Writing Support

Brown students are expected to communicate effectively in writing in all of their courses. Because receiving feedback is a critical part of the writing process, all students are encouraged to work on their writing with the Writing Center (appointments can be made by clicking here). Any student can make an appointment with a Writing Center associate. If an instructor is concerned during the semester about a student's ability to write effectively, they may refer the student to the Writing Center by emailing [email protected] or by emailing a Writing Center staff member.

For significant concerns about a student’s writing, instructors may issue a “writing check” flag with the final grade. (Please note that this flag--or checkmark-- will appear as WSUP, or "Writing Support," (formerly WDEF, for “Writing Deficiency”) in the instructor’s Banner grading option drop-down menu. A checkmark visible to academic advisors then appears on the student's internal academic record next to the course in question; the checkmark does not appear on the official Brown transcript. While faculty referrals are not required for students to have a consultation at the Writing Center, students with a flag will receive priority support and guidance about Writing Center resources by Writing Center staff. The first check acts as a warning.

If a student receives more than one check during their time at Brown, they will not be able to graduate until the additional checks are cleared. (Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, any flags issued in Spring 2020 will not count toward this total, as approved by the College Curriculum Council in April 2020.)  Writing Center staff will work with students with two or more flags to help them determine the best course of action to clear the checks. There are four ways for students to resolve multiple checks:

  1. Enroll in a Nonfiction Writing course: (1) ENGL 0900, Critical Reading/ Writing I: The Academic Essay or (2) ENGL 1030, Critical Reading/ Writing II: Research Essay. When students successfully complete the course, the checks are cleared.

  2. Enroll in a Writing Fellows course. When students successfully complete the course, the checks are cleared.

  3. Meet with a staff member at the Writing Center to be connected with a Writing Advisor and to establish a writing schedule for the semester. Students usually work on a minimum of three writing assignments (at least 12-15 pages of writing in total). For each assignment, a student’s Writing Advisor will read and respond to a draft and then meet with them to talk about their revision plans. The checks are cleared at the end of the semester after students schedule a reflective meeting with their Writing Advisor.

  4. If students receive no additional WSUPs and complete a combination of 3 or more WRIT, English, Comparative Literature, or Literary Arts classes, their writing checks will be cleared at the end of their 7th semester.         

For Instructors: See the Sheridan Center's Guide to the Writing Check