Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs / Writing Center

Faculty Resources

The Writing Center and Support for Faculty 

Writing Center staff are available to faculty. We will help develop writing assignments, give tips on commenting on student writing, answer your APA or other writing questions, and assist you with your own writing needs. We also work with CELT to provide webinars on assignment design, teaching and learning APA, using SafeAssign, commenting and grading efficiently, and more. The webinars and resources are archived here.

In addition to the resources provided on our website, you will find some commonly asked questions and resources for your course below.

How can I refer a student to the Writing Center?

The best way to direct students to the Writing Center is by sharing this information with your students:

Writing Center consultants are available by appointment Monday through Saturday to help students with writing assignments. Our consultations are by appointment only. Please visit and click on “Appointments/Workshops” to register and log in to our online calendar. For more information call 612-728-5154 (toll free 866-437-2788, ext. 5154) or e-mail

Our services our confidential but students may request copies of our session notes. They are free to share these with you as proof that they met with us. In some limited cases involving plagiarism, our staff may discuss our sessions with faculty and program directors. See our policies for more information.

How do I request a class visit?
On Campus Faculty

Writing Center staff are available for a 5-10 min introductory visit to go over the services we provide and for 30 min to 1 hr class visits on the following topics:

  1. Note-taking for Research Writing
  2. Paragraph Structure
  3. Quoting and Paraphrasing
  4. Top Five Grammar Errors

For the longer visits, students will be expected to have previewed the corresponding e-learning module (available below) and provide a draft of an assignment or workshop.

Requests for class visits should be made at least 2 weeks in advance.

To schedule a class visit or for support with another aspect of teaching writing, please contact the Writing Center at or 612-728-5154.

Online Faculty 

If you are teaching an online class, please see our e-learning modules below. For an overview of our services, refer students to our introductory video.

E-learning Modules to use in your Classroom

The following are e-learning modules developed for use in your classroom:

  1. Note-taking for Research Writing
  2. Paragraph Structure (Coming soon!)
  3. Quoting and Paraphrasing
  4. Top 5 Grammar Errors
  5. Avoiding Plagiarism
  6. APA Self-Assessment (This is a SCORM Module that you can request by contacting us at
How should I format APA-style references for my course syllabus?


As an example to students and for consistency, please list textbooks and recommended readings in APA style on your syllabus. Here is an example:
Ramage, J. D., & Bean, J. C. (2003). Writing arguments: A rhetoric with readings (3rd ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Simon & Schuster.

General Guidelines

  • Use double-spaced hanging indents for references. For a hanging indent, place the first line at the left margin; indent subsequent lines one-half inch.
  • Place elements of an entry in the following order:
    • author’s last name, first initial(s);
    • year of publication;
    • title of book, in italics;
    • place of publication, followed by name of publisher.
  • End each element with a period.

Author/Editor Element

  • Type last name only, followed by initial(s). Do not use first names or titles.
  • If no author or editor is provided, move the title into the author position and retain title formatting. Use the term anonymous only when the source uses the term.
  • If book is edited and has no author, place the editor(s) name(s) in the author’s position and follow it by Ed(s). in parentheses: Donovan, T. R., & McClelland, B. W. (Eds.).
  • If the book has both author and editor, list the editor’s name after the title, initials first: B. Stay (Ed.).
  • If the book has more than 7 authors, list the first 6, place …, and the last.
  • If the author is an organization, do not abbreviate any part of the organization’s name.

Publications Date Element

  • Place year of publication in parentheses, followed by a period.
  • If no date is provided, use the abbreviation n.d. in parentheses: (n.d.).

Title Element

  • Italicize book titles.
  • Capitalize only the first word, the first word after a colon (indicating a subtitle), and proper nouns: Uncommon sense: Theoretical practice in language education.
  • If an edition number exists, place it in parentheses after the title. Use a numeral, not a word, for the ordinal number. Do not capitalize the abbreviation for edition (to distinguish it from the abbreviation for editor). Place the period after the parenthesis to end the element: On writing well: An informal guide to writing nonfiction (4th ed.).

Publication Element

  • For books, the publication information consists of city and state (or country) of publication and the publishers name. Punctuation is important to keep components clear: Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Use the two-digit US Postal Service codes for state abbreviations, and spell out country names.
  • Do not include superfluous words such as Co., Inc., or Publisher in the publisher’s name.
  • If the author and publisher are the same, use the word Author in place of publisher name: American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Call the Writing Center (612-728-5154 or toll free 866-437-2788, ext 5154) with your questions. You can also email us (

How do I avoid copyright issues in my course?


This page contains information and links that will enable faculty and staff to use copyrighted materials within the boundaries of federal copyright law. The use of copyrighted materials–including audio/video tapes and electronic documents from the Internet–for educational purposes does not exempt users from provisions of copyright law. However, the Fair Use provision (sections 107 through 118 of the Copyright Act) does allow a degree of latitude for educators who follow certain guidelines. The links below will lead to explanations of Fair Use guidelines. Note, however, that the Fair Use provision is open to interpretation. Only a court can decide if an individual situation is covered by Fair Use.

Copyright law is, in some cases, still unsettled regarding the limitations on electronic usage–for example, linkage from one website to parts of another. The links below provide information about the expanding case law regarding electronic copyrighted materials.

N.B. By providing links to other sites, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota does not guarantee, approve, or endorse the information or products available at these sites.

Copyright – U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright and Fair Use – Stanford University Libraries

Fair Use – U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright in an Electronic Environment – North Carolina Public Schools

Regents Guide to Understanding Copyright and Educational Fair Use – University of Georgia System, Office of Legal Affairs

Copyright in the New World of Electronic Publishing – William Strong, of Kotin, Crabtree, and Strong, Attorneys at Law

Journal of Electronic Publishing – University of Michigan Press

Difference Between Copyright and Plagiarism

Copyright is a matter of law whose intent is to protect original authors from loss rights and revenues of the material they created. Merely citing the source of the copyrighted material does not protect the use from copyright violations. The user must obtain permission from the copyright holder in order to quote from, copy, or distribute the original work.

Plagiarism, on the other hand, is a matter of academic and professional ethics. Plagiarism is the use of another’s material, whether or not that material is copyrighted, without citing the original author. If the plagiarizer uses copyrighted material and makes copies for distribution without permission, then the plagiarizer may also have violated copyright law.


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