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Walden University Writing Center

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Helping the Helpers: The Writing Center and Walden University's Global Days of Service

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The documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? recounting Fred Roger’s long career in public television has generated publicity and praise since it was released in June 2018. Rogers dedicated his life to helping children understand complex concepts such as empathy, tolerance, and inclusion through his television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Although it’s difficult to pinpoint a defining message from Rogers, his thoughts about how adults can help children handle tragic events illustrates one principle of his philosophy:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”
Fred Rogers was a helper who celebrated helpers on his television show, and his message continues to resonate with children and adults. In the Walden University Writing Center, we are grateful to be able to work with the helpers who have dedicated their careers to promoting positive social change in their communities through scholarship at Walden University. Walden scholars contribute to positive social change in a variety of ways, often while balancing coursework, careers, and familial responsibilities.

Global Days of Service at Walden University


To give back to the Walden student community, the Writing Center has created Reviews for Social Change, where students can submit work completed outside of Walden with the goal of positive social change for paper review appointments at the Walden Writing Center. The Reviews for Social Change appointments run from October 15th to October 19th and are part of Walden’s Global Days of Service, so if you’re a Walden student who is writing or has recently written something like a blog post, letter to the editor, scholarship application, article for publication, grant, community resource, pamphlet, or other document to promote social change, we encourage you to make an appointment with us on the Reviews for Social Change myPASS schedule.

In addition to implementing Reviews for Social Change to help Walden scholars, the Walden University Writing Center participates in other center-wide initiatives to support positive social change. In 2017, we partnered with Breakthrough Twin Cities to provide feedback to students on their ACT practice essays. Breakthrough Twin Cities is a multi-year college preparation program for motivated but under-resourced middle and high school students in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and 100% of their class of 2017 graduated in 4 years, with 98% enrolling in post-secondary education. We’re excited to work with Breakthrough Twin Cities again in October 2018.

The Writing Center also participated in the Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon organized by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian Transcription Center, and the Colored Conventions project. After completing the Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon, we hosted another transcribing session in August 2018 and have transcribed 168 pages from the Freedman’s Bureau Papers to date. Anyone can participate in transcribing the Freedman’s Bureau Papers, so you can create an account and begin transcribing if you would like to contribute to better understanding of the post-Civil War era.

Although all of these volunteer projects were undertaken to contribute to positive social change, the desire to help Walden students achieve their academic and career goals so that they can employ those skills to help others is an important motivation of the Walden University Writing Center professionals. Walden students’ dedication to helping others shows in their writing that we see daily in the Writing Center. As we begin our Reviews for Social Change initiative, we are proud to be helping the helpers who make up Walden University’s student population.


Are there any writing-related online volunteer opportunities that we should know about? Please sound off in the comments or let us know how you’re contributing to change in your community!


Katherine McKinney author image

Katherine McKinney is a writing instructor in the Walden University Writing Center. She received an M.A. in English from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at Walden. Katherine's goal as an instructor is to show students that the best writing results from practice, and she aims to provide feedback and resources that will guide students through the invention, composition, and revision process.

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WriteCast Episode 53: Imposter Syndrome and the Student Writer

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If you've ever felt like the worst writer in the room, an academic fake, or an outsider in your degree program, you might have been experiencing imposter syndrome. In today's episode, writing instructor Kacy shares her research on and experience with imposter syndrome as a graduate student, along with tips for how to combat it and gain confidence. Max also makes a special announcement.





You can find this episode by visiting the WriteCast show page on our website, or by searching for WriteCast in your favorite podcast app. Visit the Writing Center's WriteCast page for our episode archive and transcripts. 

Keep Writing. Keep Inspiring!


WriteCast: A Casual Conversation for Serious Writers is a monthly podcast written, produced, and published by staff in the Walden University Writing Center. Join us each month for a dialogue between two experienced and trained writing instructors. Possible episode topics will always be considered from listeners--share your questions and suggestions in the comments. 


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Joining the Conversation: Scholarly Justification for Citation

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Why do APA style standards include a requirement about writers attributing points to their respective sources through proper citation? Many scholarly writers are likely aware of APA standards for citation in relation to avoiding plagiarism. However, proper citation is not only about avoiding plagiarism and giving credit for ideas where credit is due. Citation is also about situating yourself, as a scholar, in your field of study. In this post, let’s take a look at what it means to situate yourself as a scholar in your field of study.

Three persons engaging in a conversation.

When you read and use sources in your field of study, you are entering the academic conversation of those in your field. As such, you are situating yourself in your field of study. For instance, as you read more within your disciplinary field, you become more familiar with some of the terms used in that field to discuss certain concepts. If you are a nursing student, for example, you not only follow APA standards for scholarly writing, you also likely have a certain set of standards in relation to terms and concepts that are specific for your field of study which are used to communicate ideas. Just like there are specific terms and concepts in your field of study, there are scholars in your field of study who have developed and or discussed these specific terms and concepts, creating new arguments by building on the arguments of others.

