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Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Thursday Thoughts: New year, New Writing Goals

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What do you have your sights set on for the new year? 

 A man looking out at the horizon with a telescope

Why not aim for signing up for our paper review service where you can receive individualized asynchronous paper review feedback! New Year, new writing goals.


Walden University Writing Center: A higher degree. A higher purpose.

The Walden University Writing Center
 provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the Writing Center's webpages. The Writing Center supports students through all stages of their writing process and develops the writer as well as the writing.


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Year-In-Review: Walden University Writing Center 2017

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As 2017 comes to a close, we in the Writing Center are reflecting on our services for the Walden community this past year: what new offerings we have created and new staff we have added, and how we have organized our center to best meet student writing needs. One change we made later in the year is that our spectrum of services is now distinguished as two offices, the Office of Writing Instruction and the Office of Academic Editing. We asked the managers of these two offices to capture the year in review for their teams.

Title image for this blog post with text and a picture of a person checking their phone.

We began by asking what were the top three questions students asked and what resources the team provides to answer those questions. For managers of the Office of Academic Editing, Tobias Ball and Kelly Chermack, who oversee support for doctoral students at the proposal and final capstone stage and the final form and style review, the top question was about formatting the final manuscript for publication in ProQuest. Both Walden and ProQuest have publication guidelines, and the editors have created templates that have built-in styles for all the formatting specifications. The templates include instructions, and a short video on working in the template is also available. The form and style checklist also provides formatting guidance.

Another frequently asked question is how students can become more effective editors of their own writing. To assist with this, the editors host live editing tutorials through the Walden Capstone Writing Community and also present a webinar entitled Revising and Self-Editing a Doctoral CapstoneUnderstanding the writing expectations for a doctoral capstone is another common question for students. To help, the editors have created an entire website dedicated to understanding not only the writing expectations for doctoral-level writing but also the expectations for the final form and style review. A few webinars also address this question: Transitioning From Coursework to Doctoral Capstone Writing and Writing Process for Longer Research Projects.

We also asked Kelly and Tobias what they wanted students to know about the editor team. Their overwhelming response is they wanted students to know how dedicated the editors are to helping students produce a publication-ready manuscript and how many ways students can connect with the editors and get questions answered: e-mailing editor@waldenu.edu, chatting live with Editors during Office Hours, joining the Walden Capstone Writing Community, viewing webinars, and attending residencies and intensive retreats. The team added three editors this year to help support our doctoral capstone students. When asked what stands out about the year for the editor team, Kelly and Tobias highlighted the new name, the Office of Academic Editing, to reflect the work the editors do to help students at the capstone stage, from the proposal right through to graduation.

We also spoke with Rachel Willard, who manages the Office of Writing Instruction alongside Anne Shiell. Rachel mentioned that the most common query among students who request paper reviews, visit our live chat, or e-mail us at writingsupport@waldenu.edu  is “Can you help me with my APA?” Learning APA style is a common struggle for students who are new to it, and it’s often the reason students seek out help. Rachel noted, however, that although students typically focus their requests on APA, students find during a paper review that their requests actually span both APA specifics and instruction in areas such as scholarly voice or organization of ideas. Another common question is around help navigating our paper review schedule, or myPASS, which is separate from the usual student portal processes. The writing instructors recommend our video tutorials that make this process easy to follow.

When asked what she would like students to know about the writing instruction team, Rachel wanted to reassure students that the writing instructors are here for them, that they are not as intimidating as students might expect writing experts to be. The team is extremely student-centered, and once students begin sending their work for reviews, they often make it a habit. Students develop relationships with the writing instructors they work with, and both student and writing instructor celebrate successes and improvements. When looking back on 2017, Rachel said that what stands out most is the focus on improving processes and teaching practices to better serve students. The team has grown over the past few years, and each new staff member brings new ideas and gifts to the team and to the center as a whole.

We hope you’ll take some time to get to know our Writing Center staff in 2018. They are doing amazing work to help Walden students strengthen their writing skills and their future publications, and they’re ready to be there for you, too!


Amber Cook author imageMartha King author image
Amber Cook and Martha King contributed to this report. They are associate directors in the Writing Center, Amber of Faculty Outreach and Support, Martha of Doctoral Capstone Quality Initiatives.


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Thursday Thoughts: Paraphrasing Effectively

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A pile of reading material  ready to be paraphrased!
Generally speaking, university faculty prefer writers to paraphrase sources instead of using direct quotes since paraphrasing demonstrates the writer’s command of the source material and quotes, especially long ones, disrupt the flow of a writer’s own points. That said, paraphrasing effectively is an important skill for scholars. Our blog series on paraphrasing includes several points on effective paraphrasing strategies.


The Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. The center supports students through all stages of the writing process and develops the writer as well as the writing.


