Stroll past Crothall 108 between 3:30 and 4:30 pm, Mondays through Thursdays, and you might notice some students working individually or in small groups with faculty members. This is the new SMUS Writing Centre in action. Whether it is a historical research paper, a lab report, a literary review, or a university entrance essay, students are invited to drop in for an opportunity to work on their writing.
Writing well is an essential skill for all of us, but even accomplished writers find it challenging at times. Perhaps it is writer’s block on a topic like the following: Compare and contrast devices used in Voltaire’s Candide and George Bernard Shaw’s The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God. Maybe it’s an environmental science essay on soil contamination and its effect on living organisms and ecosystems.
Whatever the topic, you might not know where to start; this is where the SMUS Writing Centre can be an excellent support.
Most universities have Student Writing Centres for assistance with essays, resumes, scholarship letters, dissertations, recitations, projects, etc. Some offer peer instruction while others are staffed with faculty.
For the SMUS centre, we decided to include faculty from any discipline – provided they had a love of writing – and make sure students could get help regardless of their level of proficiency in writing. The writing centre is a great complement to our Learning Resources programs, such as study skills and exam preparation tutorials.
Students can receive support with:
- Brainstorming ideas;
- Working on an outline or draft;
- Refining a thesis statement;
- Strengthening an argument;
- Improving grammar and style; or
- Overcoming writer’s block
The SMUS Writing Centre officially opened this past Monday afternoon with faculty mentors, supplies, and snacks (who doesn’t need a few snacks after their afternoon classes, after all?).
We welcome all of our Senior School students to drop by between Mondays and Thursdays at any point during that hour. You may even find a writing workshop or two going on in the room from which you may benefit. Bring a device, pen and paper, or borrow a device in the room. Your mentors are there waiting to work with you.
Thanks to Kirsten Davel and Leanne Hart for this great idea, Simone Kuklinski and Alison McCallum for their advice and support, and house parent Emily Johnston for volunteering her time.