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Spring 2011 NewsPrezi

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James Holsinger

on 16 March 2011

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Transcript of Spring 2011 NewsPrezi

Spring 2011 Writing Center Staff to Double This Fall The spring semester is an exciting time here at the Writing Center. Every January, students begin their training in preparation for becoming full-fledged tutors in the coming fall. This spring is particularly unique because the Writing Center is welcoming its largest class of tutors yet. Mollie Ballard, a veteran tutor, was curious to meet the trainees, so she attended a session of the tutor training class. Afterwards she had a chance to sit down and chat with a couple of the incoming tutors. Though it was the evening of a WVU-Pitt basketball game, sophomores Mick Snyder and Kiah Harpool were generous with their time and candidly shared their thoughts about the Writing Center. Both found out about the Writing Center through English professors who thought they would be good tutors. Mick, a Criminology and Investigations major, decided to apply for the position because of the skills he would gain for his future career. “Police work is a lot of writing,” he explained. “I realized that it would be a really good resume-builder.” “I’m really looking forward to helping people and seeing how their writing has improved,” Kiah said. “I’m also looking forward to making friends with people who share similar interests.” Mick agreed that the social aspect of the Writing Center appealed to him. “I like that everyone is working toward a common goal,” he said. The tutor training class often challenges students’ assumptions and expectations of tutoring, and this year’s class has been no different. What “common goal” was Mick referring to? One of the dominant themes at the WVU Writing Center is that of minimalist tutoring. “The thing that surprised me the most was that, as a tutor, you’re not so concerned about correcting that one paper as you are with making people better writers in general,” Mick said. “I like that more than, ‘Here’s your mistake here, and here.’ It’s much more interactive.” The tutors have learned that this is the common goal of the WVU Writing Center. Though both Mick and Kiah are eager to help students become better writers, they admit that they are somewhat nervous. Mick was surprised to learn that a lot of graduate students seek tutoring at the Writing Center. “How do I tutor someone who has more academic experience than I do?” he asked. “Am I really credible?” Kiah had other concerns. “I’m nervous that I won’t be able to hear people very well,” she admitted. “I’m afraid that they’re going to leave the session feeling like I didn’t give them the help they were looking for. I hope that whenever I start tutoring that that fear will go away.” Academically, the incoming tutor class is one of the most diverse yet. This is great news for WVU students who seek out tutoring at the Writing Center, because chances are better than ever that they will be able to work with a tutor who has specific insights into their field of study, and hence, their field’s standards for writing excellence. Kiah, for example, might be able to help with psychology lab reports – and other subjects, too. “I’ve taken public relations, psychology classes, journalism, English 101 and 102, and all sorts of other classes. I feel like I can help with everything!” Mick couldn’t help but laugh. “That’s a bold statement! As a criminology major, I’ll be able to help out anyone who’s interested in that department, as well as some other majors in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.” Mick also knows a lot about sports and will be glad to start off a tutoring session with a quick recap of last night’s game. They explained that the tutor class as a whole can be pretty quiet initially. “I feel like our group is kind of timid at first,” Kiah said, “but whenever we start getting passionate about a topic, everyone has something very interesting to add to the conversation, and that really fuels everyone else’s ideas.” Mick agreed, stating, “When we break into groups, everyone is pretty good about talking equally.” Mick is looking forward to expanding his understanding of other cultures as a tutor – an opportunity which he will surely have at the Writing Center, where about half of the students who seek tutoring speak English as a second language. “Unfortunately, my hometown was not very culturally diverse at all, so I’m looking forward to learning to speak effectively across all cultures.” Kiah is looking forward to expanding her communication abilities, as well, and to building camaraderie with those she tutors. “I would love for someone to leave the Writing Center and think, 'Man, that girl was really great! I can’t wait to tell my friends, The Writing Center is a really great place!'” So, if you decide to come in for an appointment this semester – and we hope you will – you may have an opportunity to work with one of the new tutors. Be sure to give them a warm welcome as they get to know the ins and outs of the Writing Center. Meet the New Tutors Jessica Lear
Major: Biology
Age: 21
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite Book: The Kite Runner
Writing is Like: relationships. They can be difficult and frustrating at times, but worth it in the end. Michelle Treadwell
Major: Psychology/Spanish
Age: 18
Hometown: Ridgeley, WV
Favorite Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Writing is Like: a watercolor painting. Your base is extremely important , but it's the many layers working together that make the whole beautiful. Mollie Simonton
Major: English
Age: 19
Hometown: Vienna, WV
Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice
Writing is Like: waking up for an 8 am class. It's difficult initially, but leaves me feeling accomplished. Eddie Hamrick
Major: Biology
Age: 18
Hometown: Elkins, WV
Favorite Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Writing is Like: an ocean. Both have the potential to be calm and dangerous, but both offer endless reservoirs of inspiration and wonder. Marlena Kingsbury
Major: Biology
Age: 19
Hometown: Elkins, WV
Favorite Author: Atul Gawande
Writing is Like: a cookie. Depending on its contents, you can make someone happy or disgruntled, but no matter the outcome, you are sharing your creativity. Mick Snyder
Major: Criminology and Investigation
Age: 19
Hometown: Gettysburg, PA
Favorite Book: Clear and Present Danger
Writing is Like: being a Mountaineer. Slack off while writing and you'll feel blue. Put your best effort into a paper and you're golden. Alexis Smith
Major: Anthropology
Age: 20
Hometown: Wheeling, WV
Favorite Book: World War Z
Writing is Like: climbing a mountain. It's a challenging process but exhilarating once you finish. Natalie Carpini
Major: English (Creative Writing, PWE, and Literature)
Age: 19
Hometown: Weirton, WV
Writing is Like: hockey. Both are underrated. Holly Purpura
Major: Political Science
Age: 19
Hometown: Wheeling, WV
Favorite Book: To Kill a Mockingbird
Writing is Like: the common cold. Everybody has to put up with it, sometimes at the worst of times, but after it is over you can feel relief in knowing you have gained immunity. Kiah Harpool
Major: Psychology
Age: 19
Hometown: Williamstown, WV
Favorite Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Writing is Like: playing a musical instrument. The more you learn, the better you can express yourself. Annual Holiday Party a Success Albert and Nathalie show off their holiday sweaters. Jessica and Nathalie warm up by the Writing Center fireplace. Festivities included feasting, a gift exchange, and a rousing game of balderdash where tutors showed off their linguistic prowess. Expanding the Blogosphere With more and more students using social media, the Writing Center has made a concerted effort to reach out to students using Facebook and Twitter. Students can receive alerts about Writing Center workshops and events through both social media sites. Additionally, some students find out about us (what we do, where we are located) through these avenues. The Writing Center Blog, in particular has become a vital part of our center. Each tutor is responsible for one post per semester, with topics ranging from strategies to write an outline, to the value of first drafts, to the benefits and dangers of Wikipedia. Such posts allow the Writing Center to reach beyond the boundaries of Colson Hall. Check out our latest blog entry, or browse all of our previous blog entries by clicking the following link:

