The Writing Center; your write hand woman

By
March 12, 2007

Jackie Kennedy

After trying to lure students with candy kisses and leave lasting impressions through bathroom literature, flyers on campus have recently been posted by the Writing Center in the hopes of attracting more students.

Liz Green, a tutor, says students have not been taking advantage of the Writing Center, located in Rothwell rooms C and D, for what she believes is a lack of visibility. Because of this, the Writing Center has had to come up with “cute and crazy” ways to draw students in.

“Worried you won’t get a kiss this Valentine’s Day? Bring your paper to the Writing Center. and we’ll give you some candy for that midday sugar jones.”

The people giving out the kisses-graduate students from the English department-are hired through a teaching assistantship after TAing a required English Composition class.

“We do have to apply though, and it does pay for part of our tuition, but really it’s just good training for us,” said Green, who, like the other tutors, is paid $40 an hour.

Green said students can schedule half-hour appointments with the tutors, or can drop in. English as a second language students and those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia can receive hour-long sessions.

To better address students’ reoccurring problems in writing and help spread the word about the Writing Center, the tutors are split up into three committees-data, curriculum and outreach-under their advisor Kirsten Saxton.

The data committee records students’ usage of the Writing Center to determine which grade levels are seeking the most help with which subjects. This is tracked when students fill out a required Writing Center Stat Sheet before meeting with any tutor.

The Stat Sheet also asks students what their objective for the session is. The tutors then evaluate the session outcome to determine if the objective was met, not met, or revised.

According to sophomore Samantha Anger, the Writing Center has usually helped her meet her objective, even when she was unsure what that was.

“Really, you can just go in and be like, I don’t know what I’m doing, what do you think?” said Anger. “They don’t tell you what to do, but they pull things out of you until you at least get a jumping-off point.”

The curriculum committee, which targets English 5 and ESL students, forms a manual of sample lesson plans and syllabi for the following years’ English 5 TAs. They also construct an ESL curriculum that addresses the top 10 common areas in which foreign exchange students struggle. Their goal is to create an online site where ESL students can find answers to their writing and grammar questions.

The outreach committee works to get the word around by making visits into English classes and posting the flyers we see around campus.

“I’ve seen the flyers . but I don’t use [the Writing Center] because I don’t really struggle with essay writing,” said freshwoman Lacy Paap. “But it’s there and free, with people offering help, so students who do struggle should definitely use them.”

Tutor Julia Rubin said the Writing Center is open to both graduate and undergraduate students, foreign exchange or not.
“We’re here for everyone,” said Rubin. “And any piece of text that they bring in, we can help them with it.”

Although the Writing Center mostly helps students with papers from English and humanities classes, students should know they can get help with all subjects.

“We don’t need to know the facts to make it form well,” said Green, a Fine Arts major. “So yeah, scientists please come.”

Senior Andrea Danille de la Selva, who has never received help from the tutors, said the main reason the Writing Center is not getting the attention it should is because it is in a confined space. “It’s uninviting. When you have to get help in a confined space, students are less likely to want to go there.”

Writing Center staff has acknowledged this problem but say students do still receive quality help.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about tutoring and the Writing Center,” said tutor Sara Campos. “But what good is a service if people don’t use it?”

“Knead too raze your grade? Wheel reed you’re paper and help ewe rite a knew draft.
The Writing Center, because spell-check doesn’t know what you mean to say.”


The Writing Center; your write hand woman was published on March 12, 2007 in Features

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