The Center for Writing and Speaking (COWS)
The Center for Writing and Speaking (COWS) is a resource for all members of the Whitman community. We support a culture of peer feedback on writing and speaking at all levels and in all genres. We believe that all writers and speakers benefit from working with others. To facilitate this community, we offer a variety of programs and opportunities, such as individual consultations, workshops, and group writing hours in the COWS, peer feedback on writing in particular courses from our Academic Writing Course Assistants, and cultural mentorship and navigation through our Whitman International Mentors (WhIMsies) program.
One-on-one conversation is the heart of the COWS. We want to talk with you about your writing and speaking projects. In our current pandemic, we have had to make adjustments to this core service. Though we are now open to in-person consultations, we must keep at least 3ft. of distance and remain masked throughout the meeting. This means it may be helpful to bring more than one copy of your work in order to maintain a safe distance while reading together. If this is prohibitive to your learning style, online consultations are still available through the scheduling link. If you are working with an Academic Writing Course Assistant or a WhIMsie, they will arrange appropriate meeting times and spaces with you and are expected to follow the same safety guidelines.
We are not bovine. We are human peer academic writing and speaking coaches! All peer coaches in the COWS have been trained in peer tutoring and writing processes and continue to receive professional development while they work for the COWS. We are students from sophomore-senior levels and across all academic divisions. We are generalists, not experts at any one style of writing or speaking. We enjoy brainstorming, organizing, and sometimes even editing for grammatical issues, but most of all, we enjoy talking with you about what you want to do with your writing and speaking.
We are in Olin 191, in the East building of Olin, overlooking Ankeny Field. Once you are in the building, you can’t miss us. There is a huge cow on the wall outside our hallway, and the hallway is striped in bright teal and mustard colors. Our main room has small tables for consultations as well as desktop computers and a printer you are welcome to use. In our hallway, we have two smaller private consultation rooms equipped with video recording equipment, if you would like to record and review a presentation. We also have one computer equipped with Dragonspeak voice-to-text software available to anyone upon request.
We talk with you about your goals for your writing and speaking projects and then collaborate with you to reach those goals. We listen and respond, often with questions. We can help find resources you can use in the COWS or online. We often will read your writing aloud to you or ask if you would like to read it aloud. We may take notes during our conversation.
We DON’T copy-edit your papers. We do have several useful handouts outside our main room and online that can guide you through copy-editing your work.
We DON’T guess at grades. We are not in your class and we do not work with your professor. We are peers here to listen and respond. We cannot guarantee any grades.
We DON’T “fix” your papers or you. Your writing is yours! We want you to own it.
We are open M-TH from 5pm-10pm (with some afternoon appointments available), F from 3pm-5pm, and Sun from 2pm-10pm. We are closed on Saturdays and on all Whitman holidays. Please click the button below for making an appointment in order to see open appointment times. You can also just drop by to see who might be available to meet with you. We open in the second week of classes.
How We Help
Academic Writing Course Assistants (Writing Fellows)
Writing fellows are hired by individual professors to work with a particular course by mentoring the students in the course on their writing. This can take place in a variety of ways: one-to-one consultations over essays, group workshops, or small group peer editing, for instance.
Whitman International Mentors (WhIMsies)
WhIMsies work one-on-one and in small groups with first-year International Students. The goal of the program is to offer personal attention to students adjusting to the academic culture of Whitman College and to everyday life in the United States and in Walla Walla. Mentors provide high-quality support and assistance for incoming international Whitties, contributing to inclusivity and cultural understanding at Whitman College.
Jobs Through The COWS
Become a COW(s): Coach of Writing and Speaking
COWS is not currently hiring. Students enrolled in RWPD 310 will be eligible to apply in October. RWPD 310: The Theory and Practice of Tutoring Writing — This course is a required prerequisite to working in the COWS.
Become an Academic Writing Course Assistant (Writing Fellow)
Become a WhIMsie: Whitman International Mentor