FAQs - Faculty

Browse the list of questions that Rice faculty often ask about the CAPC

Browse answers to frequently asked questions.

What happens when a student makes an appointment at the Center?

Students should bring a copy of the assignment instructions and whatever document they have produced at that point. Our consultants can work with students at any stage in the composing process: brainstorming, crafting a thesis statement or with a partial or completed drafts. The consultant will read (or watch, in the case of a presentation) what students brings, then offer feedback on how effectively students communicated their ideas. The point of a consultation is to improve the student’s long-term communication skills, so the consultant will give the student a variety of strategies to consider using on future assignments.

One of my students makes a lot of grammatical mistakes in his writing. Can I require him to come to the Center?

Although our peer consultants don’t proofread or edit texts for students, they can give students advice about sentence-level issues like grammar and punctuation. Research shows that it is not effective to require students to use a tutorial service, but we strongly encourage you to recommend that this student make an appointment (and even a series of regular appointments) with one of our consultants. You are welcome to use our referral form, which you will fill out and give to the student to bring to the appointment.

Can I require my students to use the Center?

Before doing so, we ask that you contact the Center’s director. If you would like your entire class to have a consultation on a particular assignment, we can make arrangements to train consultants especially for that assignment (with your input) and to schedule the consultations around your students’ schedules.It is not a good idea to require an individual student to come for a consultation because students tend to get much more out of any service when they have made the choice to use the service. It is also possible that the problem(s) you have observed are better addressed by you, as the instructor—for example, writing issues commonly occur when a student does not understand the course content or a particular reading. We recommend that you first talk to the student one-on-one, to assess why the student is struggling. During that meeting you could strongly encourage the student to make an appointment (or even a series of appointments) at the Center, if you feel such an appointment would be useful to the student. We have a referral form that you can print out and give to the student to bring to the appointment.

Do you provide proof that a student visited the Center?

Due to the volume of visits, we do not routinely provide a form for every appointment; however, we do have a proof-of-attendance form you can print out and give to the student to bring to the appointment. (These forms are also available at the CAPC for students to request.) At the conclusion of the appointment, the consultant will sign the form and return it to the student. If you arrange for the Center to conduct a special workshop or program for your course, we are happy to track attendance at that activity.

Is there suggested language about the Center that I can put on my syllabus?

Yes. You are welcome to use the following text and to amend it to the needs of your course. You are encouraged to make appointments with the peer consultants at the Center for Academic and Professional Communication for your assignments in this course. These consultants do not proofread or edit your work, but they will provide feedback on topics such as the organization of your paper or presentation, the coherence of your argument, appropriate sentence structure and grammatical errors. You can make an appointment at the Center’s website:

Can someone from the Center come to my class to talk about your services?

Absolutely—we would love to do so! To make arrangements for a 10-minute presentation, contact us.

Can someone from the Center come to my class to give a presentation?

Certainly. We have prepared workshops on various communication topics, such as avoiding plagiarism, giving an effective oral presentation, and designing a PowerPoint talk. We are happy to create a new presentation for your course as well. You can request a workshop here.

Do you work only with undergraduates?

No. Our mission is to serve all members of the Rice community. Students make appointments through our website; faculty and staff should make appointments by contacting us. We accept appointments from graduate and post-doctoral students for giving feedback on papers, theses, dissertations, conference proposals and presentations, grant proposals, journal articles, and job talks. We have worked with instructors on such items as designing writing-intensive assignments and syllabi and revising journal articles.

I want to incorporate more writing or presentation assignments into my syllabus, but I don’t know how to teach those skills – can the Center help me?

Yes. We are happy to sit down one-on-one with instructors to help them consider how to design, teach and assess communication-related assignments and projects. To make an appointment for this service, contact Kyung-Hee Bae at or x4915.

I want to incorporate more writing assignments into my course, but those assignments are too hard to grade!

The staff of the Center has extensive experience designing and assessing writing-related assignments in courses across the curriculum. We have developed a number of strategies to reduce the burden of grading communications-related assignments, and we would be happy to talk with you one-on-one about your goals and needs for specific assignments.

I would like to get feedback on my own writing or practice a presentation. Am I eligible to use the Center's services?

Yes. Every year the staff of the CAPC fields such requests from Rice faculty and staff. We recognize that everyone can benefit from feedback and encourage you to meet with us. To arrange an appointment to discuss your own work, contact Kyung-Hee Bae at or x4915. We also offer workshops, open to all Rice faculty members, once or twice a year on various aspects of communication pedagogy. These are advertised directly to faculty members via PRES-FAC, so look for our email messages.

What services do you offer students other than individual consultations?

We hold a variety of workshops and short courses every year, ranging from communication skills for ESL students, to designing RURS posters, to dissertation boot camps. See what we are currently offering.