Known around campus simply as the Writing Center, the Center for Writing and Learning Support began in 2017 after the Seminary’s faculty and Board of Directors agreed to provide students with greater support in theological writing and learning during a rapid time of change in the church, society, and theological education itself. Since that time, the Writing Center has worked collaboratively with faculty members to create resources and programs to deepen student attention on and engagement with theological writing and reading in ways that will benefit them not only in their academic achievement, but also in their vocations beyond the Seminary in churches and in the larger society. The Writing Center also works closely with the Office of Continuing Education, the Barbour Library, and the Seminary’s other centers, institutes, and initiatives to develop and lead enriching extracurricular programs and workshops open to PTS students, faculty, and staff as well as ministers and leaders from the wider community.
The mission of the Center for Writing and Learning Support is, first and foremost, to provide direct writing and learning support for all enrolled students in a constructive, creative, and collaborative atmosphere. We also support faculty and staff in their writing projects, and we contribute to the seminary’s own publications. We are committed to assisting theological writers at every stage—not only as they seek excellence in their academic writing, but also as they endeavor to write for audiences outside the Seminary’s gates.
Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. – Habakkuk 2:2 (KJV)
In the late seventh or early sixth century BCE, the prophet Habakkuk received an oracle from God that told him to write down the prophecy—but to make it plain so that others could understand it. Even an Old Testament prophet had difficulty figuring out how to write down just what it was he heard directly from God! This and other examples from the Bible and Christian history show us that the challenge of writing theology well is nothing new for us. So all of us—whether we are students just beginning to study, practitioners with years of ministerial experience, or scholars who have written numerous books—must learn anew how to write what we are called to write. This kind of writing is a demanding, often murky undertaking, but an attentive writing practice offers the great reward of discovering what we know and feel about God, the world, our neighbors, and ourselves. This kind of writing also allows us to communicate better with others and to connect them to the wisdom and vision of our tradition. Theological writing is well worth the challenge!
The Writing Center offers a number of services for students, faculty, ministers, and community leaders.
For students, these include individual and small group consultations both online and in-person, writing workshops about general writing issues or those particular to a specific class assignment, handouts on aspects of the writing process, links to helpful websites and bibliographic resources, Writers’ Gatherings, and much more.
For faculty and visiting scholars, these include consultations on professional writing projects and workshops focusing on student writing support.
Students and faculty members and visiting scholars should review our Available Services page for details about all we provide and the ways you can request a workshop or schedule an individual consultation to support you in your writing practice or your pedagogical goals for your classrooms.
For others in the community, our services include writing workshops and conferences on theological and spiritual writing in a variety of genres and for different contexts and audiences.
For more information, contact Dr. Shan Overton, director of the Center for Writing and Learning Support, by e-mail at or by phone at 412-924-1454. For those on campus, feel free to drop by the main Writing Center Office at Long Hall 219 or visit the Rossin Writing Lab on the first floor of the Barbour Library.