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Student Spotlight: Jessica Meadows, Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership

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The Walden University Writing Center is privileged to work with talented students. In the Student Spotlight Series, we aim to support incredible work our students do, both in and out of the classroom. The goal of the Student Spotlight Series is to provide the Walden community with a place to build bridges and make connections by developing shared understanding of the diverse and varied student journey. Students share stories about their writing process, their efforts towards social change, and their motivations for pursuing higher education. We ask questions, and students generously answer.

This Student Spotlight features Jessica Meadows, student of the the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership.

This is an image of a bridge with the text overlay, "Walden University Writing Center. Building Bridges. Making Connections."
Walden University Writing Center | Building Bridges. Making Connections.

What is your professional and educational background
, and what degree are you pursuing at Walden? 
I earned a BA in Elementary Education in 1993 from American University and an MS in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in Reading in 1997 from Hood College. I am certified as a reading specialist in grades k-12, and I have taught in elementary and middle school settings for 14 years.  Currently, I teach at the community college level. At Walden, I am pursuing a EdS in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.  I’m about 2/3 of the way through that program.  However, I am considering transferring into the EdD program in the same area now instead of waiting until after the EdS is completed.  The EdD was always the final goal.  Now it’s just a question of the timing. I decided to pursue my doctorate at Walden because I wanted the flexibility of an online school.  Like everyone, I am busy with other aspects of life and I appreciate the ability to work from home.  There is also the possibility that I may move during the program making it impossible for me to attend a brick and mortar school.

What are your professional and scholarly goals, and how is your Walden degree program helping you to reach these? My overall goal is to impact schools and learning on a larger scale.  I’ve always worked in a classroom; now I would like to work with new teachers or to develop curriculum and have a greater ripple effect in education. I want to be an expert in my teaching craft.  I want to be able to share that with other teachers. Walden has helped me expand my view of education and leadership which will make me an effective agent for change. I currently have a 4.0 GPA, and although I disagree with many grading systems in educational settings, I am proud of being able to achieve academic excellence. For me, balancing family, teaching, and being in school is the most challenging aspect of pursuing a higher degree.  I use a calendar program to track assignments and block out periods of time when I plan to accomplish tasks.  I also block out time for family activities to make sure I don’t miss out on those opportunities, too. It doesn’t always go as planned, but it serves as a guide.


This is a photo of Jessica with her husband and daughter, when Jessica was dropping her daughter off for her first semester of college.
Jessica (right) and her husband (left) dropping their daughter (middle) off at Eckerd College for her first semester in college.
What drew you to using the Writing Center, and what Writing Center resources have you found the most beneficial? Several of my professors recommended to all students that they work with a tutor in the writing center. I’ve found the paper review service is the most beneficial resource! I’ve watched a few of the webinars, but the individual feedback is a powerful tool. In my time at Walden, the Writing Center has helped me by providing individualized feedback that has helped me become a stronger writer. I have become a much better writer of APA citations! I’ve noticed too that there are characteristics of academic writing that I have not had to incorporate in my writing for a while and some characteristics that I am including for the first time as a part of my Walden program.  Having someone with a careful eye to point these out to me is invaluable. Of course, APA citation review is always helpful too.

You have had dozens of paper reviews at this point; how do you find the time to make appointments each week, and what motivates you to continue to do this? I often schedule writing center appointments well in advance and use that as a way to hold myself accountable for making progress in whatever I am writing.  If I know that my tutor is expecting to see my writing, I am more motivated to get it done and uploaded in time! Also, the reviews are so valuable that I very much want to have feedback before a paper is due. I strongly recommend the paper review service. I also recommend developing a relationship with one writing tutor who can see your writing progress over time.

Through your paper reviews, you’ve been working on article annotations for your degree program, and you’ve developed a writing process that seems to be working well for you. What is your writing process for composing these annotations? Here’s an overview of what I do with some tips for my colleagues who will be writing annotations too:
  • For each annotation, I create a document.  I add the headings for annotations sections: summary, analysis, application.  As I read the article and come across information that helps build each section, I just start typing those details and my thoughts as I go.  Later, I go back and organize into paragraphs.
  • I always set each annotation aside for at least a day, then I go back and read it with fresh eyes for revising and editing.  Often, I find parts that don’t quite make sense or need to be reorganized.
  • I use the library’s resource on verifying peer review to ensure that I’m annotating a peer reviewed source, and I use Crossref.org to find the DOI of the article that I’m annotating.
  • I use Grammarly.com as a resource as well.  It catches small details for me, like repetitive words, and offers suggestions for changes.
  • I make sure to schedule my writing center appointment and, when it comes, I upload as many annotations as I have ready at that time.
  • My goal is to do only one annotation per day; more than one annotation feels overwhelming.  Sometimes it is unavoidable, though.  This is where having a calendar and breaking big tasks into small steps is valuable.

