Senior Lecturer and Director of the Writing Workshop & Graduate Writing Service
Cornell postgraduates (graduate students, professional students, postdocs, and faculty) can work with Graduate Writing Service tutors to develop and refine strategies for drafting and revising writing projects and teaching materials:
Dissertation Chapters, Seminar Papers, Research Proposals, Conference Presentations, Journal Articles, White Papers, Literature Reviews, Dossiers, Job Letters, Grant Applications, Teaching Statements, Teaching Philosophies, Syllabi, Lesson Plans, Writing Assignment Handouts, and Strategies for Responding to and Grading Student Writing.
Ready to set new goals for your writing?
Join GWS tutor Tamar Gutfeld & GWS Director Tracy Hamler Carrick for a hands-on workshop for drafting and revising.
Setting Goals for Your Text
Thursday, February 8, 2024
2:00pm - 3:15pm
In this workshop, we will discuss and reframe common conceptions about goal-setting to build a sustainable writing practice.
We will discuss how our texts work...for us!
And we will work with our own drafts to set the goals that serve us best.
Bring a draft of any kind, at any stage!
Spring 2024 Schedule
Monday, February 12 - Monday, May 6
Graduate Writing Service tutors are experienced writers and teachers of writing from multiple disciplines -- with scholarly and professional backgrounds in the humanities and social and physical sciences.
We are available weekdays and evenings to work with Cornell graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff to refine and develop strategies for drafting and revising writing projects and teaching materials.
During a typical session, Graduate Writing Service tutors may help writers to:
- get started with writing projects and teaching artifacts by brainstorming ideas, planning organizational schemes, evaluating materials, defining research questions.
- explore ways to shape coherent arguments, make strong use of evidence, work with appropriate citation conventions.
- consider questions about depth of analysis, organization, thesis statements, paragraph development, audience expectations, style, sentence structure.
- identify patterns of error in grammar or usage in order to develop effective strategies for line editing.
We offer three different types of appointments: you can meet with GWS tutors on campus at 172 Rockefeller Hall; you can meet with GWS tutors for a 60-minute digital appointment using an internet-based video, audio, or synchronous messaging platform, or you can submit a draft for a GWS tutor's written feedback.
Our tutoring program is by appointment only, so to get started, you need to register for an account.
Next, you need to decide how you would like our feedback.
If you select a FACE-TO-FACE APPOINTMENT, unless otherwise noted, you will meet in 44 Klarman Hall. We strongly recommend that you upload a draft 24 hours before your scheduled appointment time.
If you select an ONLINE APPOINTMENT, you will meet with a tutor in a platform similar to a Zoom or Skype. You and the tutor can view, edit, and discuss your draft synchronously. You will be able to see each other (if you both enable the video feature), chat out loud (if you have a microphone or camera), or type in a messaging window on the right side of the screen. To prepare for your appointment, you should:
- upload a draft within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment time.
- a few minutes before your scheduled appointment time, log in to the scheduling site at https://cornell.mywconline.com
- click on your red appointment block
- look for red text in the middle of the pop-up window "Start or join online consultation."
- click "Start or join online consultation" to open online meeting
- Tutors are prepared to help you navigate technology issues—they will email you to check-in and offer help should you have any trouble “showing up.”
If you select an eTUTORING APPOINTMENT, you must upload a draft 24 hours before your scheduled appointment time. The tutor will read and respond to your draft and upload written comments by the end of the scheduled timeslot. eTutoring appointments are reserved for clients who have already met with a writing tutor to discuss the current writing project. When you submit an appointment request, name the tutor you met with and briefly describe the work plan you established with them.
The Graduate Writing Service is generally flexible in our work with writers, but the following guidelines may help you to better understand how we function.
Writers should cancel tutoring appointments no less than 8 hours before the scheduled appointment.
We understand that you may not realize until the last minute that you cannot attend your tutoring appointment. As a courtesy to tutors and to wait-listed writers, please be sure to cancel as soon as possible.
If you miss three appointments (without canceling them), your WC Online account will be automatically disabled.
Editing is a crucial part of the writing process. In order to produce precise and polished prose, writers must direct attention to the sentence-level. And, as is the case when refining prose for clarity and concision, developing strategies for editing your own work requires time, practice, and patience.
