Each graduate student in the department has a program adviser and a mentor responsible for overseeing research and writing. The director of graduate studies acts as program adviser for all graduate students. MA students are assigned a first-year MA mentor upon entering the department, and select a mentor in their second year of study. PhD students select mentors in the course of study and are also advised by the director of graduate Studies. All students prepare Planned Programs of Study to assist in formal degree Advising. Doctoral students also prepare professional portfolios that help to structure mentoring interactions. The department has a robust program of workshops to help prepare materials for portfolios and to provide guidance in the completion of degree requirements. It strongly encourages students to establish unofficial mentoring relations with a number of faculty, both at CWRU and at other institutions.
Graduate assistants are assigned faculty teaching mentors each time they assume new teaching responsibilities. These mentors change from semester to semester, so as to expose students to the widest possible range of pedagogical styles and practices. The director of the Writing Resource Center supervises all graduate TAs serving as writing consultants in the WRC. The director of composition, the director of the Writing Resource Center, and other writing faculty support graduate teaching with a regular Pedagogy Seminar Series offered every fall, a series of workshops and “brown-bag lunches,” and group and individual conferences. The University Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (UCITE) provides resources for instruction across the campus. All graduate assistants with teaching roles must complete a university-level seminar (UNIV 400) prior to assuming classroom responsibilities.
All new-to-CWRU graduate student assistants begin their teaching appointments as Writing Resource Center consultants, working with members of the university community on projects ranging from first-semester writing assignments to professional school application essays, from personal narratives to advanced disciplinary publications. Advanced graduate student assistants teach in a range of writing-intensive courses, including the following: Introduction to Composition, Expository Writing, Literature in English, Writing for the Health Professions, Reading Poetry, The Novel, Professional Communication for Engineers, and SAGES University Seminar (contingent upon the approval of the SAGES office).