Writing Center Changes

Writing center consultants will now attend a new class as part of training. 

By Kamalaldin M. Kamalaldin

This year, the Writing Center consultant position has been relinquished from the Student Leadership Applications after being decided through this process for many years.

A more specialized and streamlined application process is to be introduced, following the suggestions of Amy Newday, the Writing Center Director.

The application process is only one of many improvements being tested this year. A six-week partial credit class, entitled Writing Center Pedagogy and Practice, will be offered spring quarter for the accepted students.

“If it goes well, perhaps this will be something we do every year,” said Newday.

This initiative comes in response to the lack of sufficient training before fall quarter, which is the Writing Center’s busiest with ongoing First-Year Seminars and Senior Individualized Projects.

In the past, only two days of orientation were provided for the hired consultants prior to the beginning of the quarter.

“Consultants [were] really learning on the job, and [didn’t] have a lot of preparation before [being] bombarded with papers,” Newday said.

Newday also expressed her desire to give consultants the sense of themselves as teachers. “Consultatns are helping students learn something.”

“One of the misconceptions,” continued Newday, “is that we are an editing service. That’s not what we do. The basic philosophy behind the Writing Center is that we are helping people become better writers.”

Helping students learn how to express themselves, to write more clearly and thoroughly, and to develop their thoughts is a Writing Center Consultant’s most important task, according to Newday.

Students tend to visit the Writing Center less as they progress through class levels. “Writing is an ongoing process of learning… so we are hoping [to attract] more upperclassmen to come…and break that idea that [the Writing Center] is only for First Years,” said Newday.

Changes mean challenges for the Writing Center. The biggest challenge is the loss of the popularity and familiarity of the consultant application. Another is the need for a wide range of students from different disciplines.

The Writing Center offers writing consultations within all academic disciplines. “A myth we want to dispell is that only English majors are experts at writing,” said Newday. “It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a lab report, journal articles, or historical analysis, everybody has to write.”

“The more diversity of writers we have in the Writing Center, the [richer] our perspective on language will be,” said Newday.

“I think it will be ultimately a better process for the consultants than in the past,” said current consultant Brian Craig ‘14. “Amy [Newday] has been really trying to work on making training better and a more efficient use of our time.”

The Writing Center will be accepting applications through April 1, 2014. Accepting the job offer, future consultants will be committing to enrolling in the class Writing Center Pedagogy and Practice.

Writing Center Pedagogy and Practice will teach consultants how to become better teachers, how to question the language of academia, and the correct style of linguistic discourse to be chosen for each discipline, among other things. Previous and current consultants will play a mentoring role throughout the spring.


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