January 2014 -->

Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Three Things to Know About the Writing Center

"I've been advised to work with the Writing Center, but I'm not sure where to start. What are three things I should know about the Writing Center?" 
This question, or a similar version, is one I heard several times yesterday and today while advising students at the Indianapolis residency. If you're new to Walden, or just new to the Writing Center, here are three services we suggest getting to know:

One-on-One Paper Reviews

Scheduling a paper review appointment is the best way to receive in-depth, individualized feedback on a piece of your writing. A writing instructor will review a document that you submit through the online scheduling system and email it back to you with his or her feedback in tracked changes. The instructor will comment on organization, coherence, flow, APA style, and grammar, or on any particular section or writing issue you request. The writing that you submit does not have to be complete; you can request feedback on an outline, a couple paragraphs, a draft, or even a paper that has already been submitted to a course. Visit our tutoring page to learn more about how to set up an appointment, how the appointment works, and how to make the most of your review.

Sample paper review
View a sample paper review.


Every month, the Writing Center offers several live, one-hour webinars on various aspects of scholarly writing. Some webinars are geared specifically toward undergraduate students or graduate students, while other webinars are helpful for all students. Whether you're unfamiliar with scholarly writing or in the last stages of your proposal, we have a webinar for you! Every webinar is recorded and archived, so you can still watch a webinar if you're unable to attend live or if the one you're interested in isn't offered live this month.

Attend a Webinar button


Our website houses many, many resources on APA style, grammar, scholarly writing, plagiarism (and how to avoid it), undergraduate writing, and capstone writing. You'll also find our webinars schedule and archive on our webinars page and instructions for scheduling and making the most of a one-on-one paper review.

Writing Center homepage screenshot

If you're new to Walden, now is the time to start checking out the Writing Center. If you're not new to Walden, though, it's not too late to start taking advantage of our services!

Writing Instructor Anne Shiell is attending the Indianapolis residency this week along with Writing Instructors Hillary Wentworth and Kayla Skarbakka and Dissertation Editor Lydia Lunning. Stop by the advising room to say hello and get your questions answered!


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Meet the AWAs!

Many people begin a new year with goals to work harder, and the Walden Writing Center is no exception. We want to be able to serve students better in 2014 than we did in 2013. And to do that, we have invited some new folks to join our team!

This year there are seven student workers joining the Writing Center staff as Administrative Writing Assistants (AWAs). Because you may be interacting with these amazing Walden students, we wanted you to get to know a little more about them!

Al Muftau Adeite
Al Muftau Adeite,
pursuing an MA in 
Healthcare Administration

What do you like best about being a Walden student?
Every aspect of the program is geared  towards preparing students to become agents of social change.

What is your favorite book and why? There Was A Country by Chinua Achebe. It tells the story of the Nigerian civil war from an insider's perspective. The civil war was predicated on the strive for change by a section of the country.

What is your favorite food? Pounded yam with melon soup cooked with assorted fish and goat meat. This is a Nigerian delicacy.

What is the best piece of wisdom anyone ever gave you and why? A professor  once wrote on his door, "Try to know something about everything and not everything about something.”

Alexis Stinson
Alexis Stinson,
pursuing an MS in
Higher Education

What do you like best about being a Walden student?
The best part of Walden is the camaraderie that exists between the students even though the classes are online.

What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book is Among the Hidden. The book made such an impression on me when I was younger, and I love the plot line.

What is your favorite food? My favorite food is spaghetti.

What is the best piece of wisdom anyone ever gave you and why? Change is the only constant in life. This is my motto for everything. As humans, we resist change even though it's what we do. I learn to live with change and embrace it.

Ashley Hill
Ashley Hill,
pursuing a PhD in Public 

What do you like best about being a Walden student?
I love being a Walden student because of Walden’s mission of social change and giving back to our community through our own unique part in the process of social change

What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book is Mutant Message Down Under because it encompasses the thought that we are all connected to each other.

What is your favorite food? My favorite food is probably unusual and a little embarrassing but it is cabbage—any way you want to cook it =)

What is the best piece of wisdom anyone ever gave you and why? The best piece of wisdom anyone has given me is to stay curious—retaining that child-like enthusiasm for life allows all sorts of joy to continually flow in to ordinary life, work, and hobbies. A second piece of wisdom that I cherish is to stay grateful and I think about all the blessings life brings each day!

Leah B. Mazzola
Leah B. Mazzola
pursuing a PhD in
Forensic Psychology

What do you like best about being a Walden student?
I love that my values are aligned with Walden's! I feel good about Walden's mission to train social change agents. I am a social entrepreneur driven to pursue this degree to drive social change in my pursuits, so learning about Walden's mission, values, and culture was the icing on the cake in my decision to transfer in.

