June 2010 -->

Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Tutor or Editor?

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Jamie Patterson
By Jamie Patterson
One question we get a lot from new students is who in the writing center they should be working with: the writing tutors or the dissertation editors. The answer is dependent on what course a student is enrolled in, but for most students as soon as the dissertation or doctoral study process begins the shift from tutors to editors happens. The services between the two writing center groups do not overlap. On the Student Guide page of our website you will find a clear explanation of when to move from working with the tutors to working with the editors.
We tutors have gone through some title changes over the last couple of years: we began as tutors, became writing consultants, then graduate writing consultants, then writing specialists, now we’re back to being tutors. It is a title I am pleased with because when I tell strangers I am a writing tutor the title explains exactly what I do: I teach writing.
The best way to utilize the writing center services is to take advantage of meeting with a writing tutor every week while you’re in your course work. Tutors can work with you to develop your academic writing skills and we can share our APA style knowledge. By the time you begin your dissertation or doctoral study you’ll have mastered the elements of academic writing that will make writing a dissertation-length document a little less painful.
The dissertation editors work with students who have completed their courses and, in so doing, have reached a certain level of academic writing mastery. Unlike working with the writing tutors where students get ongoing suggestions for revision the editors do exactly what their title suggests: they edit. Their goal is to help you publish the best possible document that you, and Walden, will be proud of.
Take the time to get to know your writing center staff and know that we, both tutors and editors, are all here for only one purpose: to help you achieve your higher education goals.

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