Writing Center opens for the spring 2020 semester

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The Writing center located on the second floor of the library offers the opportunity for students to have their papers peer reviewed. Students can schedule a one-on-one meeting with a tutor or drop in for flash tutoring at the end of the day.  Photo by Erin Knapp/The Daily Campus

The Writing center located on the second floor of the library offers the opportunity for students to have their papers peer reviewed. Students can schedule a one-on-one meeting with a tutor or drop in for flash tutoring at the end of the day. Photo by Erin Knapp/The Daily Campus

The University of Connecticut Writing Center opened on Tuesday and is now offering “flash tutoring” sessions, as well as initiating tutor-led projects.  

The Writing Center, located on the second floor of the Homer Babbidge library, trains highly qualified writing tutors to help both undergraduate and graduate students who seek assistance with writing assignments or who have general writing questions. Students can come in at any stage of their writing process, according to its website.  

According to Writing Center Director Tom Deans, individual tutoring sessions have become the Center’s most commonly used feature for undergraduate students. These sessions span different majors, including the sciences as well.  

“Our individual tutorials are by far the most popular—we have nearly 4,000 of those per year,” Deans said. “The Writing Center also serves graduate students: We run writing seminars for them, lead writing retreats and dissertation bootcamps and offer individualized tutoring.”  

This semester, the Writing Center is offering “Flash Tutoring” sessions, which students can attend if they have questions that will take less time to answer. These sessions are offered 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, according to the Writing Center website.  

“Flash tutoring is for students who want a quick, unscheduled, drop-in session, not our usual 45-minute session,” Deans said. “Flash tutoring sessions should be for things that can be handled in under 10 minutes, although students who come are also welcome to hang out in the center and do their writing, so if they wish, they can circle back to consult with the flash tutor more than once.”  

The Center will also be initiating several tutor-led projects this semester, one being focused on how it can assist students in writing projects that reach beyond the usual academic paper, focusing instead on how to write grievances and advocate for change on campus. The Writing Center will also be launching a new program to offer grammar- and style-specific tutoring sessions, Deans said.  

Deans said students can visit the Writing Center if they are looking for an environment that will help them talk through the answers to their questions with them, rather than just have a tutor fix their work for them.  

“Students come in and talk through their work with a peer tutor who is a welcoming, invested reader,” Deans said. “We don’t ‘fix’ or ‘correct.’ Instead we listen and advise. We help each person come up with a strategic revision plan.”  

If students are interested in becoming Writing Center tutors, they can apply during an application cycle, occurring each spring with positions beginning the following fall. Before tutors begin hosting sessions, they spend a lot of time training and being mentored, Deans said.  

“Tutoring is complex and challenging but ultimately very rewarding work,” Deans said. “We hire a diverse, vibrant staff and devote lots of time and energy to mentoring them. I think they’ll tell you tutoring at the Writing Center is among the best jobs on campus.”  


Amanda Kilyk is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at amanda.kilyk@uconn.edu.

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