So, when you acknowledge these scholars in your own work, you are acknowledging that you are familiar with the conversations that have already taken place within your field of study and, in doing so, are able to better situation your own voice within that conversation. For example, imagine what the field of medicine would be like now if the last argument was that doctors and nurses should wash their hands as a precaution against infection? Someone needed to first make the argument and then others in the field needed to build on the concepts behind the argument to simultaneously create new arguments within a field of study and ensure that field of study is alive and fresh with new advances. 

Flash forward to today: You wouldn’t want to be in the field of nursing, for instance, and presume to make an original claim that nurses should wash their hands, right? Doing so would not only not lead to advancements in your field of study, but it would situate you as an outsider to the field, unfamiliar with the discourse and studies that scholars have already conducted. Thus, you would want to know what the most recent scholarly discussion in your field is on this topic, and you would want to use that research to develop your own argument—an argument that can only be supported by acknowledging the relevant arguments on the topic that have already taken place.

Along with the disciplinary expectations for scholarly writing in general (such as following the APA style guide for those in the social sciences), there are also expectations within your own field of study. These expectations include knowing the conversations that have already taken place in your field of study and being able to cite them and build off them with your own, unique critical thinking and contributions to those conversations. In short, by citing others, you simultaneously build your own scholarly credibility and situate yourself as a scholar in your field of study.


What are some other ways you build scholarly credibility in your field of study by following APA style standards? 


Veronica Oliver author pic

Veronica Oliver is a Writing Instructor in the Walden Writing Center. In her spare time she writes fiction, binge watches Netflix, and occasionally makes it to a 6am Bikram Yoga class.

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Thursday Thoughts: Reviews for Social Change

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This year, for Walden’s Global Days of Service, the Writing Center will be opening up paper review appointments for Walden students who are working on documents related to social change that are not part of their coursework or preproposal work. 

Do you have a writing project related to social change? Perhaps you are working on a grant proposal or a letter to legislators—these are just a couple of the potential social change writing documents you might submit from October 15th-19th to the Reviews for Social Change schedule in myPASS. 

Walden University Global Days of Service


Find out more about our Global Days of Service paper review appointments by checking out our paper reviews page or our recent blog

Let us know what social change writing project you are working on! 






The Walden Writing Center provides writing resources and support for all student writers including paper reviews, a podcast, live chat, webinars, modules, and of course a blog.



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Reviews for Social Change: A Writing Center Global Days of Service Initiative

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Each year, Walden University hosts Global Days of Service to encourage Walden faculty and staff members, students, and alumni to participate in service projects in their communities. During October, any person with a connection to Walden is encouraged to partner with community-oriented organizations such as Avenues for Homeless Youth, People Serving People, and other groups that have a goal of creating positive social change. Global Days of Service is the embodiment of Walden’s commitment to positive social change.

Walden University Global Days of Service: Help Make a Difference Today

This year, we at the Walden University Writing Center want to give back to our students who give so much to their communities. To participate in Global Days of Service, the Walden University Writing Center is introducing Reviews for Social Change, an initiative to review Walden students’ writing outside of Walden that is geared toward influencing positive social change.

From October 15th to October 19th, 2018, professional staff members at the Writing Center will review writing projects that Walden students are working on outside of Walden to promote positive social change. For example, students can submit grant proposals, community resources, letters to legislators, scholarship applications, articles for publication, and even blog posts for a paper review during this time period. Any type of writing done outside of Walden that has a goal of producing positive social change can be submitted, although the Writing Center always reserves the right to cancel appointments that do not meet the criteria or follow myPASS policies.

While we’re eager to help out with writing projects that engender positive social change, the Writing Center professionals will be looking at drafts as outside readers rather than content experts. Although writing instructors may not be familiar with a specific genre, they can comment on clarity, voice, flow, style, and other aspects of writing. We want to celebrate and support you in your goals relating to positive social change!

If you’re a Walden student, you can register as a new user in myPASS if necessary and learn more about making appointments. Just remember to use the Reviews for Social Change schedule in myPASS for reviews of writing independent of Walden coursework rather than the Graduate Coursework, Undergraduate Coursework, or Preproposal Schedule. The Reviews for Social Change schedule has already opened for reservation, and appointments are available from October 15th to October 19th. 

If you’re not a Walden student, you can still participate in Global Days of Service by volunteering in your community. Even though Global Days of Service is a Walden initiative, the goal is to loop others in to widen the circle of service. The more people contribute to their communities, the larger the global effect. Have you ever heard the saying that a butterfly fluttering its wings casts a breeze across the globe? If that is the case, then joining hands in helping others creates a bond far beyond a local community. When we raise our hands to help, we lift others so that they can help as well.


Katherine McKinney author image

Katherine McKinney is a writing instructor in the Walden University Writing Center. She received an M.A. in English from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at Walden. Katherine's goal as an instructor is to show students that the best writing results from practice, and she aims to provide feedback and resources that will guide students through the invention, composition, and revision process.

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