By Grace Apostol
The Washington College Writing Center is now open to students.
On Thursday, Sept. 1, the Writing Center sent an email reminding the student body of academic resources available on campus for the fall semester.
According to the email, the Writing Center, the Quantitative Skills Center, and the Office of Academic Skills officially opened for the fall semester on Monday, Sept. 6.
Director of the Writing Center Dr. Rachel Rodriguez is eager to work with the staff for the 2022-2023 school year.
“This year, I’m really excited about our staff,” she said. “They’re a really diverse and intelligent group with a variety of strengths. We have tutors from all majors, from biology to business. We also have student athletes on staff, which I think will help strengthen our connection to all student athletes.”
Several newly trained Writing Center tutors will join the tutoring team this fall.
When it comes to the hiring of students to be tutors, Dr. Rodriguez looks for specific characteristics within students. “The most important characteristics I look for in a good writing tutor are listening to skills, flexibility, and genuine curiosity about others’ ideas,” she said.
Among these newly hired tutors is sophomore Maddie Fernandez. As a communications and media studies major, Fernandez has “always loved to write and…wanted to share that passion with other students.”
Fernandez is excited to see different styles of writing during her tutoring sessions.
According to Fernandez, it can be easy to get wrapped up in your own area of study, and she enjoys learning about what other groups are covering and their different styles of writing.
“Seeing how students from disciplines outside of your own write is really interesting and can be helpful in regard to your own writing,” Fernandez said.
When it came to much of the training for Fernandez and other students who had applied to be Writing Center tutors this past year, Dr. Rodriguez taught a class specifically designed for the education of tutoring.
“The bulk of the training for incoming peer writing consultants is through our EDU-406 course, a four-credit course that runs every spring,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “Students are invited to take this course on their way to becoming peer writing consultants, and we spend the semester reading about writing center theory and discussing the practice of peer tutoring.”
Within this course, students learn to tutor across all writing disciplines.
“We are all trained to tutor in any discipline, but I always love tutoring students within my major or helping students out with presentations,” Fernandez said regarding her tutoring specialty. “Many students don’t know that we also help with presentations.”
Traveling Tutor is a new program designed for writing tutors to travel to classrooms to give presentations and peer reviews. The Writing Center will implement it this fall.
Tutors can give any 10 presentations ons specific writing topics to a class or peer review class work per a faculty request.
“All of the presentations were designed and polished by the EDU-406 students last spring, so I’m excited to see their hard work come to fruition as the presentations roll out in classrooms this fall,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “So, if you see a writing tutor presenting in your classroom this fall, give them a smile.”
Specifically, within the atmosphere of the Writing Center, Fernandez hopes to curate a safe space for students.
“I really want to make it a safe space that any student feels they can come to no matter how far along they are in their writing or how ‘polished’ their piece is,” Fernandez said. “I know it can feel really intimidating taking your writing somewhere to have it looked at by a tutor, but we want to help you. It’s a judgment-free zone.”
Dr. Rodriguez shares the sentiment of a safe space for students to come and be in a judgment-free area. “The Writing Center provides a safe and welcoming place to talk about your writing, whether you love writing or you hate it,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “We’ll never judge you, and we’re genuinely interested in your ideas and beliefs. It’s a great place to become a stronger writer without feeling the pressure of grades or tests.”
The Writing Center is located in Goldstein Hall, room 106 and is open on weekdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 pm.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Rachel Rodriguez
Photo Caption: Seniors Sammy Segeda and Lauren Maynor prepare to tutor.