Howe Writing Initiative offers business students ways to improve writing skills

February 2014

As the spring semester gets underway, more students are discovering a hidden gem on the third floor of FSB - the Howe Writing Initiative (HWI).The HWI strives to enhance the quality of student writing here at Farmer, and it certainly has had success as far as numbers go. In the tiny office on the third floor of Farmer, 700 consultations were conducted during the fall semester. That's 700 resumes, cover letters, reports and presentations strengthened by a one-on-one experience.

For this semester, the HWI will double the number of hours of available consultation time, which means more time for business students to get help with their writing assignments. There are also resources on the website—including examples, overviews of business writing standards and even teaching resources for faculty.

The HWI also offers Writers' workshops to students. If you attend 6 workshops, you receive a Recognition of Completion certificate, which, according to the website, will help students "develop essential writing skills and have an impressive line for [their] resume."

One of the most compelling aspects of the Howe Writing Initiative is the fact that the consultations are conducted by students for students. Veteran consultant Ryan McHenry views the services offered by the Initiative as important tools that students should take advantage of.

"If the student is either a first year or second year, then our specific experience related to business writing can help supplement their BUS 102 course," he said. "It's often difficult for students to transition from an English literature style of writing to the more concise, tactful, and direct style necessary for business writing. I believe the most important thing we provide students is the ability to think through how to best communicate their message to the correct audience—in a professional, business environment, of course!"

The consultants themselves learn a lot from this experience. "I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment as a tutor whenever a student leaves with even the smallest new writing skill," Ryan said. "Probably my favorite thing from the past year working at the HWI is seeing repeat visitors. I probably had 6-8 students who signed up for me multiple times and it was awesome seeing their progression throughout the semester as writers."

Be sure to check out the website to make an appointment and make use of the numerous resources offered by the Howe Writing Initiative at or email director Heidi McKee at