One Stop Shopping – A Pathway to Student Success, Access, and Equity

Haglund.KimberlyEditor’s note: As part of an ongoing discussion about writing centers and learning centers, I’m excited to hear from Kim Haglund, who has worked at College of the Canyons for 15 years. Kim currently serves as a coordinator in The Learning Center, particularly serving the Writing Center needs.  

In the 1970’s, the Tutoring, Learning, and Computing Center (now The Learning Center, or TLC) at College of the Canyons opened its doors as an all-inclusive Learning Center. We have never had separate locations by subject area and have always shared space together. I coordinate the Writing Center portion which includes Writing in the Disciplines, Supplemental Learning, an Online Writing Lab and tutoring, and tutoring for Humanities, Social Sciences, and Modern Languages, while my counterpart coordinates Math, Science, and Engineering needs for our student populations. We have found that the open floor plan, extended operating hours, and inclusion of all subject areas has led to a “one stop” shopping model whereby students can sign in and out of areas in order to receive tutoring for any class they may be in, all in one location, which data reveals lead to recognition, metacognition, and replication of skills imparted to our students to meet our Mission Statement and SLOs. We have also found that students spend extended periods of time in The Learning Center, often switching from projects or classes, or group collaborations without having to travel across campus, and this accessibility is also part of equity for all students, illustrating the fluidity of one location and synthesis among courses.  Students find it convenient, which leads to higher attendance, success, and retention as our data also reflects. Furthermore, Institutional Development Surveys have demonstrated both faculty and students find the location and the walk-in only paradigm the highest ranked of all our services.

Benefits

There are several benefits for students, faculty, and staff to having the Writing Center housed within The Learning Center. Financially, we have one overall budget which we internally delegate based on attendance and need; however, campus-wide, we are not in competition for limited funds with boutique programs or other tutoring activities, and the lack of redundancy in offerings brings students to The Learning Center, with the exception of the grant-funded MESA Lab and specialized DSPS program (though we share tutors, training, and students with both). The coordinators and staff all have the same goal: To increase student success and retention and assist them with educational goals while promoting independent learning.

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An Update on The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors

This blog post is written by Leigh Ryan, Director of the Writing Center at the University of Maryland, and Lisa Zimmerelli, Director of the Writing Center at Loyola University Maryland. Leigh wrote the original The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors as a manual for the University of Maryland Writing Center; she was then approached by Bedford/St. Martin’s to make the manual available to all writing centers. When tasked with including an online tutoring chapter in the third edition in 2006, she asked her previous graduate assistant director, Lisa Zimmerelli, to join her, as Lisa was directing an online writing center at the time. Three additional editions later, Leigh and Lisa reflect on the changes and trends in tutor education.

41UrUb88TmL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_The sixth edition of The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors is now available, and we are excited both to discuss significant changes to this edition, as well as share reflections on our collaboration and the many conversations that went into revising the book.

The changes to each edition always reflect what we see going on in the writing center world. We’re both really active in anything writing centers, which places us in a good position to keep up with what’s current. We present at conferences and publish. We have been or are officers in writing center organizations, from local through international; members of executive committees; reviewers for journals; and we’re the first to volunteer to review proposals for conferences or serve formally (or informally) as mentors. We consult nationally and internationally, and every semester, we entertain international visitors to talk about writing center issues. We buy into the notion of the writing center as a Burkean Parlor, and so the focus and activities in our own writing centers are on conversation about writing and the tutoring of writing. And The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors reflects that—in both the text within the book and in our collaboration in revising the book.

Leigh Ryan
Dr. Leigh Ryan

Unlike thirty years ago when the The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors was first published, today directors and tutors have a broad range of tutor education books to choose from, and an even more robust and extensive selection of writing center scholarship. Perhaps the biggest change in tutor education is that a book like ours can be either central or peripheral to the texts that tutors will encounter as they study and consider their entry into the writing center community.

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Volunteer Tutors

Editor’s note: like many others who shared the post on social media, we were very interested in the discussion started by Cortney Barko and Melissa Sartore’s “How to Start and Run a Writing Center With No Budget, or How We Did the Impossible!” So we were quite pleased when Diana Hamilton, associate director at Baruch College Writing Center, offered to share her thoughts.

In Cortney Barko and Melissa Sartore’s recent blog post, “How to Start and Run a Writing Center With No Budget, or How We Did the Impossible!”, the answer to their titular quandary is simple: they find a volunteer staff.

Dianaheadshot[1]
Diana Hamilton, Associate Director at Baruch College Writing Center
I was alarmed to see the authors apply the same arguments used to justify “unpaid internships”—a line on a resume, valuable work training—to writing center work. To put the problem bluntly: using a volunteer-only staff ensures that only students who can afford to work for free can be hired. Having worked and gone to college in New York City, I’m familiar with the many industries that take advantage of the large pool of college students willing to trade time for experience. This system reproduces the socio-economic and cultural homogeneity of these industries: you can only work in publishing, art, and many nonprofits if you can afford to work for free for a few years. I know that Montgomery, WV is not NYC—but I would be willing to hazard that there are many students at WVU Tech who cannot truly afford to work for free, either.

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