Director pushes for greater use of the writing center

Use of the University Writing Center in Alexander Library was up last fall, but students still are not making optimal use of the resource, according to Director Danielle R. Tyler.


The center has 11 sessions on writing papers scheduled for the spring semester on Wednesdays and 10 grammar workshops scheduled on Fridays. The times for the “Quick Bites” sessions have changed this semester to lunchtime, from noon to 12:30 p.m.


The center, a free academic support service, also offers 30-minute consultations, or tutoring sessions, by appointment Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Tyler said the center recorded more than 160 consultations last fall, compared with about 100 for the previous semester. However, on average, four or five students attend each weekly grammar sessions, she said.


Tyler said she hopes the lack of attendance does not affect the survival of the Writing Center because the university needs to provide this kind of service to the students. Tyler said she has tried numerous alternatives to capture student interest with little result. For example, the center has offered free school supplies in the past. It posts flyers. And Tyler has addressed some classes to discuss the center’s services. 


Tutors at the center do not proofread or “correct” papers, accept “drop off” papers, write for the client or judge whether the paper is A, B, C, D or F, according to the center brochure.


Some students disagree with the restrictions. For example, Devan Lee, a sophomore mass communications major from New Orleans, the center should offer proofreading. However, Tyler said students would not learn to recognize their mistakes if the center did the work for them.


Instead, the center’s goal is to empower students with strategies for self-editing so they can become more confident writers, according to the brochure.


For more information, call (504) 816-4180 or visit the center on the library’s second floor.