Starting a Writing Center

Are you interested in starting or expanding a writing center at your institution? The KSU Writing Center would love to help you. Contact us at

Determine the Center's Audience

  • Identify courses with frequent writing assignments.
  • Seek faculty input about student writing needs.
  • Consider the needs of various student populations.

Determine Center Location and Create a Welcoming Space

  • Are there underused conference rooms, common spaces, or computer labs?
  • Can you share space with a computer lab, the library, etc.?
  • Make the space inviting, comfortable, and fun. Distinguish it from a classroom as much as possible with different colors, furniture, and lighting.
  • Decorate with posters of favorite writers or other fun writing-related visuals. Bulletin boards are great for posting announcements and easily changing up décor.
  • Involve student tutors. A space they create will both appeal to students and deepen the tutors’ investment in the Center’s success.   Do as much as you can afford without getting in trouble.
  • Stock the Center with style manuals, writing handbooks, and supplies such as pens, paper, highlighters, etc. A computer and printer are also very useful.

Recruit and Train Tutors

  • Establish a National English Honor Society chapter; members can earn service hours by volunteering as tutors.
  • Consult with faculty to find good writers and peer reviewers.
  • Adopt a good tutor handbook.
  • Make sure Center policies/procedures are easily accessible for tutors.
  • Hold periodic staff meetings to discuss best practice, activities, and build community.
  • Student tutors know what student writers need; encourage them to develop programming and events like book clubs, creative writing activities, community service projects, etc.

Promote the Center

  • Recruit tutors or artistic students to make posters/flyers.
  • Make announcements in faculty meetings and have reminders distributed to faculty.
  • Host a grand opening or special events in the Center.
  • Post flyers wherever possible, updating/reposting throughout the year.
  • Encourage teachers to promote the Center (possibly offering extra credit).

Maintain the Environment

  • Maintain consistent, reliable hours.
  • Keep thorough records for numbers of students helped, individual tutor activity, kinds of assignments brought to the Center, etc.
  • Continue to evaluate what your school needs and be willing to change accordingly.

For additional information, check out our collection of Resources for Starting a Writing Center.