What tips and suggestions can you offer to other Walden students as they seek to develop and improve their writing? Write, get feedback, revise, repeat!


Walden Writing Center logo
The Walden University Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services, the Writing Center provides students assistance with APA considerations, scholarly writing, and other topics to enhance their scholarly work.


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WriteCast Episode 45: Meet Your Reviewer: Katherine McKinney, Writing Instructor and PhD Student

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In our latest podcast episode of WriteCast: A Casual Conversation for Serious Writers, we welcome one of our newest Writing Instructors, Katherine McKinney. As a member of the Walden University Writing Center Instructor team, Katherine will be providing support to students who are in coursework and working on the early parts of their doctoral capstone projects. Katherine brings great experience working with students to the Walden Writing Center, and you can learn more about:
  • How Katherine approaches Paper Reviews and what you can expect if you work together
  • Katherine's favorite Walden writing assignments
  • The greatest piece of writing advice Katherine ever received
Listen to the conversation by clicking "Play" in the player below. You can also read the transcript for this episode (and all our episodes), and access other episodes, by following this link to our WriteCast page on the Writing Center website. 


You can also join in on the WriteCast conversation by commenting on this blog post. Do you have questions for Katherine? Would you like to propose a topic for a future episode of WriteCast? We may respond to your question in a future installment of WriteCast! 


WriteCast Logo: A Casual Conversation for Serious Writers

The WriteCast Podcast is published by the members of the Walden University Writing Center. WriteCast exists thanks, in part, to a Social Media Research Grant from Global Products and Services, Laureate Education, Inc. We welcome comments and questions in all their forms. Please comment in the space below and listen monthly to see if your comment is mentioned on air.  


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AWA Student Spotlight: Valamere Mikler

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The Writing Center’s Administrative Writing Assistants (AWAs) are at the front line of the writingsupport@waldenu.edu inbox, performing necessary tasks to make the Writing Center run smoothly. Writing Center AWAs are an integral part of the Writing Center as they communicate regularly with students. But, the AWAs are also Walden students, and thus integral to Walden University itself. That’s why we’d like to share some of their stories of academic success, professional accomplishment, social change work, and advice for other Walden students. In this spotlight series, we show our appreciation for all their hard work so that others can be inspired by their stories as well.   

Today's spotlight is on Valamere Mikler, a student in 
the College of Social and Behavior Sciences
AWA Spotlight Series

Residing in Florida, Valamere is a PhD student in the Organizational Diversity and Social Change specialization of the Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology program who began her dissertation during the fall quarter in 2017. Valamere advocates for social change in her community by serving on the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation’s Community Advisory Board and Citizen’s Advocacy Group where she strives to ensure people in urban areas, such as youth in Miami-Dade County, Florida, have access to quality job placement, education, and training opportunities. She chose Walden because of Walden’s social change mission. Specifically, she believes that her degree will support her as a candidate to continue addressing challenges in her profession, where she lives, and in the world around her.

We asked Valamere to share Writing Center resources she values, writing- and student-related struggles she faces, and her career plans after Walden. 

Photograph of Valamere Mikle
Valamere Mikle
Walden University Writing Center (WUWC): What are the most common questions you find in the writing support inbox and what feedback do you provide?

Valamere Mikler (VM): The most common questions I find in the writingsupport@waldenu.edu inbox are APA citations, reference list entries, and questions about paper review services. For APA citations, I like to provide students with a link to the In-Text & Parenthetical Citations page, and for reference list formatting questions, I like to provide the link for the page on Common Reference List Examples. If a student is interested in paper review services, I provide the myPass website and encourage the student to make an appointment as well as view the videos and tutorials to walk them through the process. 

WUWC:  How have you struggled as a writer and how have you overcome that struggle? 

VM: I have always had a passion for writing; however, I struggle with grammatical errors and sentence structure. It is a paradox that English is my favorite subject, but I have trouble with the mechanics of writing; however, that did not discourage me from trying to seek ways to improve my writing skills. Over time, my writing skills developed because I used the feedback and support received from paper reviews and continued to practice writing skills

WUWC:  As a Walden student yourself, what academic advice would you give other Walden students? 

VM: Take full advantage of all the writing resources, such as paper reviews and webinars, to help you achieve your writing goals.

WUWC:  What challenge have you faced as a student and how did you face that challenge?

VM: During my master’s program, it was difficult to excel when my mother became ill and I had to take care of her while also working full-time. Overwhelmed with personal responsibilities, my grades suffered. However, I did not allow this to deter my desire to obtain my masters degree and move on to a PhD program. To overcome challenges, I manage time by goal setting and planning my schedule, and allowing time for writing, researching, and personal responsibilities. I also take advantage of Walden University’s support services and resources, such as the library and the Center for Research Quality. I don’t quit, regardless of personal crisis, problem, or frustration may occur.

