Become a Graduate Writing Consultant

Are you looking to put your excellent writing, reading, speaking and/or visual design skills to work and gain tutoring experience with graduate students? Have you gained an understanding of English grammar or research writing & hope to help others with what you know? Do you have an interest in working with engineers?

The UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science (UVA Engineering) Graduate Writing Lab is seeking applicants for Graduate Writing Consultants for 2019-2020 (other time frames may also be possible & applications for future openings are welcome).

Position description

Graduate writing consultants are self-motivated graduate students who are interested in helping other graduate students and postdocs develop their academic writing skills and who want to develop their own teaching, mentoring, leadership, and communication skills.

Writing consultants work one-on-one with UVA engineering graduate students and postdocs on writing, presentations and posters at any stage (from outlines to finished products). Consultants provide feedback on writing, presentations, figures, and posters and discuss strategies to improve a variety of work including dissertations, theses, empirical research articles, funding proposals, conference abstracts, emails and more. While most consultations focus on writing, consultants may also work with students on presentation slides, posters, figures, delivery of presentations and more. 

Consultants primarily provide assistance on clarity, coherence, argument structure, organization, paragraph and sentence structure, language use, and grammatical and punctuation concerns. Consultants are not expected to address technical content and do not proofread or copyedit during consultations. They focus on helping students develop transferable skills to make progress on future work as well as address concerns throughout a given piece of work. Discussions of grammar, conventions, audience, and resources are common.

UVA Engineering has a linguistically diverse graduate student body. Writing consultants must be comfortable working with and providing writing strategies for multilingual writers.

Consultations primarily take place at the Graduate Writing Lab but may also take place at other UVA Engineering locations or via video chat (Zoom). Consultants typical maintain set available hours week-to-week each semester with occasional hours for meetings or events and occassional appointments by request.

Duties also include participating in regular (usually biweekly) meetings, completing training, maintaining contact via slack & email, and record keeping. Additional duties may include leading peer review groups, assisting at Graduate Writing Lab events, developing/leading workshops, and helping with other Graduate Writing Lab work as needed (ex. developing training materials, analyzing or preparing texts or resources, assisting in routine tasks, managing registrations or surveys, or developing publicity or resource materials, etc.)

Learn more about the Graduate Writing Lab here.

Required Qualifications

  • Current UVA graduate student eligible for hourly student employment
  • Able to work a minimum of 3 hours/week each semester
  • Excellent writing, reading, speaking and listening skills in English
  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision
  • Comfortable discussing grammatical concepts
  • Comfortable working one-on-one with graduate students and postdocs
  • Ability to learn independently & use online tools and communication including scheduling tools, Google calendar, Slack, email, online resources (see our website for examples)


Preferred but not required

(If you have any of these, mention them. You are not expected to have all of these.)

  • Able to work 4-10 hours/week
  • Ability to work through Spring 2020 or beyond
  • Previous tutoring or teaching experience or training, especially related to writing, communication or design
  • Experience working with multilingual writers & multilingual speakers of English; ESL teaching/tutoring experience and/or training
  • Experience working with adults, professionals or graduate students in an advanced educational setting
  • PhD student, post qualifier


  • Experience with or knowledge of writing/publishing empirical research articles (including coauthoring publications, writing or analyzing papers, coursework, etc.)
  • Experience attending or presenting at academic conferences
  • Familiarity with engineering, especially engineering writing
  • Familiarity with IMRD structure or the structure of computational/modelling papers
  • Experience with and understanding of research writing, text analysis, audience analysis, applied linguistics, rhetoric &/or professional or academic writing 
  • Comfortable discussing context specific language use (expressions used in official email, to a friend, methods section vs. intro, etc.)


Also a Plus but not required

  • Knowledge of visual design principles useful in discussing posters or figures
  • Knowledge of and experience with formatting features in common writing tools (Word, Scrivener, LaTex, etc.)
  • Interest in or experience with developing and/or leading workshops on language, writing, communication, technology or graduate school topics
  • Interest or experience in planning/organizing events
  • Knowledge of and experience with reference management software (Endnote, Mendeley, etc.)
  • Understanding of or interest in learning UVA brand guidelines


Current Need

Deadline: ongoing, apply by Sept. 30th, 2019 for best consideration

(applications will be accepted after this date; applications may be kept on file for future opportunities)

Start date: flexible, fall preferred

End date: potentially ongoing; initial appointment will be for 1 semester

Hours per week: 3-10

Pay: $18/hour


To Apply

Submit the following as attachments to a single email to with ‘GWL consultant app’ in the subject line 

  • CV - be sure to note any related teaching, tutoring, and writing/presenting experience
  • Cover letter (1-2 pages; include expected available # (a range is OK) of hours/week/semester & possible start date(s); experience & preparation for tutoring & for working with multilingual writers)

Questions  & cover letters can be directed to the Graduate Writing Lab director, Kelly Cunningham, at

  • Online Resources

    The Graduate Writing Lab has compiled a selection of online resources relevant to the writing and communication needs of UVA Engineering graduate students.

    View Online Resources
  • Get Involved

    The Graduate Writing Lab provides a number of opportunities for faculty, post docs, and graduate students to get involved. Those with research or grant writing experience might considering being on a panel or leading a workshop. Future opportunities may exist for assisting with research projects, text cleaning, text analysis, qualitative coding, resource development, consultant training and more. See our current opportunities including position announcements by following the link below.

    See Current Opportunities