5If you have any questions about the Comm+D or our services, please look through the FAQs below.  If you don’t find an answer, please stop by to see us, schedule an appointment, or email the Faculty Lead, Barbara Lewis, at lewisb2@rpi.edu.


Where is the Comm+D?

What happens in a conference?

Does the Center provide assistance to multilingual students?

How long does a conference last?

Is there a page limit?

Can the Center help me with a speech or oral presentation?

Will my professor be notified that I came to the Center?

How can I become a peer tutor in the Comm+D?


Where is the Comm+D?

The Comm+D is located on the first floor of the Folsom Library (the library entrance is on the second floor). Our space is to the left of the computer bar at the bottom of the stairs, next to the ALAC tutoring area.  Look for the “Keep Calm and Write On” poster! From the elevator: turn right; the Center will be on your right. For assistance specialized for international students, visit Brea Barthel in her office located to the left of the Center, Folsom Library bottom floor, room 155.

What happens in a conference?

In a standard conference, you and the mentor or teaching assistant will discuss the assignment, including any expectations, the intended audience, formatting etc. Then you and the mentor will read through the piece, out loud or silently, depending on your preference. You will work together on issues you feel are most important: readability, clarity, structure, organization, support of ideas, etc. This is the basic process, but remember, each conference is different, just as each writer and assignment is different.

Does the Center provide assistance to multilingual students?

Yes. Our mentors and teaching assistants are trained to work with multilingual students and to help explain typical difficulties with English writing or speaking. They are not language teachers, but are happy to help with oral presentations, grammar, vocabulary, native English idioms, etc. Brea Barthel also holds a weekly Tea and Talk event on Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m., an informal, relaxed open gathering that offers time to practice conversational English and ask about other services we offer for international students.

How long does a conference last?

Conferences are scheduled for 30- or 60-minute appointments.  However, the conference lasts about 25- to 50-minutes, respectively.  This allows the mentors to complete necessary reflective paperwork and prepare for the next conference.  If you plan to split one project over more than one visit, you may want to request the same mentor through our scheduler, so they are familiar with the work.

Is there a page limit?

No, there is no page limit. We help students working on projects ranging from 1-2 page lab reports to lengthy graduate-level dissertations. Conferences are limited in time though, so if the whole assignment cannot be covered in one session, we advise you to schedule a second or third appointment on another day, leaving time in between conferences to do some revising on your own.

Can the Center help me with a speech or oral presentation?

Yes, our mentors and teaching assistants have training in PowerPoint presentations and can offer feedback on delivery as well as content and organization. We have a designated presentation room available in which you can rehearse your presentation, alone or with a consultant. You also can choose to work exclusively on the visual portion of the presentation.  The presentation room can be reserved on the scheduler.  Otherwise, the room is for first come, first served.

Will my professor be notified that I came to the Center?

If a visit to the Comm+D is required for your class or your professor has offered extra credit for attending a conference in the Center, we will be happy to notify your professor. Otherwise, your visit to the Center will be kept confidential. The records we keep are for statistical purposes only.

How can I become a peer tutor in the Comm+D?

Contact Faculty Lead Dr. Barbara Lewis (lewisb2@rpi.edu) for information on how to become a mentor in the Center.

Visit Us

The Comm+D is located on the lower level of the Folsom Library, next door to the ALAC tutoring space.

Folsom Library--Lower Level
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180

Hours of Operation

Fall Semester Hours
Mon.-Thurs.: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sunday: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Please view our scheduling system for the most accurate hours—we are usually around more often than this and also host special events!

Schedule an Appointment

1. Click on the "LIMIT TO" drop-down menu at the top of the schedule. Choose the kind of appointment you need. GRADUATE STUDENTS, be sure to choose a “GRADUATE” appointment

2. Click on the open appointment you want (a WHITE space), which will bring you to a short form.

3. CAN’T FIND AN APPOINTMENT? Next to each weekday name, there is a small white CLOCK SYMBOL. Click on the clock to enter your name on the WAITING LIST for that day.

4. Set the TIME for the appointment: choose 30 minutes or make two back-to-back appointments for 1 hour. Make 1-hour appointments for Online or E-Tutoring.

5. Tell us about what you’re working on by filling out the form that opens in the scheduler and submit it. You’ll get a reminder email to confirm your appointment.