Tutors at the Graduate Writing Service are available to provide certain kinds of micro-level support. Tutors will clarify rules, explain conventions, provide examples, and guide writers as they revise their own sentences. Tutors will discuss style, language, and rhetorical choices. But tutors are not editors – they cannot correct grammar, syntax, punctuation, or typographical errors. With sentence-level work, the tutor's goal will be to help you identify an error and correct it on your own.
Here are some of the reasons why we have a NO-EDITING policy:
- There is no pedagogical value in having a tutor edit a writer's paper. Writers do not learn when other people correct errors for them. The GWS’s primary goal is to ensure that students have access to learning opportunities, so during tutoring sessions, tutors use specific pieces of writing to engage broader discussions about academic writing and to encourage robust interventions into student writing processes.
- Copyediting someone else’s writing requires a highly specialized skill set. Writing tutors are not professional editors; they simply do not have the training, experience, or desire to perform such technical work.
- Tutors are Cornell University students themselves. They cannot complete assignments for other students. As such, deep collaboration of this kind, line-by-line editing, could violate Cornell University’s Code of Academic Integrity and thus put writers and tutors at risk.
Editing is hard work. Even experienced writers can come up against severe obstacles as they home in on the word, paragraph, or page: Writers may be fatigued or stressed or facing a new kind of writing task. They might speak and write other languages, or they might be managing learning differences or disabilities. They might have knowledge gaps or unevenly developed skills. They might be reaching to learn.
Tutors at the Graduate Writing Service are eager to help writers become more confident, efficient, and effective readers and editors of their own writing. Here are several typical strategies tutors will use for sentence-level writing work:
- LOCATE PATTERNS. Writing tutors read through significant portions of a writing project (no more than 5 pages) and identify ONLY phrases or sentences in which a writer's choices interfere with clear and effective communication. Writing tutors, for instance, may observe grammatical or mechanical errors (such as, run-on sentences or subject-verb agreement); and/or syntactical habits that obscure clarity (such as, overusing "this" and "that" or nominalizations). Writing tutors circle recurring patterns or put check marks in the margins to signal repetition. Writing tutors then explain what they see and work with writers to revise.
- SELECT A PASSAGE OF TEXT. Writing tutors read through a short section of a writing project (one paragraph, perhaps, but no more than one page) and identify a range of grammatical, mechanical, or syntactical issues. Writing tutors circle phrases or sentences throughout the short section or put check marks in the margins to indicate questions about a writer's choices in the marked lines. Writing tutors then explain what they see and work with writers to revise.
- READ OUT LOUD. Writing tutors listen as writers read aloud portions of their writing (no more than 3-5 pages) and mark any places where writers say something different than what is on the page. Alternatively, writing tutors read papers out loud while writers mark any places that do not sound as intended.
Online Resources for Writers
Cornell Writes! Tips from our community of writers
Cornell Writes! is a digital newsletter sponsored by the Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines and the Cornell University Graduate School.
Each week, a member of our writing community shares a writing strategy from their own writer’s toolkit. Weekly tips are designed to help writers at all levels and across disciplines to become more comfortable with their drafting processes; to build concrete and flexible practices for using writing to explore, develop, and present ideas; and to connect writers, who may sometimes feel isolated or alone, to a community grounded in our shared investment in writing. #writelikeabear
Ready to Write! Online Resources for Writers
Need a boost with a current writing project? Not ready or able to meet with a GWS writing tutor? Look here for self-directed writing support.
We have compiled some of our favorite online resources for writers -- tools and strategies that can help you to ✏️refresh and deepen your knowledge about the writing process and ✏️refine and further develop more flexible and precise writing habits and practices.
Cornell Writing Centers Writing Guides
Handouts and videos developed by Knight faculty and tutors, and link to online writing resources.
The guides collected here provide overviews of specific writing skills, components of academic writing, or process-based advice that writers may find useful. The guides offer explanations, strategies, examples, templates, and other types of writerly advice.
