Mt. SAC Writing Center : Tutors in the Classroom

Embedded Writing Support Program (EWS)


Mt. SAC has long recognized and used both tutoring and  supplemental instruction to support its students’ learning. In our Writing Center tutors are known as writing support specialists (WSS). With their assistance, students  are provided with clear structure and techniques for how to approach academic material, while stimulating the learning process. A good writing specialist can help a student to develop the self-awareness (meta-cognitive skills) needed to succeed in independently applying learning strategies.  Similarly, supplemental instruction (or SI) is a peer-facilitated academic support program that  attempts to improve student performance and retention by offering regularly scheduled, out-of class review sessions. In early 2009 and most recently 2024, the Writing Center tried to combine the best elements of  both with some specific writing support – and the Embedded Wrting Support Program was born!

    • How does the EWS program work?

      The Embedded Writing Support program is designed to support students' writing in 3 ways:

      1. A dedicated writing specialist is placed with an instructor in one section of composition and will be in the classroom for several hours a week to assist the instructor and to become familiar with the class work and assignments.
      2. Dedicated writing specialists will lead group writing sessions outside of class time to facilitate understanding of class assignments for students. Group writing sessions are held in one of the computer classrooms located in the Writing Center.
      3. Students can make individual appointments with their DWS during specified hours at the Writing Center or online.


    • Who and what is a DWS?

      A DWS is a dedicated writing specialist assigned to specific English and/or AMLA writing courses (with priority given to ENG 1A/80 and AMLA 90 sections). DWSs lead supplemental group sessions and provide individual outside of class time in addition to assisting with several hours on in-class time every week. They provide a collaborative and interactive learning environment where students can improve their understanding of the course through additional practice and reinforcement of class materials. Note: DWSs are not guaranteed for all English levels due to budget restrictions.

      * SI (Supplemental Instruction); ET (Embedded Tutor), EWS (Embedded Writing Specialist)

    • Request a DWS for your Class

      EWSs are, if funding allows,  automatically assigned to English 1A/80. If you would like to request an EWS to be assigned to your non-1A/80 class, please email Trista Payte for more information ( 


      • What are faculty saying about the EWS program?

        "Our DWS was very open to suggestions and amenable in every situation. By the same token, she felt confident enough to oftentimes offer ideas from her perspective as a student-tutor to help me understand my students' ways of knowing and thinking."

        "The program provided excellent support for pedagogy. I could count on the TC to conduct excellent tutoring sessions. The review of the lessons and the one-on-one TC-student assistance was a tremendous help to the students' comprehension of the assignments."

        "My DWS has been a great asset to this class. She has innovative ideas, and students relate to her well. In fact, students feel safe with her as their tutor

      • What are students saying about the EWS program?

        "My DWS really helped my confidence (in writing)! She would say, 'You're a great writer!' or 'That's a really good hook!' She helped me think critically and was very patient with me during our sessions. I appreciate her availability and willingness to help not only me but others in the class as well. She was awesome, truly inspiring, and a joy to have in class! I owe my success in this class to her!"

        "The DWS for our class was very informed on the subjects that we had to write about, which made it very easy for us to go to him for help. He knew exactly what people were struggling with!"

        "My DWS really understood what I needed help with in writing and was very helpful during our tutoring sessions."

For more information about our EWS Program please contact Trista Payte at