http://wvuwritingcenter.blogspot.com/ Workshops Cater to a Variety of Students A common misconception abou the Writing Center is that, because it is housed in the English Department, it deals exclusively with writing for English classes. This misconception extends from who works at the center to what kinds of workshops the center conducts. While the WVU Writing Center is located in Colson Hall, and a large portion of its clients do need help with English 101 or 102 assignments, it also aids students with an assortment of other requests. For example, the Writing Center offered a Personal Statement workshop that attracted both undergraduate students applying to graduate school and graduate students applying for more advanced programs. This semester, the Writing Center will conduct two workshops: one for creating and maintaining a successful blog and one geared towards Psychology 202 students. “Writing a Research Proposal for Psych 202” is coming to the Writing Center on March 29. August Holtyn, a graduate student in psychology, will lead the workshop and answer any questions the students may have. Following her lecture, students will break into small groups guided by Writing Center tutors to work through further questions and rough drafts. For many Psych 202—or Research Methods in Psychology—students, this is the first research proposal they have ever written. It can be an intimidating assignment, but during this workshop, students’ questions will be answered and their ideas solidified. The workshop will not only prepare Psych 202 students for this particular assignment, but for their future psychology classes as well. On April 16, graduate tutor Ben Myers will lead a workshop entitled “Where my Blogs At?: Designing and Maintaining a Relevant Blog.” Ben plans to identify “what makes some blogs successful while others ... well not so much.” Some advice he plans to give to students include teaming up with others to guarantee original content, choosing and sticking with a potential audience, advertising through social media, and tracking data to get a better idea of who the audience truly is once the blog has been established. Writing Center Tutors Help Bridge Divide Between English 101 and 102 The transition from English 101 to English 102 has the potential to be seamless and smooth. However, students may find themselves struggling to adapt to a course with different assignments. In the latter course, students may be asked to track down resources on their own and utilize these resources in crafting an argumentative essay. Tutors in the Writing Center can help with all these concerns and more. For senior tutor Anastasia Gevas, the difference between a 101 student and a 102 student can be seen most clearly in the planning and organizing stages. "One of the most important things to help students transition from English 101 to English 102 is to give them encouragement in the writing process. In English 101 students usually need step by step help to plan, organize, and write their papers," Gevas said. "However, if a tutor is able to guide English 101 students while allowing them to take initiatives, these students will feel more confident taking charge of their assignments for English 102," she added. With English 101 under their belts, students should feel more comfortable writing at the college level. However, for students feeling less comfortable in English 102, our tutors have some great advice to offer. Senior tutor Albert Sementa encourages 102 students to fully understand all aspects of their assignments before beginning the writing process. "Looking at the assignment sheet is a very important part of the writing process," says Sementa. "It seems like such a simple thing, but bringing the assignment sheet to the Center can really help a student master the topic." For English 102 instructors that would like to have a class visit from a Writing Center tutor, email graduate tutor Allison Hitt at ahitt2@mix.wvu.edu. Tutor visits generally only last about five to ten minutes, but students may be more likely to take advantage of the Writing Center after a brief introduction. If you'd rather introduce your class to the Writing Center without a visit, consider using the online Writing Center class visit which contains a slideshow with useful information about the Center and a video mock tutoring session.

The online class visit can be found here:

http://wvuwritingcenter.blogspot.com/2011/02/wvu-writing-center-view-more.html Podcasts From the Future Be on the lookout for new Writing Center podcasts this semester. James Holsinger and Ben Myers will be focusing on the rhetorical triangle in their podcast while Nathalie Singh-Corcoran and Allison Hitt have planned a podcast on citations for academic essays. These new podcasts will be available by the end of the semester. Writing Center podcasts are a great resource for instructors and students alike. To listen to previous podcasts click the following link:

http://english.wvu.edu/centers/centers/writing_center/podcasts Thanks for visiting the Spring 2011 NewsPrezi. For more information on the WVU Writing Center please follow the following links:

Thanks for checking out the Spring 2011 NewsPrezi. In this edition we will

meet new tutors in the center;
catch up on Writing Center workshops;
get an update on the Writing Center blog, and so much more.

We hope you enjoy your digital visit. NewsPrezi Blog: http://wvuwritingcenter.blogspot.com/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/WVU-Writing-Center/175871404757 Twitter: http://twitter.com/wvwritingcenter Webpage:http://english.wvu.edu/centers/centers/writing_center
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