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Writing Center Established at SHSU

Steve Kaminczak and Denise Higgins, staff members of the new writing center on the SHSU campus, review a paper submitted by a student.

Preparing a document isn't always an easy thing to do, whether it be a term paper, résumé , scholarship letter or a simple note to a loved one.

To help in such assignments, a new writing center has been established at Sam Houston State University to assist students, faculty and staff with their writing needs. Diane Dowdey, associate professor in English and the person in charge of the center, said her staff can help anyone with any problem they may have related to producing a document.

"We offer one-on-one tutoring for any part of the community," she said. "Students, faculty and staff, whether it's for a class, scholarship, or professor publication, can come and get someone to take a look at it.

"We also look at internship applications, résumés and any kind of writing that a person wants to improve on to be the best it can be." Dowdey added. "We can help them to achieve that goal."

The center was part of the Academic Enrichment Center located on the bottom floor of Newton Gresham Library until a decision was made recently to separate the AEC into different components. The writing center is now in its temporary location, room 351 in the Evans Building.

"I was part of the decision that the student body population would be better served by having a separate writing center," Dowdey said. "That way, we would have a better opportunity to deal with more students more effectively."

Dowdey said the center is equipped with tutors trained through the College Reading and Learning Association. The staff is comprised largely of English graduate students as well as some from criminal justice and other areas. A few undergraduate tutors from different majors complete the staff.

"We can talk to people whatever stage they are in during the writing process," said Dowdey. "We'd really like to invite people to come back and see us more than once on the same writing assignment. We can help people think of more things to say and help them to get organized. We can also help them when they are ready to do some final editing."

Eventually, either in mid Sept. or early Oct., the center will be moved to room 114 of the Wilson Building. Dowdey said the new area will be equipped with approximately 18 computers, several scanners and other helpful items.

"Also, if a student comes to work on an assignment given by a faculty member, that faculty member will receive a detailed report about what we discussed with their student," said Dowdey. "We're hoping that there will be two-way communication. We're encouraging the faculty to give us their assignments and deadlines so we will know what they are asking their students to do."

Appointments can be scheduled at the writing center by calling 936.294.3680, but it is mainly a walk-in process. The center is open from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Friday, but Dowdey said she will be monitoring to see if there is a need for expanded hours.

Dowdey said she encourages students at SHSU to take advantage of the new center. Though there is no charge to get writing help, student fees support the center.

"We hope that it will expand over time and we'll have more space and tutors to benefit more students," she said.

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SHSU Media Contact: Brandon Autrey
September 4, 2002
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