In an academic setting, a “fellow” (think Oxford University, going back to the 14th century), teaches small groups of undergraduates. This fellow is an academically strong student who is awarded a fellowship to further peers’ knowledge and skills in a specific discipline. At UMBC, Writing Fellows work with faculty and students in English 100. Many have experience as Writing Center tutors; most are undergraduates, but some are graduate students or recent grads. The Writing Fellow typically works with students four different weeks out of the semester. Since all our ENGL 100 classes are twice a week, this means two classes for the Writing Fellow each of those weeks.
The task of a Writing Fellow is to work with ENGL 100 students facilitating peer review groups, and another role is helping students individually. In peer review, students typically share and discuss their work in progress, and Writing Fellows can listen and ask questions. In some cases, the instructor may provide a peer review worksheet or one or more discussion questions to guide peer review.
In preparation for this role, new Writing Fellows attend monthly workshops/meetings focused on the skills involved in facilitating peer review. Writing Fellows may then work with up to four sections of composition each semester. Writing Fellows who are undergraduates also earn academic credit: one credit in ENGL 495 for every semester they serve as Writing Fellows. ENGL 495 coursework is graded on a regular (letter-grade) basis.
This experience is particularly invaluable for students anticipating careers in education where providing student feedback and direction are necessary (yet learned) skills. Interested students should contact Carol Fitzpatrick, the English Department’s Director of Writing and Rhetoric, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Elaine MacDougall, Director of the Writing Center/English Lecturer, at email@example.com.