UCWbLers as Editors: A New Frontier in DePaul Faculty and Staff Writing Assistance

By October 10, 2011Writing about Writing

As a tutor part-way into my third year at the UCWbL, I have given written feedback on many documents: about 45 of them, according to a quick search of the UCWbL archives. But none have been quite like the most recent in either size or style. As an employee of the UCWbL, a Writing Center tutor, I. . .edited.

And I unabashedly note that I enjoyed every minute of it, blasphemous as some might consider the act of editing within the context of writing center theory and pedagogy, which often encourages minimalist tutoring practices and cautions against being so directive as to change the actual text of a writer’s document in the way that copy or line editing requires.

As a peer tutor at the UCWbL, much of the work I do is Socratic or rhetorical. I ask writers questions about their work in order to prompt their thought process during face-to-face tutorials. During written feedback, I leave notes asking writers to reconsider their phrasing or organization, or suggest ways they could create a more balanced argument. But the only decisions I make are what questions to ask–never how to answer them. Editing allows me to take on the opposite role: to alter or correct the text myself according to my own knowledge and best judgement.

But much like tutoring, editing can be a collaborative process, to the degree that the writer would like it to be. UCWbLers go above and beyond the parameters of mere editing, welcoming faculty and staff to discuss their writing projects with us during any stage of the writing process, from idea development and organization, to clarification, to editing phrasing and punctuation in the final drafting stages.

On a personal level, acquiring editing projects through the UCWbL has been immensely beneficial to my professional development. As I seek full-time employment in the copy-writing and editing field, I am grateful for opportunity to hone my practice through the work I complete for members of the DePaul community.

One such staff member, Brian Schrank, graciously allowed me to include sections of his text I worked on in my editing portfolio. Schrank, an assistant professor in the College of Computing and Digital Media, remarks that “the writing assistance program at DePaul has been a godsend for me. As a PhD graduate, I’ve experienced the writing support centers at several institutions in my professional work. None come close to the level of concrete support I’ve received here at DePaul. I can’t recommend using this service strongly enough.”

DePaul faculty and staff who are interested in collaborating with UCWbL staff on an editing project should submit queries to UCWbL Director Lauri Dietz. Lauri can be reached by email at ldietz@depaul.edu or by phone at 773-325-8353.

We are only able to provide editing assistance on books that are under contract or articles that have been accepted for publication; however, we are always able to provide feedback on any writing project in a Writing Center tutorial. Editing project turnaround time will be determined on a case-by-case basis, but we generally require 6 weeks of lead time for monographs and 3 weeks for articles. UCWbL staff also have experience editing multi-lingual texts, which we welcome and will accommodate whenever the abilities of our staff allow.