POWER Services support graduate students and faculty at Texas A&M who:
- Wish to improve their writing ability,
- Wish to learn how to write more productively, or
- Struggle with their current writing skills.
POWER is not a proof-reading service or editing center. If you need specific help with editing or proof reading, visit the University Writing Center.
Our consultants range from graduate students to faculty that are dedicated to helping their peers:
- Gain mastery over their writing,
- Become more productive writers, and
- Become productive researchers.
Our mission is to help people in academia deal with the common but seldom discussed problems and complexities of writing. Consulting with members of POWER Services, graduate students and faculty alike will be able to:
- Discuss the writing process,
- De-stigmatize writing difficulties faced by many students and faculty, and
- Learn practical tips for academic writing.
POWER Consultants will:
- Help students transform their writing assignments from frustrating to enjoyable tasks.
- Foster the development of productive writing habits among graduate students and faculty.
Importance of Writing in Academics
Writing constitutes one of the most important tools for a successful career in academia, for milestones such as:
- Performance assessments, and
- Peer reviews.
The pressure to write well and often begins early. For example, doctoral students currently entering the academic workforce do better with at least one peer-reviewed publication listed in their vita when applying for competitive faculty positions.
As research on academic writing indicates, productive writing does not happen naturally for most people, and a positive attitude toward writing does not occur without hard work.
Writing with POWER
The notion of writing with POWER derives from the work of Peter Elbow, who taught English at both M.I.T. and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is a well-known theorist of the writing process and someone who revolutionized how writing is taught. For many years, he studied the mechanisms that hinder and/or facilitate writing. His research began when he dropped out of graduate school due to poor writing skills; he began to systematically analyze the factors that helped or blocked his ability to write. His findings have since become a model for high-quality, productive, and enjoyable writing for many people.
For Elbow, the phrase “writing with power” has two meanings:
The first meaning is most likely what we think of when we hear ‘writing with power’; powerful writing such as written words that make a difference in readers, individual lives, or in the lives of entire communities. Some examples of writing with power in this sense include:
- The U.S. Constitution,
- The Declaration of Independence,
- Religious texts,
- Classical literature, and
We highlight Peter Elbow’s second meaning in POWER Writing Services:
“Writing with power also means getting power over yourself and the writing process. Knowing what you are doing as you write; being in charge; having control; not feeling stuck or helpless or intimidated. I am particularly interested in this second kind of power in writing and I have found that without it you seldom achieve the first kind.” (Elbow, 1998, p. viii)