grad writing center

Student Mahvand Khamesian works at the new center

Photographer: Ben Siegel

grad writing center

Samantha Owens reads in the Writing and Research Center

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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New Graduate Writing and Research Center offers student services

Students from all disciplines seeking help on their next paper or in-depth project can now find it at 309 Alden Library. 

On Jan. 21, the Graduate Writing and Research Center opened its doors to graduate and undergraduate students in need of writing and research help.

With funding from the Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery and University College, the center is able to provide new services to students not offered at Alden's Student Writing Center, including two-hour appointments and workshops for graduate students. The center has hired doctoral students and recent Ph.D. graduates in different colleges as tutors. According to Lydia McDermott, the center's assistant coordinator, the tutors also serve as a support system for students.

"Working on a thesis or a dissertation is unlike any other kind of paper that someone would have written in the past," McDermott said. "The idea is that the tutors are peers. Having to go through all this with someone else who's going through that and has completed some of it is encouraging."

Another service provided is the chance for students to connect with subject librarians. Talinn Phillips, assistant professor of English and a center faculty consultant, noted that the librarians are experienced in research methodology and can aid students on the hunt for information.

"We're partnering with subject librarians so that people who have questions about just finding research connected to their topic can get some more attentive help," Phillips said.

The Graduate Writing and Research Center is still growing. Phillips wants to hire more tutors as demand increases and get people involved in writing groups, which would be facilitated by someone from the center.

In addition, the center is currently researching how to develop online support that is accessible to students who are not on campus or take part in online programs. Phillips also plans on developing an intensive dissertation program.

"We're hoping, a year or two down the line, to develop what other schools are calling 'dissertation boot camps,' where students commit to a month or six weeks in the summer and you commit 9 a.m. to 5
p.m. to come in and work on your writing," Phillips said. "There are big blocks of time that are dedicated to writing, and you also have some facilitated instruction."

To make an appointment with the Graduate Writing and Research Center or learn more about its tutors and services, visit For additional questions, contact the center at