Centre for Writers

C4W Guiding Principles

The Centre for Writers is a free, one-on-one tutoring service available to all students, faculty, and staff members at the University of Alberta. We tutor for every level of proficiency, for all disciplines, and have resources to assist ESL/EAL writing concerns. The Centre for Writers aims to assist every writer at any stage of the writing process.


We believe that:

  1. Developing writing skills benefits writers in the long term.

  2. Writing is a multi-stage cyclical process (brainstorming, planning, writing, revising, etc.).

  3. Higher-order concerns (such as organization and development of ideas) should be prioritized over revisions of lower-order concerns (such as word choice, spelling, and grammar).

  4. Writers provided with the appropriate resources will become self-sufficient.

  5. Native English-speaking writers as well as ELS/EAL/bilingual/multilingual writers can all benefit from help with their writing.

  6. The diversity of writing context and styles (in different disciplines) implies that there is no one right way of writing.

  7. The writer’s voice must be maintained throughout the writing process.

  8. Intellectual and academic integrity must always be understood and respected.

  9. Maintaining a zero-pressure environment is conducive to discussing openly the writers’ successes and challenges.

  10. The strategies we suggest are applicable to all writers: all writers can always improve.


As a result of these beliefs, we implement the following practices:

  1. We aim to enhance individual writing practices, not just individual pieces of writing.

  2. We encourage all writers, in all faculties and at all levels (students/faculty/staff), to come or return at any stage of their writing to make use of the Centre for Writers’ resources.

  3. We promote client involvement and self-direction in the session, and incorporate resources to develop effective writing strategies.

  4. We are trained to address specific concerns of both native English and ESL/EAL/multilingual/international writers with any concern and at any proficiency level.

  5. We will help writers navigate a variety of writing contexts, including assignment analysis and disciplinary writing conventions.

  6. We strive to widen our knowledge about different writing standards.

  7. We are active readers and listeners and help writers make their own writing decisions through suggestions and questions.

  8. Writers are the experts and must take ownership of their work. We are only guides and will not provide content or evaluate/grade a piece of writing.

  9. We provide a free and safe place for writers to freely discuss their writing concerns.

  10. We will constantly update our knowledge about writing and tutoring, and use this knowledge in our own writing practices.