What is your favorite book and why? Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. This book offers insight into the science that supports the idea that a growth mindset and drive are more important to success than ability or achievement. This science offers plenty of motivation for the lifelong learner.

What is your favorite food? Good pizza.

What is the best piece of wisdom anyone ever gave you and why? "Own your story. Hold your head up," because I come from rough beginnings. My self-concept held me back. The process of owning my past and understanding that it did not make me who I am, but that I make me who I am, was empowering.

Olawunmi Obisesan
Olawunmi (Ola) Obisesan,
pursuing a PhD in Public 

What do you like best about being a Walden student?
I love Walden because the learning environment is supportive and meets my learning needs.

What is your favorite book and why? I have many favorite books but the one I have read over and over again and seems to provide a guide as to how I live my life personally and professionally is Monday Morning Mentoring: Ten Lessons to Guide You Up the Ladder by David Cottrell. This book has opened my eyes to the fact that life provides the unique opportunity to positively influence the lives of others and everybody should strive to seize this opportunity.

What is your favorite food? My favorite food is rice, and I have more than 20 ways of preparing rice; I love cooking and since I am creative with my rice recipes, I will have another 10 recipes before the end of the year.

What is the best piece of wisdom anyone ever gave you and why? The best advice I have ever received was in 1997, and I take it everywhere with me. My mentor said to me, “Others may but you cannot because your case is different.” So many times, when I have felt overwhelmed with work or school and I have come close to quitting my job or dropping my classes, I tell myself "others may but I cannot." This PhD program has been stressful, but I am four classes away from finishing, and this phrase has kept me going. When I look at this phrase from another angle, it means that I have to be unique in all my doings; I do not have to do things the same way as everyone else.

Ryan Henson
Ryan (RJ) Henson,
pursuing an EdS in College 
Teaching and Learning

What do you like best about being a Walden student?
I think what I like best about being a student at Walden is the ever-expanding growth in the community. This was one of the things I was worried about going to an all online school, but I have noticed that the community here is amazing and very welcoming.

What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I love this book because for so many years, I felt like the caged bird. I was afraid to speak my mind, shy, and really didn't know how to express myself. I am glad I read the book because it gave me enough motivation to change how I felt.

What is your favorite food? I LOVE Spanish food. My mom would always cook it when I was growing up and it ended up becoming one of my favorite genres of food. I think my absolute favorite dish is Posole.

What is the best piece of wisdom anyone ever gave you and why? I think the best advice I ever received is from my mentor Dr. Spencer. He told me one day, "If you don't speak up in life, you tend to get run over and overlooked. You have the ability; use it to your advantage." This always stuck with me because I would often not speak up when necessary and was overlooked for a lot of opportunities. I have always kept this close to heart as I travel through the school and work journey.

Vicki Ann Guerra-Vasquez
Vicki Ann Guerra-Vasquez
and her daughter. Vicki is
pursuing a PhD in Public

What do you like best about being a Walden student? I enjoy getting to know everyone in the courses. In addition, I love learning new things as well as from my fellow peers/scholars. Likewise, it is nice to be able to time-manage oneself by taking courses online.

What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The book is inspiring to me for the way the author presents the characters. For me, it made me feel like part of the story, as if the images were right in front of me.

What is your favorite food? My favorite food is chicken, especially in Chinese food, salads (Greek), cold pastas, hot pastas, etc.

What is the best piece of wisdom anyone ever gave you and why? I would have to say my eldest daughter. She told me, "Mama, it’s okay if you make a mistake; you can try again." Children are very wise at their young age (sponges) and still love their mamas.

The AWAs will be assisting Writing Center staff in replying to student e-mails that come to 
writingsupport@waldenu.edu and providing APA and writing-related resources. Read more about the AWAs here.



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The Podcast Returns! WriteCast Episode #5: Five Strategies for Critical Reading

Thanks to your feedback last year, we will be continuing the WriteCast podcast into 2014! Look for a new episode mid-month, with a few changes--shorter episodes, new topics, and new formats.

In our first episode of 2014, Nik and Brittany talk about a critical aspect of the writing process that students often overlook: critical reading. Tune in to learn five strategies to help you become a more critical and engaged reader. 

To download the episode to your computer, press the share button on the player above, then press the download button. Visit the Writing Center's WriteCast page for our episode archive and transcripts. Happy listening!


Resources mentioned in this episode:

Critical Reading

Other posts you might like:

An Active Reader is a Better Writer

WriteCast podcast team
Writing Instructors Nik Nadeau, Anne Shiell, and Brittany Kallman Arneson produce the WriteCast podcast. 


