of our meeting stayed with me as the spring semester began.  I was sure that I needed to hear and record more of the attendees’ conversation.  (For the first day of the retreat, I tweeted the group’s conversation, but as you may know, tweets have a short shelf life, and most of mine @HofstraWAC are already unavailable.)

Given the insistent pull on my consciousness, that something more needed to be said or written, I planned a project for the students in my Advanced Writing class to interview and video Hofstra faculty in the liberal arts asking them the same six questions about what faculty in their discipline value in student writing.  The students crafted six questions relevant to the writing goals of faculty, as follows:

1.  Are you a writer?

2.  What role does writing play in your classroom?

3.  Do you require a specific format for your writing assignments, and if so, what is it?

4.  Throughout the writing process, do you encourage revision?

5.  Do you give feedback on writing assignments?

6.  Why might it be important for students to know how to write in a general sense, both in the academy and post-graduation?  (In what ways is it valuable for students to understand diverse writing genres?)

The students edited the interviews to represent what they learned about the ways of writing in the three divisions of HCLAS.   I initiated this project with the hope of adding new faculty interviews each year, and I can imagine a number of uses for this project after it has been refined over time (i.e. in support of cultivating writing at Hofstra generally and in the transfer of skills from one discipline to the next).  For my purposes this term, the project served as a small taste of ethnographic research for these advanced students.  The other immediate benefit is the generous collaboration of Hofstra faculty with students in support of writing.   I am extremely grateful for the time and talents of the faculty and student collaborators.

The students blogged about their experiences learning about the textual values of the different disciplinary representatives.  You can read their remarks on their blogs, linked to the blogroll on the course blog at  They learned a lot; I learned a lot.  I share this with you now to keep this important conversation about the respective values of writing in the disciplines going.  Feel free to comment here on the Hofstra WAC blog.

All around, this was a great start to a long-term project reflecting on the ways of writing at Hofstra.

Following are links to the four videos and select writing portions from the students’ blogs.


Social Sciences I

(featuring Terry Godlove, Amy Karofsky, Warren Frisina, and Judith Tabron)

Social Sciences II

(featuring Oskar Pineno, Stavros Valenti, and Simon Doubleday)

Natural Sciences

(featuring Jason Williams, Sabrina Sobel, and J. Bret Bennington)


(featuring Vim Pasupathi, Laurie Fendrich, Craig Rustici, and Frank Gaughan)

Respectfully contributed,

Ethna Dempsey Lay

With my dedicated students

Gina Arfi, Kelcie Birsner, Danielle Hall, Krista Miller, Alex Phipps, Alina Rufrano, Elissa Salamy, Sarah Sicard and Celia Sonnier

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WAC Workshop Common Hour April 17

A new Writing Across the Curriculum Workshop –

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Teaching Grammar But Were Afraid to As

  • April 17th – Common Hour
  • Brower Hall – 201

Are you frustrated by grammatical errors in your students’ papers?  This workshop will cover strategies for teaching your students quick grammar lessons that may help them improve their grammatical skills.

The content will be chosen according to participants’ interests, but may include teaching students about fragments, run-on sentences, the differences between colons and semi-colons, the differences between hyphens and dashes, dangling modifiers, comma placement rules, and more.  Please indicate any areas of particular interest ahead of time by e-mailing

Light refreshments will be served.

Please reserve your place with

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More Why WAC

Nice essay from IHE on the need for and value of WAC.

For the nitty gritty, skip down to the bullet points.


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WAC Retreat: Jan 7 and 8

The inaugural WAC Retreat will take place January 7-8, 2013. We’ll meet from 10am-3pm in Hofstra’s Writing Center: Mason 102. 

 To register, or for more information, contact Hofstra’s Director of WAC, Dan Cole:

Click here for the workshop agenda.

Resources: All participants will receive a copy of John Bean’s book Engaging Ideas.  We will also make use of selected articles, linked in the resources tab, above.

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