“Your paper is due on Friday—get it done.” This may sound easy, but often it’s not. The recently renamed Judith Anderson Herbert Writing Center’s newest services are helping more and more students with their writing—and also the faculty who assign it. Under the direction of Kirsten Benson—and with the generous help of Judi and Jim Herbert (’63)—the center has created a new culture of writing for students and faculty on campus.
One exciting new service in the Herbert Writing Center staff is assistance from undergraduate tutors from a wide variety of fields—linguistics, music, audiology and speech pathology, computer science, philosophy, and more. These tutors receive intensive training and gain lots of practice providing feedback to the writers who visit the center. Their peers from disciplines all over campus love to seek them out and get their advice.
Another new and highly successful service is specialized help for students preparing application materials, such as cover letters for jobs, résumés, and personal statements for law, medical, and other graduate schools. With so much at stake with such documents, students can sometimes feel uncomfortable when others read their drafts. The Herbert Writing Center tutors, however, make writers feel confident and able to create more powerful application materials. This service has been received very positively, with 100 percent reporting they would recommend it to other students.
Students are not the only ones who are getting more support; the Herbert Writing Center is now offering writing-in-the-disciplines workshops for faculty outside the Department of English. Instructors from any department on campus gather to learn about and discuss best practices for designing writing assignments and responding to and assessing writing assignments. Three new faculty workshop series have been offered in the past year, with plans for more.
The Herbert Writing Center, in other words, is becoming a hub for student and faculty support across campus, with more than 18,000 student visits in the past year from every college. A satellite location is now open in Pendergrass Library to support students on the Herbert College of Agriculture plus graduate student writers seeking in-person help for coursework and thesis/dissertation writing. The center has also partnered with the Graduate School, the Center for Career Development, the Office of Undergraduate Research, the Honors and Scholars Programs, and other departments to offer numerous workshops tailored to specific students’ writing needs.