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Happy Birthday to the Blog!

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This January, the Walden University Writing Center blog turns 5 years old! Over the years, we've loved sharing writing ideas, tips, examples, challenges, and successes with you. We've appreciated your comments and questions, and we're excited about the year to come. 

In 2014, look for a post once a week about academic writing, APA style, capstones, new podcast episodes, book reviews, and more. We'll also be expanding our Spotlight series to include more students and faculty, as well as alumni and Writing Center staff. 
Happy Birthday, Writing Center blog!
We also want to thank you, dear readers, for helping us grow and for making the blog so rewarding. This blog is for you, so let us know what you like, what you don't like, what topics you want to see in 2014, and how we can better support you as writers and students.

The Walden Writing Center blog is written by several members of the Writing Center staff. 

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Writing Resolutions for the New Year

The start of a new calendar year is traditionally the time for resolutions about breaking bad habits, starting good ones, tackling goals, and so forth. This year, we challenge you to create one writing goal for yourself--any kind of writing, at any stage of the writing process. We're committing to new year's writing resolutions, too.

To read and research:  

Beth Oyler: Spend a little more time researching! I tend to jump into a project without always fully understanding what I'm going to be talking about or saying. Spending more time researching at the onset will save me time and frustration later in the writing process!

Sarah Prince: With a new baby on the way, my writing goal for 2014 is not so much to write with any sort of regularity. Instead, I'd like to read as much as possible. I find that reading fiction and nonfiction really helps me to better define my own passions, boundaries, and directions as a writer. By reading critically and responding to other writers, I hope 2014 allows me new insight, direction, and motivation as I continue on my own writing journey.

To find a writing and revising routine: 

Carey Little BrownMy current schedule has made it difficult to commit to a routine of creative writing, but I'd like to start keeping an art and writing journal to record ideas, thoughts, and images when I have the chance.

Kayla Skarbakka: Write every morning before work, even if it's just for 10 minutes. I've found that it's easier to write in the afternoon or evening if I've already gotten a few words down that day.

Paul Lai: I'd like to set myself the task of finishing full drafts of papers at least 2 weeks before they are due to leave myself plenty of time to revise them.

To start or finish a specific work: 

Amber Cook: My resolution for this year is to finish the novel that I started during Nanowrimo 2011.

Amy Kubista (EdD student): My goal is to write a proposal (and get it approved!).

Melanie Brown: In 2014, I will draw a bird a day – maybe post them on a blog, maybe keep them for myself in my journal, but every day, a new bird. I have to be honest with you, though: I’m a writing instructor, not an artist. I can’t draw. So, why does an artistically artless writing teacher want to draw 365 birds? Because I want to learn how to draw. In committing to daily practice, I know I’ll have good days (when I draw a magnificent mockingbird!) and bad days (when I draw more gross beaks than grosbeaks). By the end of the year, though, I'll be cozy amid my own beautiful, eclectic flock. To draw a bird a day, every day  that’s my goal (because, right now, I cannot draw), and to approach each day more creatively.

Nik Nadeau: My goal is to make a scrapbook.

Shawn Picht: My writing goal for 2014 is to develop 2-3 of the writing ideas I have been scratching down in my iPhone's Squarenote App notepad. I love the idea of an opening sentence that inspires, and a writing goal of mine over 2013 was to write down these sentences as they came to me (with plans to develop them later on). So, I now have a collection (circa August 2013) of undeveloped sentences and thoughts on my iPhone that need time, patience, clarity, and some love.

To blog: 

Amy Lindquist: My resolution is to get back to writing on my blog.

Brittany Kallman Arneson: My goal this year is to start a personal blog. I think it will help me be more reflective about my life and more intentional about the way I live.

To publish:

Anne Shiell: I didn't meet my NaNoWriMo goal this year to submit something for publication, unfortunately, so that's my goal for next year!

Jen Johnson: Before I had children, I contributed regularly to different literary journals. When sleep-deprivation set in, I stopped. This year I want to lose the "I'm too tired" excuse and start writing and submitting again. We'll see how it goes!

Rachel Grammer: My goal for 2014 is to submit at least one piece of writing for publication.

To get back to writing and the love of writing:

Brian Timmerman: I need to get out of spreadsheets!

Martha King: My goal is to enjoy writing. Enjoy the experiences that prompt me to write, enjoy the learning and discovery that is part of the process, enjoy the solitude and the collaboration, enjoy the sense of accomplishment at having committed something to writing, enjoy sharing my writing with others or with no one. Enjoy.

What are your writing resolutions for 2014? Share with us in the comments!

Walden Writing Center StaffHappy New Year from the Writing Center staff!


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