Frequently Asked Questions
For Graduate Students
Why would I work with an academic writing consultant?
For many people, learning occurs optimally in a one-to-one situation. In private coaching, unlike in the classroom, I have the luxury of teaching exactly to your needs. Here is what you can expect from working with me.
I explain academic codes and expectations.
I ask the right questions at the right time, helping you clarify your thinking.
I will help you translate your interests into sound scholarship (yes, you can study zombies or killer bees or trends in watershed management).
I can help you understand faculty feedback and know how to integrate it.
I teach the skills you need when you need them. When you work with me you are always building skills that will serve you in future assignments.
If I work with you, should I ignore my school's writing center?
No. Smart people use all the resources at their disposal. You may have a gym membership, but will still use the gym more effectively with the help of a personal trainer.
I work in concert with the resources you’re already using and connect you with new ones. Clients often work with me to help prepare for meetings with their advisors and committees, integrate faculty feedback, and communicate effectively with their faculty members.
Will your advice contradict that of my advisor?
No. My job is to help you meet your faculty's requirements. I help clients integrate and take action on faculty feedback. One client described it like this: My professor gave me the destination. You gave me turn-by-turn instructions.
I have been traumatized by the red pen. Will this be any different?
Of all the learning products we are asked to submit, writing feels the most personal. I work with clients to develop a sound writing practice and a resilient scholarly identity. Learning involves our egos, our stories about ourselves, and our memories of what our teachers said about us in third grade. The learning process can be bumpy, confusing, even painful. I help clients grapple with the full range of emotional and intellectual issues that arise during the learning process.
What are your credentials?
I hold a Ph.D. from Rutgers University, where I trained in one of the best and most innovative composition programs in the U.S. I did my undergraduate work at Reed and Lewis & Clark colleges in Portland, OR, and have taught scholarly research and writing for many years at the university level. I bring passion, a wealth of knowledge, and most importantly, communication skills that empower my clients to do their best work.
I have a phenomenal track record of helping clients succeed in admissions and publications, as well as thesis and dissertation writing and defense. Consider me part of your learning team.
Podcast Interview with Daveena Tauber
Why would I refer students to an academic writing consultant?
You have a student who needs more help than you have time or energy to give.
Your advising load is such that you cannot give more than a few rounds of feedback to each student.
Teaching writing and rhetoric isn't your area of expertise or interest.
You have a student you know to be capable but who seems stuck.
You have a student whose writing seems "off" in ways that make you think there might be a learning "disability" or other issue involved.
Why would I refer students to you?
Most importantly, because I am on your side and I understand your needs. I am an academic who specializes in working with scholarly writing. I trained in teaching academic writing at Rutgers University where I earned my doctorate. I have taught writing and research methods in the university for many years. Unlike many editors and writing coaches out there, I specialize in working with with scholarly writers. Increasingly, my clients and their faculty are inviting me to participate as part of the dissertation team.
My students are already paying tuition. Is it fair to refer them to a paid service?
In a perfect world, students would find the resources they need to be successful in their home institutions. But with departmental and support service budgets under attack, we know this is not always the case. Most people, even students, have some disposable income and the choice to invest in succeeding and completing their degree is often the best investment they can make. The refrain I hear most often from clients is, I wish I had found you earlier in the process.
My campus has a writing center. Can't students use that?
Yes. They can and should. But writing centers are often better prepared to handle short assignments characteristic of undergraduate work. When students work with me they are working with a writing professor rather than peer tutor or G.A. Here is what one doctoral student said about using the writing center on her campus:
I’ve tried to use the writing center on campus. Each time I visited they were surprised to see me because I’m a doctoral student. Because you don’t necessarily get the same person each time, no one ever gets a feeling for the whole document. You can only book up to an hour per week, which means dealing with a very limited amount of text. At the end of the term it’s almost impossible to get a slot. It doesn't really work for someone writing a thesis. --Johanna, doctoral candidate
I have three articles and a book I need to finish. Do you work with faculty writers too?
Absolutely. I work with faculty clients in both a coaching (process) and consulting (product) capacity. In addition to editing, I provide expertise in evaluating potential publishing venues and creating an overarching submission and publication strategy.
Faculty in my program want to improve student writing. Can you help?