The Virtual Writing Center supports students’ growth as writers in furtherance of Antioch University’s core mission: learner-centered education that empowers students to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, racial, economic and environmental justice.
VWC Philosophy and Values
The VWC strives to support Antioch students throughout their programs by welcoming and supporting all writers to express themselves in their academic work. Our feedback is structured around peer readership to foster collaborative learning, and framed with the principle of respecting individual writers and voices. The VWC is committed to language diversity and furthering antiracism at Antioch by understanding and advocating against linguistic discrimination. Similarly, the VWC is committed to inclusive support for writers of all abilities by adapting our feedback to writers’ individual needs. Finally, the VWC is dedicated to ongoing growth in our own practice and to confidentiality in our feedback to writers.
We aim to create an environment where all student writers feel supported in their growth and successful in their writing goals. We help students to use their developing writing skills to clearly express themselves and encourage them to continue developing those skills. We hope to empower students through their writing by helping them learn what works best for them in their academic and writing processes. We want student writers of all backgrounds and writing levels to feel welcomed and supported in their goals and feel that writing, writing resources, and support are available and inclusive.
We strive to foster a process of co-construction, collaboration, and effective support for all writers by adapting our support to individuals’ needs, providing support through multiple modes and with a broad intended audience. We want student writers to feel that their writing is being supported by an understanding, compassionate, and dedicated team of peer tutors.
We especially recognize that when you submit work to the VWC, it is, by its nature, incomplete, and we strive to read your writing with respect and humility. In particular, we value the safe conversation that can be had between peers when the approach is collaborative rather than evaluative. We structure our feedback around the authentic response of a reader, rather than focusing on “correctness” or the role of an expert. Peer feedback is qualitatively different from faculty feedback because of that reader response: therefore we will respond to your work by questioning and encouraging growth, and never by evaluating or grading. The reading of a peer offers you important information about the clarity, focus, and effectiveness of your writing, and peer consultants in the VWC also bring a deep knowledge and experience of writing at Antioch to their work.
We work to offer suggestions that will help each writer increase their skills and meet their own particular goals for their writing and process. We endeavour to frame our feedback in a responsive way that attends to diverse learning styles and cultural considerations. Our intention is to meet the needs of each writer regardless of where they are in their process.
When you submit your work to the VWC we want you to feel respected and safe to be authentic in your writing without judgment.
We are committed to valuing and encouraging the diversity of Englishes used by writers of many races, nationalities, and cultural backgrounds. We recognize, with the consensus of academic disciplines such as linguistics and composition, that there is no single “correct” way to write in English, and that all writers have a right to use their own linguistic backgrounds in their work.
We also recognize the historic and ongoing discrimination in the evaluation of language and writing, especially through the prioritization of affluent White ideas of grammar and correctness, and the devaluing of other varieties of English, particularly those spoken by Black Americans. We see how embedded biases and practices continue to enable gatekeeping and exclusion in American academic communities today, including at Antioch.
As a consequence, the Virtual Writing Center is committed to working transparently with writers around elements of language diversity. We aim both to help students navigate oppressive elements in academic writing standards, and to dismantle and repair those oppressive elements in our community.
We are committed to welcoming and empowering student writers with all abilities and needs. We commit to regularly examining our supports and systems in collaboration with Antioch Disability Support Services, the Antioch Libraries, Academic Technology, the office of Academic Affairs, and individual academic programs. Through this work we strive to meet student needs and follow the most current best practices of Universal Design.
Our goal in the VWC is to provide you with respectful and collaborative support, share valuable insight into your writing, and recognize you as the expert of your own writing-related needs and goals. In order to achieve these commitments, we strive towards continuous positive growth and an openness to feedback on ways in which we can improve.
- We encourage you to tell us what learning approaches you prefer, and we will always do our best to provide support in a way that works well for you.
- We will work with you to meet your needs to the best of our capacity, including by helping you connect with other Antioch support staff such as librarians and student disability services coordinators.
- If you notice a way we can better meet the support needs of Antioch students through our submission platform, our feedback, or our online resources, we welcome your suggestions through this anonymous form; or you can email us directly at [email protected].
We strive for our practice in the VWC to be open to change and feedback from student writers. We are always interested to know how we may improve our methods and practices. Our intent is to be growth-oriented in assessing new ways to meet the needs of students through a variety of media. We will work to challenge inequality that exists within the academic system, dismantle systems of oppression, and offer insight and support to help writers navigate those issues in their academic practice.
All VWC administrators and work-study staff are bound by FERPA and will not communicate with other students or with anyone outside the University about you specifically or the content of your submissions.
Within the VWC, all work-study staff potentially have access to your submissions, since the person who responds to a first draft, for example, may not be the same person who responds to the second. However, it is VWC policy that none of the work-study staff communicate about you or your work outside of the VWC – that includes communicating with your faculty.
FERPA does allow VWC administrative staff (the Director or Coordinator) to communicate with faculty or other University staff about a particular writer or their work when necessary, with the goal of better supporting that writer. This is usually only when someone is in need of extra support, and usually when we are engaged in a larger conversation with the faculty and student both. We do not contact faculty simply to report or prove who is using the VWC.