Archive for the ‘Writing Center’ Category

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What I Learned in (High) School

posted: 5.21.15 by Andrea Lunsford

In March, I attended the 55th reunion of my class at Ketterlinus High School in St. Augustine, Florida. There were perhaps 25 of us there, out of a class of around 100, which seemed pretty darned good to me. Being with people I hadn’t seen—some for 55 years—was, well, bracing. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Teaching Advice, Uncategorized, Writing Center
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How’s Your Writing Center Doing?

posted: 12.18.14 by Andrea Lunsford

A week or so ago, I  traveled to Miami University in Ohio to meet with the National Advisory Board for the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, a group that includes Kathleen Yancey, Marti Townsend, Chris Anson, and Steve Bernhardt along with Kate Ronald, Director of the Howe Center. I’ve been on this Board since the inception of the Center, so I’m always glad to visit and learn about what this exemplary Center is doing. As always, I came away impressed. Student tutorials have increased exponentially, as have the number of workshops offered for students at all levels. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Writing Center
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Hey, Let’s Start a Writing Center!

posted: 11.18.11 by Andrea Lunsford

I’ve said many times that starting the writing center at Stanford was the most fun I’ve had in my long career.  Please join me for a virtual visit to the Hume Writing Center:

Writing centers have been on my mind lately (as my last post confirms), and not just in colleges and universities. Recently I had a chance to meet with teachers from the Humble Independent School District in Houston at Summer Creek High School. I swooned when I went into the library and then again when I saw that the students had a little “coffee shop” space of their own. Though we were meeting at the end of the school day, I did meet a few students, who spoke in glowing terms of their school and of the learning they were doing there:  one of the teachers told me that they often had a hard time getting the students to leave school, so it seemed to me that it was a real safe house for many. [read more]

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Categories: Writing Center, Writing Process
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The Importance of the Writing Center

posted: 3.17.11 by Andrea Lunsford

In my last post, I discussed the positive implications of Academically Adrift’s provocative findings: intensive writing classes have an important impact on students’ abilities to think and write critically. No one in our field will be surprised to hear this news, but neither would anyone in the field think that intensive writing classes alone are responsible for helping students to develop these skills. That would ignore at least one other vital part of writing education: the writing center.

Writing centers work to support teaching and learning in so many, many ways. I have often said  that the most professional fun (joy, really!) that I have had in 35 years of teaching college students has been founding and developing Stanford’s Hume Writing Center. I loved conceptualizing it as a space that would celebrate student writing and that would welcome students at every stage of writing and at every level, and seeing the Center grow over the last decade has been pure pleasure. Stanford’s Admit Weekend—when prospective students come to look around and decide whether they will matriculate next fall—is coming up, and the Open Mic at the Writing Center has now become a tradition. I know I will see our own undergraduates reading and performing—and that I’ll see a lot of high school seniors, prospective college students, leap up to perform their poetry, sing their songs, read their stories. And I know when I go to the Center later this afternoon to tutor that I will see undergraduates eager to improve their writing and glad to have a place where someone is not just willing but delighted to talk through issues of writing and to attend, with great care, to their concerns. And I’ll be glad to have all the resources of the Center close at hand: we keep several copies of books about writing along with handbooks, dictionaries, and examples of student writing from across campus, including all the journals that Stanford students produce. [read more]

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Categories: Writing Center
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What If Students and Teachers Tweeted for Help?

posted: 7.22.09 by Traci Gardner

I’m jealous of @comcastbonnie. Okay, that’s a little extreme. I wish I had the resources she has and could use them to help writing students and teachers.

Bonnie Smalley, also known as @comcastbonnie, was the focus of “A Day with 400 Tweets Starts with Simplicity,” a recent New York Times article that describes how she provides customer service for the cable TV and Internet service provider Comcast.

As the article explains, Smalley is “one of 10 representatives who reach out to customers through social networks, rather than waiting for them to find Comcast’s support site.”

Imagine if we could do the same thing to help student writers! I’d love to prowl the Internet, on the lookout for students lamenting that they can’t figure out an assignment or they can never remember how to use the semicolons.

If I ran a writing center, I’d set up and publicize a school hashtag and then ask online tutors to watch for basic questions. In quick exchange on Twitter, a tutor could answer simple questions about grammar and punctuation, define literary terms, and point to additional explanatory Web pages on a site like the Purdue OWL or Colorado State’s Writing Studio. When student writers ask more complex questions, tutors can encourage them to set up an appointment for a more in-depth session.

If we could support students the way @comcastbonnie runs customer service, writing program administrators might monitor the Internet for questions about program requirements, prerequisites, and course registrations. An English Department could answer similar questions for majors and minors as well as for incoming students and those interested in applying.

But why limit the help to students? Just think how we’d benefit as teachers from having someone out there on the Internet dedicated to helping us find what we need just when we need it — whether it’s standards and guidelines, convention details, or a second opinion on a troublesome situation. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could “reach out” and give them the help they need when they need it? Now there’s a job I’d love to have!

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Categories: Collaboration, Student Success, Teaching Advice, Writing Center
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