Academic Study

Consulting & Editing

CTW Consultations

For editing of theses and projects, please scroll down to the “Editing Services” section below.  For help with course papers, please go to our CTW Canvas page to find resources pertaining to your course. Our staff is glad to help you find the resources you need, or answer brief writing questions by email (ctw@wts.edu). We look forward to hearing from you!

What We Do

CTW’s mission is to help you become a better writer. In one-on-one consultations, we provide feedback on rhetoric, grammar, and formatting. We also help you get started on your assignments, brainstorm ideas, set up a writing schedule, and improve the organization and clarity of your papers.

Becoming a better writer takes time. Students are invited to email us at ctw@wts.edu for answers to quick questions. For most class assignments, however, we ask that you make a consultation appointment to discuss your paper in depth.

Scheduling Consultations

One-on-one consultations with CTW staff are available for an hourly fee. These consultations provide personal feedback on your writing for course papers, and personal answers to your specific questions about your writing. To meet with a CTW consultant, schedule an appointment using our online form. Hourly rates are listed on the appointment scheduling form. Arrive ten minutes before your appointment time to pay by credit or debit card before your appointment begins.

If none of the available times work for you, or if you have any questions about scheduling an appointment, please email ctw@wts.edu for more information.

We request that you pay for your scheduled appointment before the consultation begins, so please come to the CTW main office (Room A213 in the Andreas Center of the Montgomery Library) ten minutes before your appointment time. A credit or debit card is required.

Masters-level students may sign up for one hour per week. Additional hours per week are allowed at the discretion of the CTW Director on a case-by-case basis. Plan your semester in advance so that you can take advantage of this service! Also remember that it is OK to come in with a paper that is not completely finished. Getting feedback in the middle of the writing process, or getting help before you begin, can help you write more effectively.

We are available to work with you on all aspects of your writing, including grammar, punctuation, and formatting, but if you would prefer to use an editor, please see the description of our editor referral service.

Editing Services

Editor Referrals
About Our Editors

The CTW provides editorial referrals for all levels of academic and theological writing. Our recommended editors possess professional copy editing or proofreading experience and a Westminster education or the equivalent. Many have experience teaching nonnative English speakers and editing their writing. As recommended editors, all follow certain general guidelines set by the Center for Theological Writing, including the most recent WTS Format Guidelines.

Obtaining an Editor

If you are interested in hiring an editor, contact the Center for Theological Writing at ctw@wts.edu. Once you have provided preliminary information on your writing project, the CTW will put you in touch with the right editor for you.

Once contacted by a student, an editor will prepare an initial estimate for a student before a job is accepted. The estimate should be based on an actual sample from the paper to be edited, and priced so that the student pays the equivalent of $25 per hour for the work (subject to negotiation). Arrangements are made directly between the editor and the student.

Students are encouraged to provide the CTW with feedback on an individual editor’s work. Likewise, it is the student’s responsibility to report any problems that may arise in the editing process to the CTW. This accountability allows the CTW to continue to offer consistently high quality editing services.

Guidelines for WTS Recommended Copy Editors

1. The editor should have professional copy editing or proofreading experience and a WTS seminary education, or the equivalent. The editor must pass the WTS copy-editing test.

2. Editors should adhere to copy editing parameters on the table below. These parameters are designed to encourage the student to be responsible for the final product, to continue to learn skills needed in academic pursuits, and, in the case of the thesis, to maintain proper boundaries for the role of the thesis advisor, the student, and the copy editor. Copy editing should focus on the grammatical and formatting level and avoid comments on the content of the thesis, the development or logic of the paragraphs, or the order of presentation of ideas.

3. Editors may provide the student with guiding comments on some types of repeated errors in punctuation and mechanics rather than correct every instance. For example, if a student consistently forgets the period at the end of a citation, mark a handful of instances and request that the student correct this type of mistake throughout his paper. All random errors and all grammatical errors should be corrected.

4. Editors must be willing to make the appropriate changes in their approach to copy editing in response to feedback from the WTS faculty, by way of the CTW director, on quality of their work.

5. Editors must prepare an initial estimate for a student. The student must accept that estimate before the work begins. The estimate should be based on an actual sample from the paper to be edited, and priced so that the student pays the equivalent of approximately $25 per hour for the work.

6. Editors must be thoroughly familiar with the Format Guidelines for WTS Theses, Dissertations, and Projects and with Turabian/Chicago and SBL citation systems.

7. Use of track changes and the comment function in Word (or its equivalent in OpenOffice) is encouraged. Please avoid altering the student’s text in such a way that your suggested changes cannot be distinguished from the original text.

Item

The Copy Editor Does...

The Copy Editor Does Not...

Grammar Errors

The Copy Editor Does...

The copy editor should correct errors in grammar and usage. The student’s content and style should be preserved.

Typical errors by Native English speakers: subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, fragments, modification, shift, slang, and informal word choice.

Typical errors by Nonnative English speakers: sentence structure, pronouns, prepositions, articles, verb tense, word order, modification, agreement, word choice.

The Copy Editor Does...

The copy editor should not correct every instance of repeated error.

Instead, he should mark some examples and then direct the student to correct similar instances in the rest of the document (see # 5 under guidelines).

Styles

The Copy Editor Does...

The copy editor may suggest reordering words or phrases or adding transitions to increase coherence between sentences.

The copy editor may suggest substituting words that belong to an academic register for words that belong in conversation, for example, suggest substituting “he understands” for “he gets it.”

The Copy Editor Does Not...

The copy editor should avoid changes in grammar or word choice for stylistic reasons only.

The copy editor should preserve the writer’s style.

The copy editor should avoid altering the author’s choice of generic “he” or “he or she.” *

Logic

The Copy Editor Does Not...

The copy editor should avoid commenting on or correcting problems with the order of ideas, logical relations between paragraphs, leaps in logic, or other logical fallacies.

If these problems interfere with the editor’s work, he should notify the CTW director.

Content

The Copy Editor Does Not...

The copy editor should not comment on content.

Citation, Mechanics, Punctuation

The Copy Editor Does Not...

The copy editor should correct random errors and a representative number of repeated errors, drawing the students’ attention to the pattern.

The Copy Editor Does Not...

If it is evident that the student has not consulted the formatting guidelines or required style manuals, the copy editor should notify the CTW director.

* Westminster has no official policy on the use of gender neutral language, and students are encouraged to make their own choice in the matter. The Westminster Theological Journal guidelines are informative here: “The problem of ‘gender-specific language’ is considered a stylistic question that authors must resolve on their own. Contributors are encouraged, however, to avoid offending the sensibilities of readers whenever possible. Thoughtless repetition of ‘man’ in its generic sense, for example, is not advisable, but neither is the excessive use of the contrived ‘he or she’ or the use of generic ‘she.’” The current document, for example, uses generic ‘he’ with no offence or exclusion intended for its female readers.

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