Virginia Union University Writing Center

Ellison Hall 206

Roswitha M. Shelton 
Writing Center Coordinator 
(804) 257-5638 


Virginia Union University’s Writing Center is dedicated to assisting students of all levels with the improvement of writing skills and knowledge necessary for success in all academic areas. Pursuant to the mission of raising proficiency levels in writing, the Writing Center is tailored to help students learn—or brush up—the how’s and why’s of effective writing, and to polish their styles.

Staffed by student tutors and faculty/professionals, the Writing Center is available free of charge for all Virginia Union University students interested in improving their writing in general, or improving specific writing assignments. Students can come to the Writing Center as many times throughout the year as they would like. A nominal fee may be assessed for printing papers in the Writing Center; students may print out five pages per visit. 

We also work with faculty who consult the Writing Center about writing workshops and/or assignments for their classes and writing across the curriculum development.


The Writing Center is located on the 2nd floor of Ellison Hall in Room 206. Entrance is through the Department of Languages and Literature, Room 208.

Writing Center Hours

Fall/Spring Semesters (August to May): We are open Monday through Friday from 9 AM-5 PM during the academic year. 

Summer (June): We are open for walk-ins Monday through Thursday from 11 AM-1 PM, and other times by appointment.

How Students Can Take Advantage of Writing Center Tutoring

  1. Drop-in Tutoring: Students may come to the Writing Center on their own initiative whenever they wish to work on an assignment or general writing skills. Students are seen on a first come, first served basis. Students can utilize this service as many times throughout the year as they would like. 
  2. Referrals: Faculty members and advisors may also refer students to the Writing Center when it appears that writing problems are interfering with their success in course work. Faculty members may call or email the Writing Center to refer a student, or may send a Tutoring Referral Form, along with a copy of the assignment.
  3. Students taking Freshman Communications Skills (ENG 100) or any remedial courses are required to attend tutorials.

How to Make an Appointment

Stop by the Writing Center in Ellison Hall 206 or call (804) 257-5638 during our open hours. Any student may schedule a 30-minute or one-hour appointment, depending on the type and length of the assignment or project the student is working on.

How Students Get the Most Out of Tutoring Sessions

  • Students must plan ahead for tutoring sessions before their papers are due. Ideally, students should come to the Writing Center or scheduled appointment at least two days prior to the assignment due date. 
  • Students should bring in assignment sheets or written description of their paper assignment. It is also helpful for tutors to have the grading criteria for a particular assignment, along with the course syllabus. 
  • Students should bring typed drafts and papers—it is difficult when tutors have to struggle with legibility. 
  • In addition, students should have proofread their work several times before seeing a tutor and circle areas they are not certain about. This ensures time is not wasted addressing issues the student could have handled on his or her own, and encourages the student to take responsibility to do all he or she can before seeking assistance.

About Our Tutors

Students who are at the top of their classes and who possess strong writing skills and a passion for communicating about writing are selected. In addition, English faculty and the Writing Center Coordinator are aiding students with their writing.

Our Philosophy

Our philosophy is based on the underlying principle that writing is an interactive process. Hence, whenever students come to the Writing Center, they should keep the following in mind: 

At the Writing Center, We:

  • offer constructive advice
  • help identify errors/weaknesses in writing
  • help understand the writing process
  • help generate ideas about an assignment
  • help organize and develop thoughts
  • help cite outside sources
  • make students feel comfortable

At the Writing Center, We Don’t:

  • “fix” papers on a last-minute basis
  • rewrite papers
  • substitute our ideas for the student’s
  • stifle creativity or insights
  • judge or condemn work

A final note about our philosophy: 

Writing Center tutors facilitate the writing process. It is our goal to guide students in identifying and correcting their own errors. Hence, for sustained improvement, the Writing Center encourages students to meet with tutors regularly.

Our Services

Support for All Writers on a Variety of Writing Tasks 

We work with a diverse range of students on a wide range of writing assignments and on all aspects of the writing process, from beginning to advanced writers; from freshman to seniors; remedial students; and honors students. We also offer help to those who seek help for résumés and cover letters, graduate school or scholarship application materials and personal statements. 

Writing Support for Students with Writing Difficulties 

We work with students who have diverse learning styles and abilities. We especially encourage students with writing difficulties tovisit the Writing Center at the start of each semester, as soon as a writing project is assigned or as soon as feasible. We will discuss students’ needs and help them decide how best to proceed—perhaps by arranging regular tutoring sessions to provideongoing support, or scheduling a series of structured meetings before a major assignment is due. We can also work with faculty to develop plans and strategies for working with students with writing difficulties. 

Class Visits 

The Writing Center offers in-class workshops and mini-lessons on a variety of writing topics, from generating ideas to proofreading strategies, to improving research and citation skills. Most of these workshops are approximately 30 to 60 minutes long and deal primarily with writing, grammar and research issues, but we are beginning to design workshops on other topics. We also visit classes to inform students about Writing Center services and policies. 

Faculty can utilize these services by contacting the Writing Center by email or submitting our Presentation Request (Class Visit) form. Please allow at least one week for scheduling for these services. 

Writing Center Forms