GWS Tutoring Staff
PhD Candidate, German Studies
I am a PhD candidate in German studies and have tutored at the Knight Institute since the beginning of my studies at Cornell. I am intrigued by different writing practices and enjoy discussing anything related to the writing process, from brainstorming and writing strategies to work habits, revisions, and editing. I work with students from all disciplines by asking questions and paying close attention to writing patterns. Depending on what the text – and you as its author – need, I focus on the structure of the argument and its flow, word choice and sentence structure as well as signposting and the argument's framework.
My research focuses on representations of families in 20th century German literature. My focus on families in the German context allows me to ask questions about the formation of identity considering historical trauma and its inheritance.
Visiting Lecturer, Department of Romance Studies
I am a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Romance Studies, where I obtained my Ph.D. in 2019. I have always been passionate about the potentialities and limits of language: my scholarship focuses on repetition in Italian poetry but also engages different fields (e.g., gender studies, critical theory, translation) in an interdisciplinary, transnational manner.
I have been thrilled to collaborate with the Knight Institute in various roles. Throughout the years, I have been a GWS tutor, a Visiting Lecturer of Academic Writing, and I also had the privilege of leading PSSP writing seminars for the past six summers. Lastly, thanks to the Cornell Prison Education Program, I have taught advanced English classes and writing workshops in Upstate NY facilities.
As a writing tutor and experienced editor/translator, I look forward to working with you on the delicate balance between rigor and creativity, structure and inventiveness. During our appointments, I will employ an approach that will help you think about any text (in any discipline) in a novel way, hoping to strengthen your enthusiasm for academic prose and its wonders.
PhD Candidate, Music and Sound Studies
I am a PhD candidate in music and sound studies. In my work, I consider the intersections of music and language—especially in the contexts of Spanish and Latin American cultural festivals—and the effects these have on constructions of regional and national identity. My main areas of research include the musics of Latin America and Spain, ethnography, decoloniality, music and language, and music and identity.
Throughout my academic training, I have gained experience as an editor, Spanish–English translator, and diction coach. I have edited book manuscripts, seminar papers, and cover letters; translated publicity materials and meeting transcripts; and offered productive feedback on pronunciation and inflection for spoken lectures and presentations. As a tutor, I draw on all of this experience in order to offer a well-rounded approach to writing that can apply to any discipline. If you are looking for help with clarifying an argument, organizing a text, or developing your voice as a writer, I would love to work with you!
PhD Student, Department of Literatures in English
I am a PhD student in the Department of Literatures in English. My research interest centers around Black women’s writing, African American literature, African diasporic writing, and 20th-21st century literature. While my work is primarily situated in literary studies, I am very interested in writing and the writing process required from a wide variety of disciplines.
As a tutor, I like to approach the revision of writing from a place of questions to create a dialogue and discussion between me and the writer I am working with. This conversation will also largely be based on the needs and concerns that the writer communicates. Within sessions, depending on the needs of the writer, I will focus first on organizational concerns, argument construction, and flow, before delving into things such as sentence structure and word choice. My ultimate goal from any tutoring session is to leave you with tools, suggestions, and potentially new ways of approaching your own writing.
PhD Candidate, Department of Literatures in English
I am a PhD candidate in the Literatures in English department, where my research focuses broadly on African and African Diaspora Literature and Environmental Humanities. Previously, I have worked on the mediation and memorialization of the Chibok girls kidnapping by the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria. My dissertation project will be moving away from political violence to environmental violence—which is interesting because ecological violence may not always offer the same kind of spectacle as political violence. For example, I will be focusing on the (bio)political dynamics that underlie the movement of toxic waste materials from the countries in the global North to African and Black communities globally. I want to see how this process can be used to understand the condition of Blackness and ecological (in)justice globally.
I have studied in different parts of the world before coming to Cornell. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. After that, I studied for my Masters degree at Goethe University of Frankfurt with a semester stay at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. In the US, I studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before coming to Cornell. These international experiences influence my approach to writing as I am attentive to not only working with multicultural populations but also helping my students craft their essays in a way that is culturally sensitive and globally conscious. Across these different contexts, I have worked on several fellowship and funding applications, and published in different journals. I am particularly happy to help with such writing tasks.
