Improving writing skills across all disciplines
Smarthinking’s tutors work with students online to address writing-specific topics, such as pre-writing techniques, research strategies, documentation, and grammar and mechanics. Students can submit their writing for detailed review in the Writing Center, schedule an appointment in advance, or request a drop-in session. Students can also submit questions offline anytime, and a tutor will respond within 24 hours. For students who prefer to supplement text-based dialogue, Smarthinking offers pre-scheduled sessions in several subjects with audio.
Personalized feedback for improved writing
Students can also submit their writing for a detailed writing review. Our tutors review paragraphs, essays, cover letters, and resumes and provide substantive, individualized comments designed to help students improve their writing. We can also provide specialized support in technical writing, creative writing, ESL and career writing.
Smarthinking’s writing tutors provide comments and suggestions but do not edit, proofread, or fix student work. Writing review services include the following options:
- Paragraph, Standard Essay, or Long Essay Review
- Grammar and Documentation Review
- Resume and Cover Letter Review
Each detailed critique contains a response form with substantial personalized feedback on strengths and areas for improvement, a distilled revision plan, and targeted comments embedded directly in the student’s writing submission.
Meet some of our Writing tutors
Dr. Vanessa Baker
As a professor, writer, editor, and theatre director, Dr. Vanessa Baker enjoys working with a wide range of students. She has taught college theatre classes for over five years, at Bowling Green State University (Ohio) and now at Austin College (Texas). She has a B.A. in English Education, and earned her Ph.D. in Theatre from Bowling Green State University in 2010. Vanessa has worked at Smarthinking since 2008.
Amy Boylan has a Bachelor’s in Journalism from West Virginia University and a Master’s in Education from DePaul University, both with distinction. Her professional background coupled with her broad experience as an educator have given Amy a unique perspective and skill-set to effectively craft student feedback on a personal level. Identifying and understanding key issues, using relevant and clear models, and maintaining a positive tone have been key components of her successful reviews.
Darrell Clayton Baughn
Darrell received his A.A., B.A., M.A., P.H.D. (ABD) in English, and J.D., and served in the United States Army for 12 .5 years as a Judge Advocate where he deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, he trained Servicemembers in fields ranging from ethics and the law to writing and critical thinking. He has published articles in the Army Lawyer, the Family Advocate, and On Point. Currently, he tutors in writing for Smarthinking and teaches English and Business at Belhaven University.
Lead Writing Tutor
Lesley received her MFA for poetry and nonfiction from Chatham University in 2005. A lead tutor for Smarthinking, poetry/nonfiction editor for damselfly press, and freelance editor, she finds joy and promise in the writings of others. As a writer herself, Lesley can relate to the struggle. A published poet, essayist, and reviewer, her work has appeared in many online and print journals, including The Mom Egg, Heron Tree, The Citron Review, New Pages, and The Review Review.
Lead Writing Tutor
Benjamin received his MA in English Literature from WestfieldState University in 2009. His thesis explored the evolution of romantic friendships in fin de siècle British literature. He has worked as a script consultant in the film industry and served as story editor on the graphic novel Freedom Edge. In his free time, he enjoys writing speculative short fiction.
Senior Lead Tutor
Joshua joined Smarthinking in 2011 after ten years teaching in public and charter schools. In addition to working alongside students and overseeing the training and development of new tutors at Smarthinking, Joshua has done freelance work in social media, content creation, and editing, including being named editor-in-chief and fatherhood expert at ChildGood magazine. He considers family a top priority, and enjoys playing and hiking with his three children.
Tyler is a credentialed high school English teacher with more than ten years of experience working with a diverse array of students. He has taught Advanced Placement Language and Composition as well as classes to assist students in passing the California High School Exit Exam. He enjoys assisting students with the multitude of challenges posed by the writing process, whether they are writing their first college-level essay or polishing up the fourth draft of a long-term research project.
Online Writing Tutor
Dan started with Pearson in 2011. Prior to that, he taught several Composition and Literature classes, some of which were focused in Disability Studies. Dan’s work applying Disability Studies to writing and popular culture has been published in The English Journal, the Encyclopedia of Human Services and Diversity, and he has written a chapter for the upcoming Palgrave collection titled Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives. He often brings these examples into his work with Pearson students as well.
Tana Regan began working as a writing tutor for Smarthinking in 2009. Over the last six years, she has had several roles including writing tutor, lead writing tutor, senior lead writing tutor, and quality specialist. The thing she likes most about working for Smarthinking is helping students become stronger writers. In addition to working for Smarthinking, Tana is the mother of three (ages 6, 12, and 17) and has been married for over 17 years to her husband George.
Quality Manager, Writing and Humanities
Rebecca joined Smarthinking in 2007 as a writing tutor. She served as Lead Tutor and Quality Specialist before being promoted to Quality Manager. Rebecca works closely with tutors and leads to ensure consistent quality. Rebecca first tutored at Truman State University’s Writing Center. Rebecca also taught secondary English prior to joining Smarthinking. Rebecca received her Masters of Arts in Education from Truman State University in 2005 with a focus on secondary English education.
Lindsey R. Stixrud
Lindsey has almost twenty years of experience as a tutor and freelance editor. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a minor in Legal Studies from Pacific Lutheran University, and more recently earned a certificate in Criminal Justice. In 2014, she was given the Tacoma Community College Foundation Excellence Award for her contributions to the college’s Writing and Tutoring Center. Lindsey has tutored for Smarthinking since 2004.
Regina attended Bethel College, where she received Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Communications, and Theatre Arts; as well as her Masters in English Education. After working as a newspaper editor and in professional theatre, Regina found her calling as an Advanced Placement English facilitator in Northern Indiana. Regina reviewed her first essay in August as a Smarthinking Tutor, and has smiled at this experience of being able to help students improve their writing.
Associate Director, Writing and Humanities
Since joining Smarthinking in 2003 as a writing tutor, Michael served as a lead tutor, trainer, efficiency specialist, and quality manager before being made Associate Director in 2014. As Associate Director for Smarthinking’s Writing,Michael Wilson is responsible for the daily management of the department and plays a key role in overseeing all Writing operations.
A college-level rhetoric and composition instructor for more than 15 years,Michael received his M.A. from National University of Ireland, Galway.
Senior Lead Writing Tutor
Kristin began her journey as a writing tutor in 2006, and two years later, she was promoted to lead tutor. In 2013, she became a Senior Lead, a position which currently involves overseeing 27 writing tutors, assisting with professional development projects, helping maintain the company’s quality standards, and participating in new tutor training. Kristin, who holds an M.A. in English from Georgia State University, also has eleven years of teaching experience, which both informs and enriches her work at Smarthinking.
Senior Operations Coordinator
As the Sr. Operations Coordinator for the writing department, Karen oversees reporting and administrative matters related to Smarthinking’s writing tutor team. Karen has worked for Smarthinking since 2010.
Prior to joining Smarthinking, Karen worked for the University of Pennsylvania Health System as a Marketing Specialist. Karen graduated from Temple University with a B.A. in Communications.
A native New Yorker and a Harvard College graduate, with a psychology M.A. and a TESOL M.Ed., Rick has had careers in both music and education. He has traveled overland through Africa, played piano on cruise ships in the Caribbean, and taught language at several universities in Japan. In 2010, he retired after 8 years teaching composition at the University of Guam, and the following year joined Smarthinking.