College of Business Communications Center – Iowa State University – Featured Writing Center

College of Business Communications Center – Iowa State University – Ames, Iowa

Describe your institutional context.

Iowa State University is a large, R-1, land grant university that serves 36,660 undergraduate and graduate students and employs approximately 10,000 faculty and staff. While Iowa State is a large school that is well-known for its agricultural and engineering programs, its business college is rapidly growing and has been recently recognized by the Princeton Review as one of the top 3 colleges producing highly paid finance majors. Our center is housed in ISU’s College of Business, which is populated by almost 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students in 7 business- related disciplines such as accounting, finance, supply chain management, and marketing.

What are your hours during the academic year?

8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. We are closed 12-1 for a lunch hour.

If you have a mission statement, what is it?

The ability to communicate clearly and concisely to a specific audience is a skill that is central to being successful in business.

Tell us about how your writing center is staffed.

Currently, we have one full-time director and one full-time assistant director that have advanced degrees in rhetoric, public speaking, and composition studies. Additionally, we have 3 graduate consultants that come from different business disciplines in the college such as business administration or accounting. Our consultants come recommended to us by their instructors and work 8-10 hours per week each.

Tell us how your tutors are trained.

Our tutors are not rhetoric scholars so we approach training in a very practical way. We spend the Fall semester providing our tutors a background in writing center pedagogy and tutoring techniques. Fall also gives us time to prepare our tutors with a common language–we cover things like grammar and public speaking practices so that our tutors are better equipped to explain the rules behind corrections instead of “it just sounds right.” Spring semester covers business genres that are frequently encountered in our work. We examine, analyze, and create sample documents like memos, resumes, cover letters, CVs, budget and proposal reports, etc.


Tell us about the writers you work with.

Because we are housed in and paid for the College of Business at Iowa State, we are a discipline-based writing center that works with business communicators. Our work is multi-modal and encompasses all areas of communication: written, oral, visual, and electronic. All of our communicators are from the College of Business or enrolled in a business course. We primarily serve undergraduates, but frequently see graduate students as well. In addition, our director and assistant director work with faculty and staff to help make their communications-based projects and work stronger and more effective.

Tell us two additional things you’d like people to know about your writing center.

Our center is actively involved in research originating from the university’s graduate college that is designed to address the various rhetorical and linguistic “moves” academic papers make in their disciplines. We are analyzing a corpus of academic journal articles from business disciplines to identify how they are commonly structured. The purpose is to ultimately make academic writing a more effective process for scholars.

We are new to social media presence, but are having so much fun with it. Follow us on Facebook (isucobcommuncationscenter), Instagram(@isucobcommunicationscenter), Twitter(@isucobcommctr), and Pinterest ( We love having our colleagues interact with us on social media!

Whom should I contact if I want to know more about this writing center?

Abhi Rao, Director,

Jamie Sass, Assistant Director,