During the summer following the 2018 – 2019 Academic Year, the APSU Writing Center housed within the Felix G. Woodward library changed hands, becoming a program of the language and literature department.
The current lead coordinator overseeing the operations of the center is Callasandra Benke, and the current director of the writing center is Mercy Cannon.
“It switched because the department of language and literature is dedicating a tenure track line to the Writing Center, which means that this person would be a permanent faculty employee,” Cannon said.
The addition of a faculty member to oversee the Writing Center’s operations would mean that the tutors and those seeking the services of the center would have access to Ph.D. or master’s level knowledge.
“It’s really about building on the foundation of what the Academic Support Center has done so far,” Cannon said.
In addition to this, Cannon confirmed that they currently have six graduate students signed on to be tutors during the fall semester.
Prior to the change, the Writing Center had been mostly operated by student tutors.
“We had about 625 students on Monday, 721 on Tuesdays, 756 to 770 range for Wednesday, 750 for Thursday, 695 on Friday and we had about five to six hundred on Saturdays,” Benke said.
These numbers were calculated based on all the sessions that were scheduled and completed during the previous spring semester, and the numbers were enough to warrant the additional aid that the center is now receiving.
In addition to the writing center changing hands, the current location of the writing center is undergoing construction.
“Not only are we supporting students, but we want them to feel like they have a space, and we want that space to connect to them and to make it a welcoming place for students to come to [that will] stand out to students so that we bring in more people,” Benke said.
The construction has progressed over the summer, with the Writing Center being temporarily located first in the Marks building, before being moved to the conference room neighboring the current center.
According to Benke, the new center should provide a comfortable and pleasant space for students to work on their writing.
“So, the writing center has its hand in a couple of different pots. We run our basic sessions. We prefer scheduled appointments, however walk-ins we take, as long as a tutor is available. If not, we offer a scheduled appointment at a later time. We do online papers through our email,” Benke said.
In addition to the center on the main campus, they now offer a tutor for the Fort Campbell campus as well. They also run Saturday tutoring for Adult and Non-Traditional Students (ANTS) and English as a Second Language (ESL) Institute students. Furthermore, the Writing Center helps run the Keys to Entrance Exam (KEEP) and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) workshops.
According to Benke, the writing guides help students with all aspects of the writing process, from brainstorming and outlining, to rough and final drafts, but they will not edit the paper or analyze the text for you.
“We don’t work as editors, per se, because we encourage them. We find mistakes, but we don’t edit the paper. We never focus on content because that is the student’s words and thoughts. We find issues and then we leave it to them to work through it,” Benke said.
These basic functions, Cannon and Benke assure, will remain the same even as the center changes hands.
Cannon advised incoming and returning students to start receiving tutoring early.
“There’s a huge stigma around receiving tutoring, [but] we’re here to support and encourage them to keep improving their writing,” Benke said.
The Writing Center is currently located in the conference room at the back of the library, but will soon move back into its original spot.