Having taught various sessions of Cornell’s First Year Writing Seminar, coupled with my experience interning at the Knight Institute, as well as working as a writing tutor with the center’s Health Professions Applications Tutoring, I bring a wealth of knowledge, training, and experiences on writing and tutoring. I have worked with several students on different writing projects, including applying for medical schools or gaining healthcare summer internships. I am delighted to work with you on whatever writing project you might have.
GWS Tutor Application
The John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines employs matriculated graduate students to work as peer writing tutors at the Graduate Writing Service.
Graduate Writing Service tutors are experienced writers and teachers of writing from multiple disciplines. Tutors are available weekdays and evenings to work with Cornell graduate students, postdocs, and faculty to refine and develop strategies for drafting and revising writing projects and teaching materials of all kinds:
- dissertation chapters, seminar papers, research proposals, grant applications, conference presentations, professional articles
- job letters, teaching philosophies
- teaching materials (syllabi, writing assignments & lesson plans), and responding to student writing
- GWS tutors typically work 5 hours per week. (Tutors set their own hours.)
- Tutors can choose to meet with writers face to face on campus. (Office space is available.)
- Tutors can choose to hold tutoring sessions online – via video conference or synchronic, text-based discussion.
- Tutors can choose to tutor electronically (eTutor) and provide written feedback on drafts that writers submit online.
- Tutors are expected to attend one-hour monthly staff/professional development meetings.
- Additional opportunities include special projects assignments and promotion to Senior Tutor and Graduate Assistant Director.
- Academic-year tutors earn between $17.00 and $19.00 per hour.
- Summer tutors earn between $18.00 and $20.00 per hour.
How to Apply
- Prerequisites: Enrolled status, experience teaching or tutoring and/or successful completion of WRIT 7100 or WRIT 7101.
- Materials: Submit a CV and letter of interest detailing relevant employment or coursework to Dr. Tracy Hamler Carrick (email@example.com).
- Deadline: Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
Feedback and Questions
- Have you visited the Graduate Writing Service recently? Would you like to offer us your feedback? Click here: GWS Feedback.
- For answers to questions about the Service or if you need special assistance, contact Dr. Tracy Hamler Carrick, Knight Institute Writing Workshop Director and Graduate Writing Service Director.
Additional Writing Support
Cornell Help for Engineering Communication
The CHEC maintains a website with useful information pertinent to writing and presenting in engineering fields. Follow this link to learn more about writing abstracts and literature reviews, including equations in your writing, formatting presentation slides, and writing captions for visuals, among other topics.
Cornell Writing Centers
The CWC provides support for individuals at any stage of the writing process. It is a free resource available to all of Cornell—undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, faculty, and alumni—for nearly any kind of writing project: applications, presentations, lab reports, essays, papers, and more. Tutors serve as responsive listeners and readers who can address questions about the writing process or about particular pieces of writing. All tutors have training in supporting multilingual writers, working with writers remotely, and in supporting writers working on application materials. Follow this link to make an appointment at the Cornell Writing Centers.
English Language Support Office
ELSO offers writing and speaking support to multilingual and international graduate and professional students that meets the needs of students in diverse programs, from diverse linguistic backgrounds, and at diverse points in their graduate careers. offers individual consultations by trained peer tutors on any type of writing – from job application materials to dissertation chapters – at any point in the writing process – from brainstorming to finalizing. The GWS is available to all graduate and professional students. Follow this link to learn more about ELSO's coursework, workshops, and tutoring programs.
Local Editors and Proofreaders
The Knight Institute maintains a list of local editors and proofreaders. Although their services are not free, many on the list offer a sliding scale rate. Follow this link for a current list of professional editors and proofreaders for hire.
Resources for Writing Competitive Fellowship Applications
The Graduate School offers a series of fellowship preparation workshops, consultation and peer review services, and an informative website.
Graduate and professional students with writing goals are invited to the Big Red Barn every Monday-Friday, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. Be more productive and accountable; write with a supportive community. Sign in with your goals for the day, use the Barn during a quieter time, and enjoy coffee and tea.
Write Together at Home
Write Together at Home provides graduate and professional students and postdocs with community, structure, and resources to support their writing. This program is designed to kick-start summer writing practice during the month of June, as well as to help establish writing practices and peer writing networks that will sustain writing throughout the summer.Follow this link for more information about the Write Together at Home: Graduate Writing Program.