Support for Graduate Instructors

Writing 7100: Teaching First-Year Writing

Writing 7100 prepares new instructors of Cornell’s First-Year Writing Seminars to teach courses that both introduce students to particular fields of study and help them develop the sophisticated writing skills they will need throughout their undergraduate careers.  Seminar discussions and readings on pedagogical theories and practices provide an overview of the teaching of writing within a disciplinary context.  Participants develop written assignments designed to be used in their own First-Year Writing Seminars. 

Writing 7100 Resources:

The eCommons Digital Repository contains an archive of Assignments and Classroom exercises used in First Year Seminars and other Writing classes at Cornell. Many of these assignments have won either the James Slevin Assignment Sequence Prize or the Knight Award for Writing Exercises and Handouts. This eCommons resource is available to Cornell instructors only.


In the summer and fall, the Knight Institute hires experienced graduate student instructors to act as co-facilitators for Writing 7100. Graduate student facilitators co-lead one of the discussion sections in collaboration with a faculty member.  In addition to receiving a generous stipend, co-facilitators play an important role in training future Graduate Student Instructors of First Year Writing Seminars. Being a co-facilitator also represents an opportunity for Graduate Instructors to continue their professional development as teachers of writing. Apply to be a WRIT 7100 Co-Facilitator

Knight Summer Training Program:

Graduate students who have taught or are preparing to teach First-Year Writing Seminars participate in training program for about 8-10 hours a week as tutors during the 6-week summer session under the mentorship of Dr. Kate Navickas, the Writing Center Director. The training program includes both tutoring writing and reflecting on and learning about writing pedagogy, practice and classroom applications. Learn more here

Writing 7101: Writing in the Majors Seminar

Graduate teaching assistants appointed to Writing in the Majors courses enroll in Writing 7101, our seminar on writing and teaching in the disciplines. This course provides an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of specific issues that arise in Writing in the Majors courses. It also explores more general dimensions of writing and teaching that are rarely objects of instruction in graduate programs or topics of organized discussion within departments. Writing 7101 begins by eliciting from the participants detailed concerns about writing and teaching, as a basis for further discussion. Later sessions pursue the following topics, among others:

  • Strategies for responding to and evaluating student writing, both in drafts and in final versions
  • Methods for generating lively, inclusive discussions
  • Assignment design
  • The writing process and the writing methods used by undergraduates, graduate students, and professional writers
  • Analysis of professional writing across the disciplines, with attention to continuities and discontinuities
  • Troubleshooting specific problems in the classroom

Writing 7101 is a one-credit course, offered S/U only. Writing 7101 begins in the first week of the fall or spring term and meets weekly on Thursday evenings for six weeks.

Teaching Consultations at the GWS

Graduate Writing Service tutors – experienced teachers of writing from multiple disciplines – work with Cornell graduate students, post-docs, and faculty to refine and develop strategies for planning, drafting, and revising teaching materials. 

Teachers of writing can schedule face-to-face meetings or online appointments (using an internet-based video and messaging platform). Tutors can also provide written feedback on drafts through our eTutoring system.

During a GWS session, tutors may help teachers of writing to:

  • draft and refine teaching artifacts -- like the course syllabus, writing assignments & handouts.
  • develop lesson plans, writing assignment sequences & classroom activities.
  • review student essays and discuss response strategies, evaluation & grading.
  • troubleshoot specific classroom challenges 
  • workshop teaching statements & philosophies.

Go to APPOINTMENT@GWS to schedule an appointment!

Peer Collaboration Program

The Knight Institute supports TAs who would like to participate in collaborative activities such as team-teaching, team-grading, team-conferences, or team-observation. TAs submit their proposals directly to their course leader, who in turn submits them to the Knight Institute for consideration. The stipend is $125 per TA. Apply to the Peer Collaboration Program

Buttrick-Crippen Fellowship

The Buttrick-Crippen Fellowship provides a full year of support during which the Fellow can devote him- or herself to the study and practice of teaching composition within and beyond the context of his or her discipline. Apply for a Buttrick-Crippen Fellowship