272 appointments made since college reopened after Thanksgiving break
Procrastination and misuse of time management has the Center for Writing working full force, scheduling student appointments for the final hectic weeks left in the semester.
The Center for Writing supports effective writing and thinking by offering a variety of services for both students and faculty. Trained peer tutors work with students to improve their writing and with faculty to support their effectiveness as teachers of writing.
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Marcia Barrett, administrative assistant of the Center for Writing, suggests students make appointments in advance in order to beat the finals week overload.
“Around this time of year things get pretty heated because students come back from Thanksgiving break and realize the end of the semester is right around the corner,” Barrett said. “Then we get mass amounts of students setting up several appointments just in those three weeks, and we’ve had to create a waitlist ever since students got back.”
According to Barrett there have been 272 separate appointments made since students returned from Thanksgiving break. Out of those visits, one-third were deemed required visits from professors for final assignments.
“We usually get the first-year students who are taking a Thinking and Writing course (ITW) and seek help on corrections for their final papers. We tend to give students with assignments exceeding five pages or more one-hour time slots for their appointments, instead of half-an-hour on anything less,” Barrett said.
Professors encourage students to reach out to the Center for Writing, and some even make it required for their students to make arrangements. Assistant Director of Continuing Education and Professor, Steven Kessler, said students can prepare themselves earlier in the semester so procrastinations don’t hurt in the end.
“I recommend all my students to seek help at the center, but I don’t make it required,” Kessler said. “The writing center can really be useful and I’ve seen far too many students lose out academically due to poor time management and procrastination.”
Kessler mentioned how he takes it upon himself to engage his classes with in-class workshops throughout the semester to help students on selected writing processes. Peer tutors from the Center for Writing who interact with students individually during their class schedule conduct the workshops.
“I find that holding three in–class workshops in the course of a semester really helps the students in particularly with feedback and direction on specific writing assignments,” Kessler said.
Trained peer tutors conduct over 1,400 one-on-one sessions per year with Keene State College students and bring their service to the attention of incoming students to help them understand the value of working with peer tutors throughout their KSC experience.
Tutors collaborate with faculty members as well as summarize and report on students’ sessions at the writing center. Tutors are also available to visit a class to introduce the center to students, and can conduct workshops like stated previously. By arrangement, a tutor may also serve as a writing assistant for a particular course.
“Our tutors and staff members here at the Center for Writing create a working relationship with the students who seek help through us,” Bennett said. “Our staff is usually booked through the busy times of the schedule particularly Sunday nights and all day Mondays, when we have three staff members on duty.”
The Center for Writing staff accommodates walk-in appointments, but strongly recommends that you make an appointment well in advance of your assignment deadline, especially during peak times around midterm and the weeks before finals.
Bennett said students can’t be naïve when it comes to setting up appointments; most students assume they can schedule an appointment right on the spot, and that’s not the case.
“I see a lot of students who want to set up an appointment right on the spot and we have to tell them that’s not how it works because other students have made reservations in advanced,” Bennett said.
The Center for Writing works with professors to set up workshops or collaborate on required visits for students. Though most interaction is between first-year ITW students, Bennett said students from all different academic backgrounds seek help.
“It’s not just ITW students that want assistance; we get a diverse selection of assignments from different majors, but it helps that our tutors cover a multitude of majors so we match them up with similar backgrounds,” Bennett said.
Along with durability within writing assistants and tutors, the Center for Writing also come equipped with its own task force.
The Task Force on Writing advocates for faculty development and training to improve the practice of teaching writing in all disciplines. The task force sponsors workshops and other activities that address such issues as how to create challenging writing assignments. Students all around campus express their gratitude for all that the Center for Writing does, especially when it comes down to the week of finals.
“Whenever finals week hits, I always make sure that I’ve made appointments with the writing center only because I know how busy it can get with student procrastination, and also because they really help me with feedback on my assignments,” KSC senior Caitlin Morgan said.
KSC junior Seth Spector said although his teacher doesn’t require visits, he still makes arrangements to meet with a writing assistant so he doesn’t fall behind.
“Last year I fell behind on my final assignments and I couldn’t get an appointment with the writing center so I’m not making that mistake this year,” Spector said. “Procrastination is like a disease for college students, everybody thinks they can put everything off until the last minute and most of the time it hurts you.”
The Center for Writing is located in the little cottage at 81 Blake St., behind the student center. Students are encouraged to stop by or call 358-2412 during fall and spring semesters. The hours of operation are: Sundays 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fridays 10 a.m. -1 p.m., and closed on Saturdays, KSC holidays, and summers.
Jon Carey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.