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The Center for Writing and Speaking (COWS)

Mission Statement

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.


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 Hall 191, in the East building of Olin Hall, 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, there are 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 DO 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 DO have drop in tutoring hours! Anytime there is someone listed on the website you can swing by without scheduling an appointment to get some help or feedback.

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 Sunday-Friday between noon and 9pm. We are closed on Saturdays and on all Whitman holidays. Please click the button above for making an appointment in order to see open appointment times. We also allow drop in appointments, so stop by during these hours and see if anyone is available! We open in the second week of classes.

How We Help

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.

COWS Peer tutors are the folks that you will find within the Writing Center itself. They complete trainings in order to assist you in your writing projects. Schedule an appointment with one!

If you are looking for help on a resume or cover letter, please reach out to the Student Career Advisors or the CCEC. They are available to help with all aspects of applying to jobs and internships. Find their drop-in hours schedule on the SCA webpage, or schedule an appointment via Handshake. Also available is the Academic Resource Center (ARC) for specific course assistance

Covid Protocols

Although the Covid-19 pandemicis no longer considered an emergency, we still exercise caution in keeping our writing tutors and community members safe from harmful disease. We offer online tutoring in order to accommodate those who are unable to attend a live tutoring session. If you are feeling ill please schedule your appointment online or reschedule to a later date. If you are working with an Academic Writing Course Assistant, they will arrange appropriate meeting times and spaces with you and are expected to follow the same safety guidelines. We care deeply about the health and safety of our community.

Employment 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 after completion of the course

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)

If you are interested in serving as an Academic Course Assistant, talk to your professor about the possibility or reach out to Prof. Jenna Terry at terryj@whitman.edu.

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