Mar 3, 2009

Undergraduate Writing Center flourishing in second year of operation

by Daniel Martinez

 Up until last December, Liberty students walking into the back lab of the ILRC would not find much more than desks, computers, cubicles and a few spare classrooms. Now, however, students who plow through the doors just past Jazzman’s Café will find a most necessary tool for individuals sweating through writing assignments in any class and worrying about their ability to write fluidly and cite sources accurately.
Room 2229 B, a small room with a number of quiet offices, became the home to the Undergraduate Writing Center on Dec. 1, 2008, and is currently headed by Dr. Emily Heady.

Miriam Spalding, the administrative assistant for the Writing Center, describes this new resource as “a place where students can come to have their papers read, and the tutors help them look at revisions and see what they can change.”

Writing is a common practice at Liberty, whether one is enrolled in the standard English 101 class or a higher-level, major-specific class that requires them to churn out a paper more often. Those looking to earn higher grades can stop by any day during the week, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (and until 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays).

Struggling students may benefit from a session or two (or more), with each session usually lasting about 30 minutes. Students coming in are asked to bring a printed copy of their paper, as well as printed instructions from a teacher.

“We won’t write on their papers, or write their papers for them,” Spalding said. “They’ll do their own work.”

But they will be assisted in that work by the tutors, who have experience with a number of writing issues and are sometimes in practice for their own majors.

Freshman Jessica Dill has been working at the center since December, and has found it to be a great match for her Elementary Education studies.

“I like to write, and it fits in really well with teaching, which is what I want to do. It’s good experience,” Dill said. “Also, it’s good for your resume.”

Dill has had experience helping students create good thesis statements, deepen their understanding of APA and MLA citation formats, tweak sentence structures and fix recurring grammar issues.

“We work on a wide variety of papers,” sophomore tutor Kira Mohler said. “Narratives, research papers, compare/contrast papers – really anything, of all subjects.”

Among the tutors are students studying worship, history and English, so there is always the chance a student with a paper specific to a certain class will find someone who can give them expert advice.

“I know how beneficial tutors can be,” Mohler said. “When I took math at Liberty, I had to use the tutors a lot, and it was worth it.”

Apart from helping students for whom citation formats and grammatical rules can sometimes seem like a foreign language, the center is also developing conversation groups for English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

Anyone interested in working at the center can pick up an application from Human Resources, and should be prepared to send in a sample of their writing.

Students who would like help from the Undergraduate Writing Center can e-mail undergradwriting@liberty.edu or call (434) 592-3174 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome.

Contact Daniel Martinez at
dpmartinez@liberty.edu.

 


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