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 current Westminster students for an hourly fee. These consultations, which take place on Zoom, provide personal feedback on your writing for course papers as well as personal answers to your specific questions about your writing. To meet with a CTW consultant, schedule an appointment using the link on our CTW Canvas page to the online appointment scheduling form. Hourly rates and procedure for payment are provided on this form.

If you do not see an available time that fits your schedule, or if you have any questions about scheduling an appointment, please email ctw@wts.edu for more information.

Current Westminster 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 consult about a paper that is not completely finished. Getting feedback in the middle of the writing process, or getting advice 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

Our recommended Westminster editors possess professional editing or proofreading experience. They are familiar with Westminster and have experience in editing theological writing. Many also have experience teaching nonnative English speakers and editing their writing. As recommended editors, they receive training and updates from us regularly, and all follow the editing guidelines set by the Center for Theological Writing, including the most recent version of the WTS Format Guidelines.

Obtaining an Editor

The CTW provides current Westminster students with referrals to editors for writing course papers, Dmin projects, or ThM and PhD theses. If you are interested in hiring an editor, contact us at ctw@wts.edu. We will ask you for some basic information about your paper (due date, length, topic, and so on), request a sample of your paper, and then match you with an available editor. It is your responsibility to prepare the manuscript so that it is ready to be edited

The editor should provide you with an estimate before beginning work. The estimate should be based on an actual sample from your paper, and priced so that the student pays the equivalent of $30–40 per hour. Financial arrangements and the schedule are agreed upon between the editor and the student.

After your paper is edited, we will be checking in with you by means of an online survey about your experience with your Westminster-recommended editor. It is your responsibility to tell us about any problems that may arise in the editing process. 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 editing or proofreading experience and knowledge of Westminster. The editor must pass the Westminster editing test.

2. Editors should adhere to the editing parameters listed 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. 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 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 $30–40 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 another word processing program) 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, word form, modification, agreement, word choice.

The Copy Editor Does...

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

Instead, the editor should mark some examples and then direct the student to correct similar instances in the rest of the document (see # 3 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 or she 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 student’s attention to the pattern of error.

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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