UMass Boston

Research & Assessment

The UMB Writing Center is a site for research on writing and writing pedagogy. Research helps fulfill our mission and contributes to UMB’s mission of inclusive excellence in teaching, research, and service. The research we conduct through the UMB Writing Center not only influences our local practices but also contributes to knowledge production in the fields of writing centers and writing studies. There are various ongoing research projects in the Writing Center. These projects take place through the scholarly activities of the administrative team and through the work of undergraduate and graduate consultants as they train to be consultants through a one-semester course on writing center pedagogy, practice, and research (taught by Dr. María Carvajal Regidor and Dan Messier) and via other professional development opportunities. This page includes information about some of the past and present research conducted by members of the administrative team and consultants, a list of publications by writing center staff, and information about the Writing Center's ongoing assessment. 

Dr. María Carvajal Regidor, Co-Director of the Writing Center and Assistant Professor in English, is doing research on faculty members’ experiences with the weekly accountability writing group for faculty of color hosted by the Writing Center. Dr. Carvajal Regidor is interested in what motivates UMB faculty of color to attend the weekly accountability writing group and the role that this writing group plays in faculty members’ scholarly agendas. She’s currently gathering survey and interview data. 

Dr. Carvajal Regidor collaborates with writing center co-researcher, Dr. Allison Kranek (The Ohio State University Writing Center Director), to study how to better support graduate writers in the writing center. Their latest article, "It’s Crowded in Here: ‘Present Others’ in Advanced Graduate Writers’ Sessions" introduces the concept of present others to understand graduate students’ feedback networks and how these influence writing center sessions. 

“Tutoring, Race, and Confidence in Writing” is a mixed-methods study that investigates students’ confidence (or lack thereof) in academic writing, the ways students’ racial identities influence their confidence, and how working with consultants in a writing center session could enhance student confidence levels. The project’s main co-researchers, Dan Messier and Dr. Hadi Banat, won the 2022 College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Research Fund ($4,000) which will sponsor the collection, processing, de-identification, and analysis of data. This project will recruit and train undergraduate and graduate consultants from the Writing Center to support the maintenance of the growing dataset. 


Allison Kranek and María Carvajal Regidor. (2021). “It’s Crowded in Here: ‘Present Others’ in Advanced Graduate Writers’ Sessions.” Praxis: A Writing Center Journal.

Carolyn Wisniewski, María Carvajal Regidor, Lisa Chason, Evin Groundwater, Allison Kranek, Dorothy Mayne, and Logan Middleton. (2021). “Questioning Assumptions about Online Tutoring: A Mixed-Method Study of Face-to-Face and Synchronous Online Writing Center Tutorials.” The Writing Center Journal. 


The administrative team regularly assesses the Writing Center’s practices to ensure that the Writing Center is serving UMB students and working to create a culture of writing on campus that is in line with our mission and vision. Assessment also helps us understand how the Writing Center impacts students at UMB and to improve our services. 

Writing Center

Main location: Campus Center, First Floor, Room 1300
Boston, MA 02125 USA