The Center for Writing
About the Center
The Center for Writing offers support and feedback on all types of written and spoken communication for the students, staff, and faculty at The Cooper Union. Writing Associates are experienced classroom instructors with advanced degrees and a special interest in reading and writing pedagogy. Our mission is to improve student learning across the curriculum and to support faculty in the teaching of reading and writing.
The Center’s main charge is to offer one-on-one and small group sessions, which may focus on:
- All stages of course assignments, projects, and presentations
- Outside or independent work
- Grant, graduate, and fellowship proposals and applications
- Particular issues, skills, or concerns, including L2 (building abilities and confidence in English as a second or third language) and learning differences
- Strategies for effective reading, writing, and speaking
At the Center, a student can:
- Learn how to write a college-level essay
- Learn tools and strategies for starting an essay, outlining, writing in stages, and editing
- Talk through ideas or find a sounding board
- Find an impartial critic
- Learn how to plan a presentation
- Find a mediator or guide for group projects
- Get help with learning challenges or confidence issues
Our Ongoing Session Model
While we offer a number of open, one-time sessions each week, most of our sessions are ongoing: weekly one-hour sessions that allow Associates to take a long-term view of student development, and allow students and associates to build a constructive rapport. Ongoing sessions are in high demand—about 20% of Cooper’s students request them each year—so students are encouraged to sign up for them early. We usually operate with a wait list.
The Student Leads
All Cooper students have a rare talent for thought—sometimes for very specific forms of thought. We work to help students harness the power of their particular way of thinking, their experience, and their identity, enabling them to connect their own knowledge to classroom material. And, in general, we don’t give students answers—we help them come to answers themselves.
A Focus on How
Cooper’s faculties decide what our students should learn—the curriculum and content that make up students’ schedules. In the Center we’re focused on how our students learn. We give them tools and strategies that help them develop as readers, writers, thinkers, and speakers.
The Center Is Not a Remedial Space
When a student needs remediation, we provide it, but we work simultaneously to develop a student’s ability to read, write, and think at a high level. We aren’t here to fix papers or improve grades—but when students regularly attend the Center, their written work, and their grades, get better. We believe in the potential of Cooper students to do excellent work, and our goal is always to help them build upon their strengths rather than to focus on their weaknesses.
An Inclusive and Anti-Racist Ethos
Our staff are committed to making all students feel welcome and to actively challenging forms of discrimination that stand in the way of justice for everyone in our community.
Support for Teaching and Learning Throughout the College
Writing Fellows Program
Our Writing Fellows Program provides discipline-specific writing workshops in the Schools of Art, Architecture, and Engineering and in HSS. Our fellows also work with faculty to design writing assignments and weave reading and writing pedagogy into the existing curriculum.
Faculty Development Workshops and Discussions
The Center hosts several faculty development workshops each academic year. Past topics include grading strategies and alternatives, eliciting effective in-class discussion, and risk-taking in the classroom. We also host regular pedagogy breakfasts (on hold during the pandemic) that bring faculty together in an informal setting to discuss teaching and student learning.
The Major Awards Advisement Program
The Center’s Major Awards Advisement Program—a collaboration with the Center for Career Development—recruits and advises student candidates for major awards and ensures that candidates get the support they need during the application process.
More Opportunities to Learn
We host a number of programs designed to help students develop as scholars and creators, beyond the boundaries of their disciplines. Opportunities include a student lecture series, a literary magazine, and a creative writing group.
The Center for Writing
Foundation Building | Library
7 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10003
Monday - Friday: 10 am to 6 pm
For General Information (no messages, please): (212) 353-4218