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Popularity, knowledge increase with new writing center location

Samuel Sutton

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Madison Dodd, respiratory therapy freshman, recieves help for Haleigh Wallace, mass communication sophomore, on her essay in Prothro Yeager 201B, "It's my first time coming. I didn't feel confident in my essay and i want a good grade," said Madison. "I really enjoy writing, and helping other students how to write. I want to continue working to help student. I'd love to have a editing," said Haleigh Oct, 21. Photo by Francisco Martinez

Madison Dodd, respiratory therapy freshman, receives help for Haleigh Wallace, mass communication sophomore, on her essay in Prothro-Yeager 201B, Dodd said, “It’s my first time coming. I didn’t feel confident in my essay and i want a good grade.” Wallace said, “I really enjoy writing and helping other students how to write. I want to continue working to help students. I’d love to have an editing job.”  Photo by Francisco Martinez

Helping students with writing, giving professors helpful tips for their lectures, and boosting students’ confidence-just some of the goals of the Writing Center. Despite staff members willing to help students improve their writing, the Writing Center wasn’t always easy to find. Because of this, it moved over the summer from Bea Wood Hall to Prothro-Yeager 201B.

“With our old room, we didn’t get a lot of people since nobody knew where we were. That’s why we decided to move to a classroom that was more out in the open,” Kristen Garrison, writing program administrator, said.

The move wasn’t cheap — $31,900 on relocating and renovating the room.

“We split a classroom in half with a sound-proof wall so that we wouldn’t disturb the class behind us, and so that our students and tutors wouldn’t be disturbed by them,” Garrison said.

She also said they replaced the carpet and added computers and internet drops. Even though it was expensive, she said it was more than worth it.

“It was absolutely worth it. We have seen a 62 percent increase in students since we have moved,” Garrison said.

She said they get around 300 different people and hold about 700 tutoring sessions on a yearly basis. They have tutors and internship spots available.

While the writing center offers great opportunities, there are also some problems. Even though they have just moved into a bigger room, Garrison fears that they will outgrow this room quickly.

“We’ve seen rapid increase already. We actually exceeded the predictions for this part of the year, which is good, but it might mean relocating again soon,” Garrison said.

Fields also commented on the size of the size of the Writing Center, “When you look at writing centers in other Universities, they are so much bigger than ours. Even some schools that are smaller than we are have bigger writing centers. Being a liberal arts school, I think a bigger Writing Center is necessary.”

Another problem is that some of the tutors don’t have enough knowledge on the subjects.

Logan Lafoon, a senior in radiology, said, “I went there once to get help with writing a story with APA format. I had never used APA format before and I wanted them to help me out. Unfortunately, the tutor didn’t know how to use it either.”

Lafoon said it all worked out because the tutor was able to figure out how to use the format with a book, and he was able to pass the assignment, but it was a little discouraging.

“I love working for the Writing Center. I like helping people, and I like the other employees here,” Muñoz said.

She has been working there since the beginning of the semester, and has learned things that her regular english classes never taught her. As an intern at the writing center, she gets to sit in and watch the tutors work. She also gets to tutor students during some of her weeks.

“Every intern gets to do it. It definitely helps to watch them. You get to learn how to tutor, and you even get to learn a few things about reading and writing that you might not have known before,” Muñoz said.

The writing center is here to help students with grammar, sentence structure, getting their point across, and broadening their knowledge about reading and writing.

Garrison said, “It’s such an amazing resource for students to know other students with a lot of knowledge about reading and writing. The primary mission of the writing center is to help students become better writers, not just get a better grade on an essay.We want them to feel more confident in their reading and writing skills.”

While they want to help, they do not want students to think they can leave their papers with the tutors and have them write it for the students.

“A good writing center should have trained tutors who help the students, and not do the work for the students,” Garrison said.

Some teachers like to recommend the writing center to some students during the semester.

“I sometimes recommend the writing center because it helps them in getting their point across in the essays that I assign them,” Peter Fields, associate professor, said.

Fields said that if he were to recommend it to the entire class, then it would destroy the overall purpose of the writing center. He said he also would like the students to come to them after they go to the writing center.

Madison Dodd, respiratory therapy freshman, recieves help for Haleigh Wallace, mass communication sophomore, on her essay in Prothro Yeager 201B, "It's my first time coming. I didn't feel confident in my essay and i want a good grade," said Madison. "I really enjoy writing, and helping other students how to write. I want to continue working to help student. I'd love to have a editing," said Haleigh Oct, 21. Photo by Francisco Martinez

Haleigh Wallace, mass communication sophomore, Madison Dodd, respiratory therapy freshman, and Clinton Wagoner, English grad student, in the Writing Center in Prothro-Yeager, Oct. 21. Photo by Francisco Martinez

Madison Dodd, respiratory therapy freshman, receives help for Haleigh Wallace, mass communication sophomore, on her essay in Prothro-Yeager 201B, Dodd said, “It’s my first time coming. I didn’t feel confident in my essay and i want a good grade.” Wallace said, “I really enjoy writing and helping other students how to write. I want to continue working to help students. I’d love to have an editing job.”  Photo by Francisco Martinez

“It helps us professors as well because it shows us some things that we didn’t know about, that we can show to the class. Mainly things like how to quote characters from the readings so that they can do the best job of getting their point across,” Fields said.

He also said that when they do that, it makes the professors feel like they are a part of the editing process. He wants to be a part of helping the students broaden their minds on this topic.

Faith Muñoz, a sophomore in English, and an intern at the writing center said that she recommends the writing center to all of her friends when they struggle with writing.

“I definitely think you should go at least once. A lot of people I know who have only gone here once have seen improvement in their writings. It makes a big difference from what I’ve seen,” Muñoz said.

The Writing Center has been open since the 1980s, and was formerly a reading and writing lab. This lab had professors that would help the students with grammar and punctuation, while also giving them a quiet room to read and write. When the school hired Garrison in 2010, she decided to change it to a writing center so that they could further help the students with their reading and writing skills.

“The reading and writing lab was good because it gave the students resources, but it didn’t give them one-on-one tutoring, which is what a writing center does,” said Garrison.

Garrison also said with this change, they were able to help students more, while also increasing the amount of students that used the writing center.

 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misquoted Haleigh Wallace. The story now accurately reflects what she said. Also the amount of tutoring sessions was stated wrong and has been changed. The Wichitan regrets the error.

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About the Photographer
Francisco Martinez, Photo Editor

Francisco Martinez is a photographer for The Wichitan. Francisco is in his fourth year majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. He was born in Long Island, New York and graduated from Hillcrest High School in Dallas, Texas. Throughout all of high school he played Soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, Football, Track, Cross Country, Wrestling, Swimming, and was in Marching Band since 6th grade. His interest in photography began after he’s friend let him borrow a camera during a basketball game to take pictures.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Popularity, knowledge increase with new writing center location”

  1. Nikki Johnson on October 23rd, 2015 2:47 am

    I always loved to visit the writing center at my college. I even keep in touch with a teacher I met there. I email her whenever I am having trouble with a project. I feel it is important to know how to write effectively. Always write and continue to practice!

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Popularity, knowledge increase with new writing center location