Help with Writing

writing • learning • teaching

At the Medical University of South Carolina, writing, learning, and teaching naturally form the core of our educational mission, but they are also essential to providing effective care and discovering new ways to improve health. If we don’t write well, our discoveries will not be understood or used. If we don’t seek to learn information that improves the care we provide, our patients will suffer. If we don’t teach what we’ve learned to the next generation of health care providers and biomedical researchers, the public’s health will be in jeopardy. The Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) and the Writing Center are central to MUSC’s goal of ensuring that all students communicate clearly, learn efficiently and creatively, and benefit from master teachers.

Writing Center faculty members teach students to communicate effectively with their professors, their fellow students, and their patients. The newest initiative of the Writing Center is the creation of three interprofessional, humanities elective courses that offer opportunities for students to interpret patient stories more effectively, engage in reflective practice, and develop empathy for patients. Every day, Writing Center faculty consult individually with students and faculty on a variety of writing projects. From a review of literature on the latest standards of care or a cover letter for that first job to a dissertation or grant proposal, these experts in scientific and professional writing teach the skills necessary for career success.

Because student success is its heart, the CAE is dedicated to improving learning and teaching on campus. Health care providers must learn and re-learn in order to adapt their practices to the latest advances in biomedical science. They also must collaborate with colleagues across professions to provide quality care and conduct groundbreaking research. That’s why the CAE provides collaborative learning groups; and the effectiveness of these groups is why a majority of MUSC students choose to participate—in addition to their scheduled class time. To discuss and analyze material covered in large lectures, senior students teach and mentor junior ones, sometimes across health care disciplines. Overwhelmingly, students who participate in this supplemental instruction report doing better in their courses; more importantly, they tell us they learn more. The benefit accrues to the senior students as well—our published research shows they score significantly higher on national exams and improve their grades at MUSC.

Another vital part of the work of the CAE is teaching the material and the strategies necessary for success on national and state licensing board/certifying exams. Under the tutelage of CAE faculty and their fellow students, students approach these rigorous exams with confidence and exceed national performance averages.

The CAE and the Writing Center are allies for students, faculty, and staff, ensuring it does everything possible to support student success.

Writing Consultation

Our faculty are committed to not only supporting your role as teacher but also aiding in the development of other areas of your academic career. Publishing and securing grant funding are essential to career advancement.

We invite you to schedule an appointment with one of our Writing Center faculty at any and all stages of the writing process. Our goal is to teach you to become a more efficient and effective writer.

The Writing Center is a resource for students, faculty, and staff for the development of good writing skills.

Elements of Good Writing

Essay exam questions, book reviews, technical and scientific reports, curriculum vitae, resumes, personal statements, or research papers -- it doesn't matter. The principles of good writing are not limited to particular courses or colleges but apply across all academic disciplines. Elements common to all good writing are:

  • Perspective - Competent writing must have a strongly stated purpose and perspective on  what writing teachers call voice or point of view.
  • Audience - To communicate effectively, writers must have a sense of audience and persuasive purpose.
  • Evidence - If the intent is to persuade the reader, good writing must marshall evidence or support.
  • Logic - Good writing must have internal logic and coherence from the paragraph level to the entire work.
  • Correctness - Good writing displays a control of language and tone: grammar, punctuation, and spellings are generally correct.

What is good writing?

Good writing is effective writing.  It persuades clearly.  A crucial way to make writing clearer and more persuasive is to get feedback from an expert and experienced reader.  That’s what the Writing Center provides.  The Writing Center faculty assess writing  based on the demands of the various health care disciplines here at MUSC.

For students

Writing Center faculty meet with students individually to develop writing skills.  Students writing course projects, papers for publication, applications for academic programs, and resumes or curriculum vitae are welcome to schedule an appointment.

For faculty

The Center houses a library of materials for improving teaching by using writing throughout the curriculum.  Our faculty consult with course professors to develop innovative assignments that incorporate writing in their syllabi.  MUSC faculty are also welcome to schedule individual appointments to discuss any writing projects, from papers for publication to grant proposals to curriculum vitae.

For staff*

From individual consultations to specially tailored workshops, the Writing Center is happy to help staff resolve writing problems.  Whether you’re working on an application in order to return to school, putting together a report, or updating your resume, our faculty are eager to assist you. Contact Us.

*Staff includes residents and fellows.