To better serve Walden University’s growing international student body, our writing center has begun an initiative to assess the needs of our international and multilingual students, support faculty in working with these students, and develop our own resources and services to better meet the needs of these students. While Walden is based in the United States, our students are from around the globe, and many are seeking their Walden education while still residing in their home countries.
As an online, asynchronous center, we must cope with a variety of pragmatic, technological, cultural, linguistic, and academic barriers in student outreach, communication, and support. As we continue to seek student and faculty cooperation and consider the options and direction for this initiative, we would love to learn from writing center directors and staff working in international contexts–or indeed from anyone who has ideas about or experience in working with international students.
To start the conversation, we’ve compiled a list of initial questions; please feel free to chime in on any or all of these, or to bring up any issues that we’re overlooking.
- Do you use the traditional American writing lab model for tutoring (e.g., tutor as coach rather than editor, focusing on higher-level concerns rather than line edits)? If so, how successful have you found this model to be? How receptive have your students been to this model? And have you adapted this model at all to fit your academic or cultural context?
- What would you say are the three top challenges or frustrations you’ve faced in working with students? In working with faculty?
- Do you work chiefly with undergraduate or with graduate writers? If both, do you take a different approach based on the students’ level of education?
- Does your staff consist of students? Of professionals? Are your tutors native or nonnative English speakers?
- What services do you offer? Do you offer, for example, workshops, writing groups, or instruction beyond one-on-one consultation? If so, how are these services structured (e.g., in class or outside of class)?
- Where in your university are you housed? For example, are you part of the English department or an academic skills center?
- Do you actively promote yourself to students and if so, how? And how successful have you found your outreach to be?
- Are your services face-to-face, online, or a combination?
We look forward to hearing about successes, challenges, ideas, and tips to help us develop our services. Thanks!