Thursday, March 1, 2007

Profile: Newman University Writing Center

Kendra Perry, director

Overview
The Newman University Writing Center was started in 2004. It operates from the same facility as the math center and other peer tutoring services. This semester, we have a total of six undergraduate writing coaches; three of them are cross-trained in math and work on both "sides" of the center.

Due to recent international recruiting efforts, our campus is becoming increasingly internationalized. The writing center was originally opened with the idea of assisting second language writers cope with academic writing in English; however, we work with any writer who comes in the door. Though we do see a number of international undergraduates, we also work with writers ranging from traditional undergraduates to off-campus graduate students in our satellite programs.

We are currently open 41 hours per week for face-to-face consultations. During this time, students can schedule appointments or walk in and take their chances that someone will be available to help them. Through our eCoach service, we're also able to provide email feedback to students who can't make it to campus.

Accomplishments
Together with the Math Center and peer tutoring services, we have developed a training program for all our tutors which was certified by the College Reading and Learning Association this fall. Tutors can complete three levels of certification and receive pay raises at each stage. This has been a tremendous help in providing accountability for ongoing professional development among our staff.

Challenges
Being located on a small campus means that we face perpetual problems with finding qualified staff. With several of our seasoned veterans graduating this spring, I'm sure I'll spend a lot of time and effort recruiting new writing coaches. We don't have a large English department, so most of our coaches are from other majors and it's not always easy to find them! I'd love to hear suggestions for how you locate and recruit good peer tutor candidates, especially at smaller institutions.

Want to share a profile of your center? Email perryk@newmanu.edu.

3 comments:

Moira Ozias, KU Writing Center said...

Kendra, thanks for starting this blog and reinitiating the Kansas Consortium. If we want to contribute to the blog, should we email you? Is there a others of us can post?

Looking forward to these conversations!

Moira

Moira Ozias, KU Writing Center said...

What I meant to writer was, "Is there a way others of us can post?" (I shouldn't hit send before proofreading!)

Moira

Kendra said...

Hi, Moira,

Yes, I'm definitely hoping that others will post. There are two ways to do it:

1) Email your post to me and I will put it up (probably best for one-time posters), or

2) I can create an author's account for you (this is best for people who think they might post more frequently).