Tips for Effective Conferences & Reports

Several of our readings discuss what one should try to do, and always avoid, in conferences and Reports. Reports: whether apprentice reports or otherwise:

  • Use the online report forms only for Writing Center work and 383. If you are assigned to a class as a Writing Fellow after 383, use e-mail, not the report forms, to communicate with faculty (this saves the proofreader much time)

  • Write your report w/in 24 hours of the conference! A students' grade may hinge on your timeliness

  • Consider the report a personal memo from you to the professor. Therefore you should address the faculty member directly, such as "I recommended that Jim see you about where he might deepen his analysis of this aspect of his argument." Your 383 teacher and/or Joe Essid will be copied on the reports; they are therefore your "secondary audience"

  • Check the spelling of the student's and faculty member's names carefully. Students often misspell their professors' names, so check the directory in each office

  • Check your own grammar and spelling to save the proofreader time (all reports go to a proofreader who may make changes or contact you before forwarding the reports to faculty)

  • Be certain that you do not critique the student, assignment, or faculty member.

Conferences: These points apply equally to Writing-Center or Writing-Fellow conferences:Never:

  • Discuss grades with a writer

  • Critique a writer, her instructor, a syllabus, or an assignment

  • Forget an appointment with a writer. Standing someone up even once can mean dismissal from the WAC program

  • Write for the writer. Ask questions instead or, in the case of a grammatical correction, assist with a representative example

  • Give your reading of a text or idea unless a professor has directly and specifically told you to do so. This is the writer's job.


  • Focusing on grammar or mechanics when larger problems are present unless a professor has directly and specifically told you to do so

  • Doing most of the talking. Let the writer's agenda be the focus of the conference, except when the writer's goals are at odds with the assignment, your other responsibilities, or the honor code.


  • Be courteous and patient before and during the conference

  • Provide Writer's Web materials for writers, as needed

  • Invite the writer to make another appointment with you or another tutor

  • Bring concerns about a conference to the WAC faculty member, if you're working as a Writing Fellow. While taking 383, contact your instructor and/or Joe Essid, as the situation warrants.

Main Page | Information | Resources | Communication | Class Journal | Schedule | Apprenticeships