Faculty FAQs

The Mounger Writing Center is open with in-person appointments. Appointments are available for booking by all cadets and faculty for feedback on any academic, personal, or professional writing project. Contracted consultants are available each afternoon to work specifically with faculty. 

All sessions are held in person in the MWC (Jefferson Hall, 2nd Floor Northeast); during your 45-minute session, a Fellow or contracted writing professional will (1) review your appointment form and the in-progress writing project you've uploaded or brought in hardcopy form; (2) engage you in conversation about your writing questions and give you feedback on your work; and, (3) send a brief report to the instructor if the client is a cadet. Go to https://usma.mywconline.com for the most up-to-date information or to schedule an appointment.

Let your students know: consultants at the MWC help cadets with assignments for any academic course: anything from essays, responses, and research papers to technical or lab reports, abstracts, manuals, and posters, even oral presentations or PowerPoints. Cadets can also make appointments to discuss writing for personal interests or professional opportunities.

The MWC's purpose is to help cadets grow as thinkers and writers over the longterm. This means that we don't try to send cadets away with perfect papers. That's just not possible, even in the most ideal of scenarios, and besides we're not subject-matter experts (that's you, of course).

Instead, we focus on the specific papers or assignments as opportunities to get at bigger lessons. Growing as a writer is a gradual, often uneven process. All writers end up experimenting with different techniques and habits as they take on ever more complex challenges. So a large part of what we do involves raising awareness among cadets about different writing standards and expectations, as well as equipping them with different options for writing and thinking effectively, so that they can judge what works best for them. All sessions at the MWC are dialogue-based: Stokes Fellows aim to help their fellow cadets by talking through their ideas and concerns with them and sharing strategies to help them progress.

Avoid requiring any cadet to visit the MWC; that would be a violation of USMA policy (as requiring a form of additional instruction). Also avoid incentivizing visits to the MWC by awarding points for sessions in quid pro quo fashion: we have limited numbers of appointments available, and encouraging cadets to pursue them in exchange for points takes away sessions from cadets who intrinsically value what we do and want to be here.

With regard to expectations, it's worth repeating: don't expect perfect papers or uniform improvement from cadets who visit us. We're not editors or proofreaders, and becoming a better writer takes time, even under the best of conditions.

The MWC is staffed primarily by Stokes Fellows and, starting in 2017, contracted writing professionals. Cadets are selected as Stokes Fellows on the basis of demonstrated promise as writers, teachers, and communicators; all of them undertake rigorous study of composition pedagogy. In fact, you're welcome to play a role in this process as one of the Stokes Fellows Program's Faculty Mentors, about four hours of work over a semester.

Characterize the MWC as resource for all cadets, not just ones who are struggling in your course. Everyone can benefit from the focused conversations we facilitate. You can also familiarize your cadets with the MWC by taking 2-3 minutes of class time to have them register as users on our scheduling website or by showing them this webpage.

If you're teaching a course linked to the Writing Program, include the appropriate information from this document in your syllabus: Guide for Faculty. If you're teaching a course that isn't linked to the WPWP and just want cadets to be aware of the MWC as a resource, include some version of the following language:

Becoming a thoughtful, skilled communicator is essential to your development: officers of every rank, and professionals in any field, must express themselves clearly, insightfully, and effectively. To this end, the Mounger Writing Center (MWC) is an important resource for you to consider. Located on the second floor of Jefferson Hall, the MWC is open to all cadets for one-on-one sessions concerning virtually any kind of writing. All sessions are facilitated by Stokes Fellows or other experts; they begin on the hour and last up to forty-five minutes. While appointments are strongly encouraged, drop-ins are welcome (pending availability). Bring in assignments for any academic course: anything from essays, responses, and research papers to technical or lab reports, abstracts, manuals, and posters, even oral presentations or PowerPoints. For more information, head to the Mounger Writing Center; to schedule appointments, head to usma.mywconline.com. All sessions with the MWC must be cited according to guidance in the DAAW.

Probably you'll get a 'client report' emailed to you by the Writing Fellow who works with your cadet. (Every cadet who comes in to the MWC is given the option of having a report about their session sent to his or her instructor.) You should also see an entry in the 'Works Cited' section of your cadet's final product, since all cadets are required to cite sessions with us according to the guidelines governing 'Additional Instruction' described in the DAAW.​​

Yes! As a faculty member, you may schedule sessions with any of our contracted consultants (all of whom hold advanced degrees). We’re best positioned to offer feedback on academic and professional writing projects. Keep in mind that your expectations as a client should differ little from those of your cadets: the MWC is first and foremost about development—forming more capable thinkers and writers, not turning out perfect products. That means you shouldn’t expect comprehensive editing or proofreading; also, our consultants aren’t necessarily subject-matter experts, and they’ll likely only be able to address select pieces of your project (especially if it’s longer) given time constraints. But you will receive thoughtful, detailed advice that will position you to revise your own work more expansively and effectively. As with cadets, we normally limit faculty to two appointments per writing task (exceptions considered on request).