Writing center aims to improve students’ writing

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Academic program specialist Carlos Lopez talks to professor Yvette Lucchelli’s learning framework class about the writing center’s resources. The writing center provides students with workshops, resource texts and an open computer lab. Students are allowed to work on class assignments and print at 5 cents per page. Amaru Ruiz

English Professor said practice and peer review are essential to writing.

By Mitchell Gawlik


The writing center in room 203 of Gonzales Hall provides an open computer lab, tutoring and workshops to help students improve their writing.

In a Feb. 6 interview, English Professor Jane Focht-Hansen, writing center director, said all kinds of students come to the center for help.

There are many strong writers that come to the center to simply get their work peer reviewed and properly formatted, she said.

“The data shows, and we replicate it all the time, that when you talk to someone about your writing, you get better with it,” she said.

Everyone continues to learn and improve well after college, Focht-Hansen said.

“English will be with you wherever you go, whether it may be writing a resume for a job or writing a report for your boss,” she said. “The center can better prepare students for after college by improving their writing.”

Students in any class can seek 30 minute, individual tutoring sessions.

The center will help students by providing peer review for résumés, research papers, PowerPoint presentations and personal writing, Focht-Hansen said.

Tutors help students no matter where they are in the writing process. Online sessions consist of a video call between the tutor and student.

Tutors are required to have one appointment per day and one appointment per week per assignment. If a student needs an additional session pertaining to one assignment, another session can be scheduled on behalf of the tutor.

Students are required to make an appointment 24 hours in advance online, by phone or in person. Students must provide a copy of the assignment and grading rubric before the session.

Walk-ins or “quick shots” are also welcomed and don’t require any prior scheduling. A tutor will help these students when their schedule allows it.

Work-study sophomore Andres Elizardo and academic program specialsts Carlos Lopez and Crystal Escobales discuss scheduling in the writing center Room 203 in Gonzales. The writing center allows students to schedule appointments with tutors 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Thursday and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Tutoring is also offered 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m.-5 p.m Saturday at their alternate location on the 2nd floor of Moody outside of the reference desk. Amaru Ruiz

During finals week, the center only accepts walk-ins.

In a Feb. 7 interview, Juliet Trevino, part-time employee at the center, said students are the ones who edit their papers during sessions, not tutors.

“Our approach to tutoring is not to edit. Its writer centered, not writing centered,” she said.

Trevino said tutors use the student’s paper to help them improve in their writing. This means tutors will not circle every punctuation error or edit the paper for them.

The tutors are there to keep the student on track, Trevino said.

A session can go anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes depending on where the student is in the writing process.

During the session, tutors will help the student with formatting, writing recommendations and feel more comfortable about their writing.

Trevino said every student is different and requires help in different areas.

 “There isn’t a particular area that I think students struggle in the most,” she said.

Music sophomore Joseph Garcia, a work-study, said the center can also provide help to strong writers from all backgrounds.

“There are plenty of strong writers that don’t have English as their first language,” he said. “While these students may be confident writing in their native language, they require help with writing and formatting in English.”

No one is a perfect writer or immune to making mistakes, he said.

During the Fall 2018 semester, the center had 476 visitors. Of those, 273 were face to face, two were online and 201 were “quick shots” or unscheduled visits.

The center’s hours are 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday and Thursday and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Online tutoring is offered Friday and Saturday with an appointment.  

For more information, students can stop by Room 203 of Gonzales Hall or call 210-486-1433.

Students can sign up online for tutoring by visiting http://sacguide.libguides.com/sacwctr. 


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