Writing center extends services through website

Rachel Droze, Staff Writer

The Francis Marion University (FMU) Writing Center is now open for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Writing Center was designed to help students, staff, and faculty with all forms of papers and projects in any discipline at FMU including but not limited to speech outlines, resumes, scholarship applications and lab reports. The center’s staff includes 15 professors from the FMU English department, including the Director of the Writing Center, Dr. Jennifer Kunka, and 16 trained undergraduate students.

“Our staff is engaged in some professional development activities,” Kunka said. “Several of our staff will be presenting and chairing sessions at the International Writing Center Association Conference at Disney World […and] delivering a presentation at the South Carolina Tutor Retreat.”

Over the summer, the Writing Center was partially remodeled, adding soundproof walls to separate the center from the noise of classrooms nearby and allowing access to the neighboring rooms to give the staff more space to work with students.

Also in effect this year, the Writing Center implemented an online scheduling system that allows students to visit the center’s website and book an appointment from their computer or smartphone. The option is also available for students to book online appointments and have conferences via their computer with the Writing Center staff. A microphone and headphones are required for online conferences, and the website includes the ability to upload papers so the staff member and student can review the paper together.

“I encourage students to plan ahead and book their tutorial appointments before they need them,” Kunka said. “We are now handling approximately 3000 appointments per year in the Writing Center, and this semester we have already experienced some days for which our schedule was completely booked.”

In addition to scheduled appointments and tutoring sessions, the Writing Center will be hosting various workshops and workouts intended to help students become better writers.

The workshops are large-group sessions where students interact with the staff to address common situations in writing and polish skills needed in academic and professional environments. The next workshop is Using APA Format on September 25, followed by Flow Factor: Incorporating Research on Oct. 1, Conquering the Comma on Nov. 10, and Writing Essay Exams on Nov. 19.

The workouts are small group sessions that strengthen writing skills by combining a game show atmosphere with the rigor of a boot camp. The workouts include Paraphrasing and Quoting (MLA Style) on Oct. 8; Fragments, Run-ons, and Comma Splices on Oct. 13; and Paraphrasing and Quoting (APA Style) on Oct. 22.

For more information on the Writing Center or to make an appointment, visit www.fmarion.edu/academics/wcenter.