WUWC:  What work do you plan to do after you graduate from Walden?

VM: I plan to provide consulting services for organizations regarding best practices for measuring human behavior to improve employees' work satisfaction and employers’ ability to select and promote the best people within firms, leadership centers, corporations, universities, and companies. I also plan to facilitate workshops on corporate social responsibility, diversity initiatives, and how to make the workplace better employees.

Thanks, Valamere! We at the Writing Center appreciate your dedication to and support of students—you are a true asset to us as part of our support team, and we know that students appreciate your work as well.  



Walden Writing Center Logo
 The Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work. Students can email WritingSupport@waldenu.edu and expect a reply from one of our expert AWAs. 


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Dig into Development with our New Module!

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The Walden University Writing Center has some exciting news to share! We recently released a new module: Introduction to Paragraph Development. This module will join our existing modules related to grammar, plagiarism, and APA style.

What can you expect to learn in the Introduction to Paragraph Development module? Throughout the tutorials, students can learn:

  • What makes an academic paragraph
  • How to use topic sentences
  • The importance of sticking to one idea per paragraph
  • Ways to wrap up paragraphs


Modules: multimodal, self-paced, interactive

All of our modules are fully-interactive and self-paced. After you take the pre-test, you will have access to all of the tutorials. This means you can work on them as you wish. After you finish a module and take the post-test, you will earn a certificate of completion.

If our paragraphing module sounds like something you are interested in, you can access the Introduction to Paragraph Development module here.

Also feel free to explore:


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The Walden University Writing Center is committed to helping students develop as writers. Our staff of dedicated professionals supports students in building and applying their writing skills as scholars, practitioners, and agents of positive social change.

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AWA Student Spotlight: Sohna Shook

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The Writing Center’s Administrative Writing Assistants (AWAs) are at the front line of the writingsupport@waldenu.edu inbox, performing necessary tasks to make the Writing Center run smoothly. Writing Center AWAs are an integral part of the Writing Center as they communicate regularly with students. But, the AWAs are also Walden students, and thus integral to Walden University itself. That’s why we’d like to share some of their stories of academic success, professional accomplishment, social change work, and advice for other Walden students. In this spotlight series, we show our appreciation for all their hard work so that others can be inspired by their stories as well.  

Today's spotlight is on Sohna Shook, a student in the College of Social and Behavior Sciences 

AWA spotlight series


We asked Sohna to share Writing Center resources she values, writing- and student-related struggles she faced, inspiration that keeps her on track of her goals, and how her Walden degree connects with her social change mission. 



Photograph of Sohna Shook
Walden University Writing Center (WUWC): What are the most common questions you find in the writing support inbox and how do you provide feedback?

SS: During my shift, the most common questions I find are usually regarding assistance with in-text citations.  I usually respond to questions by providing an example of, for instance, a citation or reference list entry, then I provide additional resources from the Writing Center website

WUWC: What Writing Center sources have you used that you found helpful?


SS: I love the Writing Center website which provides resources for APA, such as citation and reference list examples. I have attended webinars which are helpful for a bit more hands-on training. As well, I have enjoyed using the paper review service which provides writing feedback.  

WUWC: How have you struggled as a writer and how have you overcome that struggle? 

SS: My biggest struggles as a writer have been sentence structure and the fact that what I am thinking and what I write down on paper tend to be two different things. I have successfully been able to work with writing instructors on forging the two.

WUWC: What other challenge have you faced as a student and how did you face that challenge?

SS: I am used to the "brick and mortar" college and face-to-face setting, so the challenge I faced as a student has been attending an online school. It has been a challenge for me to not having someone to talk to; however, I have been able to develop friendships at Walden residencies and in the classroom which helped establish a support system for me.

WUWC: Whose story inspires you to keep reaching for your goals?  

SS: Both my parents are immigrants from Gambia, West Africa, and came to the U.S. to obtain their education. They divorced when I was 13 years old and my mother raised all 5 of us by herself. She did not obtain her college degree, but rather worked 2-3 jobs to make sure we had our basic needs met. Her hard work has inspired me to continue working on obtaining my degrees as a testimony to her hard work raising us.

WUWC: How does your degree at Walden connect with your social change mission? 

SS: After graduation, I plan to utilize my professional experience along with my doctorate degree to collaborate with schools in developing stronger programs that work for students with behavior issues and/or mental health diagnoses to include helping teachers develop curriculum to better accommodate these students. I would also like to strengthen counseling programs in higher education.   

Thanks, Sohna! We at the Writing Center are glad to have a colleague such as you and appreciate your dedication to supporting students by providing resources and responding to student questions, and we know students appreciate your support as well! 



Walden U Writing Center logoThe Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work. Students can email WritingSupport@waldenu.edu and expect a reply from one of our expert AWAs.


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