Eastern Michigan University’s Writing Center, in its current form, has been building a reputation of providing the EMU community with an opportunity to improve its writing works since 2010.
Ann Blakeslee, director of the University’s Writing Center, said she wishes to continue to shape what she has been working on since she first began working at EMU.
“It’s incredible,” she said. “We were able to reach a broad number of EMU students this past year. We really encourage all students around campus to take advantage of the opportunity made available to them in these past couple of years.”
She said in 2014 the Writing Center accounted for helping over 8,000 undergraduate students, graduate students, professors, faculty members and everyone in between within the EMU community.
“We do a lot of things here,” Blakeslee said. “We primarily provide writing support to students in all disciplines as well as assistance in scholarly writing with professors and faculty members.”
There are 50 staff members who are undergraduate peer tutors, graduate assistants and part-time lecturers.
The main location for writing assistance through the UWC is located on the first floor of the Bruce T. Halle Library in room 115. There are also seven satellite locations on campus for multiple disciplines including: College of Arts & Sciences, College of Business, College of Health & Human Services, College of Technology, Science Success Center, Biology and Psychology.
“Every stage of writing comes here,” said Valerie Eby, a graduate assistant and UWC writing assistant. “The idea here is that we would like to have as many students [as possible] to have the access of improving their writing with whatever they are writing.”
She said she became a staff member by taking the Writing 370 Peer Tutoring course, which requires 20 hours of peer tutoring at the UWC in order to pass the class.
“In class you talk about how to tutor them and meet them where they are in their writing research to learn the process,” Eby said. “Mid-point during the class, you come into the writing center to watch first and then conduct sessions on your own.”
The UWC staff are not all-around specialists and do not do work for the students. Rather, they give them suggestions and ask a lot of questions.
“All of our staff is trained for all types of writing. We have books we can use for general help if we don’t have the answers,” Eby said. “We also collaborate with other satellites and meet every other Friday to share what we know at all our different locations. It’s a good working environment. I feel our collaboration works very well here.”
Jennifer Gilham, a senior undergraduate majoring in special education, agrees and thinks the Writing Center is a good thing for Eastern.
“It was definitely helpful,” Gilham said. “I’ve gone two times and have gotten so much help. Everyone was really nice and helpful. I didn’t feel judged and did really well on my paper. They knew what they were talking about.”
She said she would definitely go back the next time she needs help with her writing.
“I definitely appreciated it,” Gilham said. “School is expensive already. It was nice to not have pay for help and that people wanted to really help you out.”