Faculty FAQ

What is the SAW Center?
The Speaking, Arguing, and Writing (SAW) Program provides resources to students to develop the communication skills needed for purposeful engagement and leadership. We believe that learning is a social process, strengthened through collaboration and community. The SAW Center serves all members of the Mount Holyoke College community. Students may visit the SAW Center with specific assignments, or they may schedule appointments to improve overall writing habits.

Who works at the SAW Center?
Mount Holyoke undergraduates, across all class years, staff the SAW Center in the MEWS on the main level of Dwight Hall. The mentors come from departments across campus and are trained to respond to speaking and writing assignments across the curriculum.

How can I encourage my students to use the SAW Center?
Add a description of SAW Center services to your course syllabus. You may copy and paste the following paragraph:

The SAW Center offers free, one-on-one help with all aspects of writing at any stage in the writing process. SAW peer mentors use a conversation-based approach, grounded in research on peer-led collaborative learning. They work with students to develop transferable skills and support both speaking and writing assignments. The SAW Center is located in the MEWS on the first floor of Dwight Hall, upstairs from the Information Common. To learn more about the SAW Program, please visit: mtholyoke.edu/saw. To make an appointment, please visit www.mywco.com/mhc.

  • Share comments from past students about the effectiveness of SAW Center services. Without using names, share anecdotes about your former student who have used the SAW Center or worked with a course mentor and improved as communicators.
  • Describe your own writing process and when and why you seek feedback from others. Bringing in multiple drafts of your work can provide a powerful visual illustration of the writing process that may resonate with your students.
  • Request SAW Center flyers be delivered to your faculty mailbox or print the Center's current flyer.
  • Request a classroom visit from SAW. Upon request, two SAW staff members will give a 10-15 minute presentation as an introduction to the SAW Program and Center. Included in the presentation are tips for getting the most out of a SAW session, how to schedule an appointment, and other helpful information. The goal of this presentation is to better prepare students for utilizing the resources offered at the SAW Center.

Do mentors in the SAW Center discuss grades with students?
No, SAW mentors do not discuss grades or make evaluative comments about assignments or projects during appointments.

My students are having difficulty proofreading their work. Will mentors proofread papers before they turn them in to me?
The SAW Center does not provide editing or proofreading services. Mentors can, however, teach students the skills needed to edit and proofread their own work more effectively.

Do students need to have a full draft before making an appointment?
Students do not need to have a completed a draft before they make or attend a session. SAW supports writers and speakers during all stages of their process, from brainstorming to revising or polishing presentation delivery.

Can students make appointments to work on overall writing or public speaking improvement?
Yes, students are encouraged to bring past sample of written work or practice speeches if they would like to work on overall improvement.