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Writing Fellows

The Writing Fellows strive to foster a writing-to-learn environment by emphasizing process over product and focusing on higher order issues, such as organization, content, and clarity. By providing written and verbal feedback, we assist students in improving the quality of their writing for lasting success both in and out of the classroom.

Contact Information

Dr. Jim Shimkus
Writing Fellows Director
Phone: 678-717-2231

FAQ for Faculty

How can the Writing Fellows Program help my students? What will a Writing Fellow do to help my class/students?

Writing Fellows can help your students improve their writing by:

  • Visiting during lecture to present in-class writing workshops
  • Helping students analyze prompts and strategize their approach
  • Sharing knowledge and experience about the writing process
  • Helping students transfer previously-learned writing skills across the curriculum by? activating prior knowledge in a variety of writing contexts
  • Boosting students’ confidence in their writing by encouraging a growth mindset
  • Providing constructive feedback between rough and final drafts. (Please mention this service in your Writing Fellow Request if you would like it to be included as part of your class’s arrangement.)
  • Serving as intermediary interpreters of instructors’ suggestions for revision
    • Helping students comprehend and determine effective responses to feedback
  • Delivering timely, thought-provoking presentations on extracurricular scholarly opportunities when invited by instructors and staff. These opportunities include: How to Write an Abstract, Applying for CURCA Travel Grants, Creating a Scholarly Vision Board for Research Inspiration
How does having a Writing Fellow benefit me as an instructor?

Instructors working with writing fellows tend to observe:

  • Improved quality of final drafts
  • More student-faculty interaction
  • Increased time value when grading 
    • Instructors are able to focus their feedback on important content issues and minimize error correction
How do I request a Writing Fellow?

Currently, writing fellows can be requested by emailing Dr. Jim Shimkus at Please include in your email:

  • The name and semester of the course for which you would like a fellow
  • The department and any co-instructors
  • Any syllabus or prompt documents for the course or a brief note addressing when those will be available
    • Let us know if you would to work with our Assignment Design Review Team ahead of the semester for assistance developing and improving writing prompts
  • The name(s) of any student you would like to request or recommend to be paired as the writing fellow for your course
  • Descriptions of how you would like the fellows to support the course
    • Example 1: Three in-class workshops and two rounds of student conferences to interpret instructor feedback
    • Example 2: Two-in-class workshops and one round of Google Doc feedback comments between rough and final draft stages
    • Example 3: Brainstorming and Reverse-Transparency in Learning & Teaching (TILT) for each of three writing assignments over the course of the semester, and meetings with students early in the writing process to strategize their drafting approach and ensure they understand the prompt
    • These are just a few examples. Feel free to propose an arrangement that works well for your course and students, and we will meet with you to formulize a plan.
I know a student who would make a great Writing Fellow. How do I recommend them to the program?

Thanks, we love help recruiting! Feel free to let them know know about the Writing Fellow page and recommend that the student email Dr. Jim Shimkus at if they would like to join. From there, Dr. Shimkus can answer remaining questions will be open to submissions. If the student would like to speak with another Fellow before joining the programs, they can contact the Lead Writing Fellow, Shea Barfield at

Can I request that a specific person become the Writing Fellow for my class

Yes! Be sure to include their name in your request message.

FAQ for Students

What is the Writing Fellows Program?

The Writing Fellows program is designed to assist students from all disciplines improve their writing. We focus on the writing process instead of your writing product, and we emphasize higher-order concerns, such as organization, use of evidence to substantiate arguments, and clarity of ideas.

How does the Writing Fellows process work?
  • If a Writing Fellow is paired with your class, your instructor will inform you early in the semester, and the Fellow will visit to discuss your class's arrangement
  • If you are taking a class with a Writing Fellow and the instructor has opted for a round of peer tutor feedback, you will submit a draft of your paper to a specified dropbox. The Fellow will read and make comments on your work and send the suggestions/notes back to you. Then, you can schedule a conference (usually one-on-one or in a small group) to discuss any questions or comments on the feedback provided. Through this cycle, we provide guidance during students' revising and editing, two integral aspects of the writing process.
  • In some cases, Writing Fellows work as interpretive consultants helping students to comprehend and unpack instructors' feedback on their writing, such as between rounds of drafting - a valuable form of insight during revisions.
How do i get involved as a Writing Fellow?

Want to get involved? Great! Please email Dr. Shimkus at using your UNG email address. He can answer any questions and tell you when the online application will reopen each semester. If you’d like to speak with another Fellow before reaching out to the director, email the Lead Writing Fellow, Shea Barfield, at She’d be happy to meet up for coffee or tea and chat with you about the possibilities!

How does the Writing Fellows Program help me?

The Writing Fellows Program aids all students by providing a second opinion on a paper’s organization, flow, originality, and engagement. Even the most seasoned writers benefit from this specialized support and assistance.

I'm not an English major. Can I still receive help? Can I still be a Fellow?

Of course! The Writing Fellows Program is actually designed to be a tool and guide for students across all disciplines. We welcome all students to apply, regardless of major.

Is the Writing Fellows Program the same as the writing center?

Although the writing center and the Writing Fellows Program both aid in the writing process, these organizations are different. The writing center accepts appointments for writing conferences and we, as Writing Fellows, stick around with your class throughout the semester, helping you and your classmates through the writing process. We are tutors embedded in your class just for you!

How do I schedule a meeting with a Writing Fellow?

Once you submit your rough draft to the Writing Fellows, you will receive an email prompting you to schedule a date and time to conference with your Fellow.

How do I know before enrolling in a course if I will utilize the Writing Fellows Program?

You can contact your instructor (at least one month before classes begin) to suggest the possibility of requesting a Writing Fellow in the class. See sample request letter in the following entry.

Is there a way I can recommend that my professor utilize the Writing Fellows Program in my class?

Yes! There's no shame in it as we all want to become better writers. Fill out the _____ form to help you out.

Students can recommend utilizing the Writing Fellows Program by talking to their professor or sending an email.

Here is an example of an email you might send:

  • Hi Professor/Dr. [Name],
    I look forward to taking your class in Fall 2020. A friend of mine mentioned that her class really benefited from the partnership between their instructor and the Writing Fellows Program. If this sounds like something you might consider, I would love the opportunity to work with a Writing Fellow on any writing we do for for this course. The Writing Fellows Program website has more information. If you decide to request a Fellow or have other questions, their director Dr. can tell you more via email.

    Best wishes,
How does this program help me to become a better writer?

All writers benefit from a second set of eyes reading their work. The Writing Fellows Program allows you to engage in the writing process and think deeply about your paper’s organization and on other higher-level concerns.

Would I get paid to be a Writing Fellow?

You sure would! But the pay is more like a stipend, not an hourly rate. The director can clarify payment details with you during the interview stage. Payment depends on the project and and course-pairing assignments over the semester.

I'd love to get involved, but I've never tutored before. Do i need past experience to become a Writing Fellow?

Come on over! All new Fellows are taught to tutor effectively based on pedagogical research. You'll explore english writing scholarship, teaching, and tutoring methods.

What if I can't make it to an in-person Writing Fellows conference?

Thank goodness for technology, right? Although we highly recommend in-person conferences, we understand that scheduling can be difficult. We offer 15-minute Skype conferences for students whose circumstances prevent an in-person meeting.

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