Workshop Topics

Basic APA Style

APA style is required in many majors, not just psychology. This workshop provides basic information on the title page and abstract, in-text citation formats, and reference lists to ensure that your paper will be in compliance with the latest guidelines.

Body Paragraphs

Learn how to write well-developed, well-written body paragraphs that support a thesis statement and clearly explain quotes or other arguments. You will receive an accompanying packet of handouts on essay form.

Cohesion and Coherence 

The goal of any piece of writing is to communicate one’s ideas clearly. Increasing cohesion between sentences and coherence among paragraphs increases both clarity and readability in any piece of writing. This workshop will provide self-editing techniques and practice to refine your writing from any discipline.

Common Grammar and Punctuation Errors

Have you had an instructor comment that your essay has excellent content, but your writing is weakened by too many serious grammar errors? In this workshop, we will review some of the most common grammar and punctuation errors in student writing, including run-ons, comma splices, and general punctuation misuse.

Cover Letters

In the film Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams calls his ex-wife many times pretending to be the worst possible candidates to serve as a nanny. While the scene is entertaining, viewers are left wondering: what if I'm making some of those same mistakes as I apply to jobs? In this workshop, we'll examine job cover letters to learn successful strategies and begin to draft our own!  

Deconstructing the Prompt

Discuss? Illustrate? Explain? Developed with multilingual students in mind but open to all, this workshop will help break down the “thinking verbs” commonly used in prompts. By creating a graphic representation of each verb, you will be able to better understand exactly what you need to discuss and how to incorporate your own research as your organize the structure of your paper.

Email Communication: Etiquette for the Internet

All emails are not created equal. An email to an employer or faculty member should be written in a different style and tone than one to a friend. This workshop will teach you all about professional emails and appropriate "net etiquette."

Essay Prompts and Time Management

In-class essay writing is intimidating for many students; however, successful in-class writing depends not only on your composition skills but also on your ability to analyze the prompt and manage your time properly. This workshop will focus on two interrelated topics: (1) understanding and critically analyzing essay prompts, and (2) using time management strategies for the various stages of the in-class, timed writing process (pre-writing, composing the essay, and editing/revising).

Finding a Voice

Whether posting artfully edited photos on Instagram or telling finely crafted jokes on Twitter, it seems easy to share one's voice on social media. But, what about in your papers? In this workshop, we'll explore the many different voices you can use in your class assignments. Students may bring current assignment prompts to this workshop. (Students enrolled in Stretch English courses are particularly encouraged to attend this workshop.)  

How to Write a Killer Introduction 

Introductions are critical aspects of a paper because their contents and quality can compel a reader to either read or pass over an academic paper and open or close a reader's mind to the contents within it. An introduction influences the way a reader will understand a paper's contents by hinting at a paper’s purpose and content, providing context for understanding the writer’s train of thought, and establishing relationships between ideas that are forthcoming. A killer introduction will pique a reader's interest and make them eager to read your paper. This workshop will offer techniques for writing and revising introductions, including how to identify when they have reached "killer" status. (A shortened, video version of this workshop can be found on our YouTube page.) 

Muscle Verbs for Good Writing

This workshop will help you write clear, concise, strong sentences. You will learn how to avoid using weak verbs, and instead, you'll be able to replace them with strong, muscle verbs that carry more meaning. You will also learn how to avoid two stylistic issues that occur when using weak verbs: nominalization and passive voice. 


Paraphrasing can be both an effective way to show comprehension of an original text and an important technique to avoid plagiarism. In this workshop, we analyze and discuss effective ways to paraphrase. Participants also engage in individual and/or group practice to help them improve this valuable skill.

Plagiarism and Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is an important but tricky skill to master. When does something stop being plagiarism and start being paraphrasing? This workshop provides a range of examples for participants to spot the difference and practice paraphrasing a variety of texts, including materials from STEM and social science.

Revising for Clarity: Subjects and their Verbs

Clear writing is presenting information so that it is easy for everyone to read and understand. Generally writing is considered clear and direct when there are identifiable subjects and verbs. This workshop will provide a step-by-step guide to untangling and revising unclear or convoluted sentences. We will focus on turning abstract nouns into concrete subjects and presenting crucial actions in verbs in order to make your writing clear and concise.

Selecting and Integrating Source Materials

When reviewing outside sources for a research paper or analytical essay, how do you decide what information to include? And then, how do you go about integrating this material into your writing without the quotations appearing clunky, overwrought, or out of place? This workshop will help you learn how to select and integrate source material into formal writing assignments by exploring how to evaluate and introduce quotations and how to make analysis both clear and insightful.

Transitions for Coherence

Do you need to improve your essay organization? This workshop teaches students how to create cohesion between sentences and paragraphs by using common transition words and highlighting key phrases.  

Trimming the Fat: Writing Concisely and Avoiding Wordiness

Think about a tender, juicy cut of Filet Mignon, medium rare. Does anything ruin that first perfect bite like a mouthful of gooey fat? This experience is similar to that of a reader forced to read a sentence that sounds like this: “ For the first and earliest time in his short young life, Michael was experiencing and feeling the sensations commonly associated with love, an emotion he had never felt before.” It's a common misconception among beginning writers that using more words makes one's writing sound more intelligent. The opposite is true. The trick to good writing is to say as much as you can in as few words as possible. Trim the fat, leave the meat. This workshop will explore strategies for recognizing and removing this undesirable fattiness from your writing.

Writing for Your Audience

While your favorite singer probably plays to a packed concert hall every night of the week, writers sometimes struggle to find an audience for their work. How do you attract the attention of your audience to your paper? Can you anticipate what your audience thinks, feels, or already knows about a subject? How do you know what textual strategies / evidence would best engage your audience? Participants in this workshop will begin to grapple with these questions and hopefully find some answers. Students may bring current assignment prompts to this workshop. (Students enrolled in Stretch English courses are particularly encouraged to attend this workshop.)