Welcome {Back} to Our New Home!

Welcome back to The Draft, the IPFW Writing Center Blog! I’m so glad you decided to stop by and get an update!

I think pretty much everyone can agree that 2016 was a rough year, and we’re all hoping 2017 is much, much better. We’ve had a lot of changes here in the IPFW Writing Center, too, and I’d like to share some of them with you.

One of the biggest changes is our location! The Writing Center has moved quite a lot in its 24 years of existence, and we’ve hopefully made our last move for a long while. This semester, we moved back into the Helmke Library Learning Commons! The beautifully renovated space is wonderful to work in, and we’re taking full advantage of the comfy seating and plentiful access to power outlets! Plus, if you need to borrow a laptop for your appointment, we’re right by the Learning Commons desk where you can check one out for the day—use it for the appointment and then to keep working on your revision! We have also expanded our hours. You can now have appointments as early as 8:00 AM and as late as 10:00 PM.

As usual—and this is the terrible, wonderful part of being staffed by students—some of our consultants graduated and some moved on to awesome opportunities. But we’ve also welcomed a new consultants to the family, and we’re excited to have them complete their training and begin working with you! Definitely check out the Meet the Team page under About Us to see who’s back and who’s new.

One thing that hasn’t changed is how much we’re looking forward to working with all of you, talking with you, collaborating with you, and helping you learn more about writing and the writing process. Don’t forget to keep checking back here for more tops, tricks, articles, and info, and get connected to us through social media! We’re excited to get to know each of you, and to see you in the center!

FYI: My name is Kristine, and I’m the Coordinator for Composition, Communication, and Supplemental Instruction here at IPFW. I’ve worked in the publishing and marketing industries for more than a decade, and have taught various courses in Visual Communications and Design and English Composition at the college level for about seven years. I have a BS in Journalism from Ball State, and a MA in English from right here at IPFW. Despite that, I consider myself to be a creative writer who, if I let myself, would be perfectly content to hole up in my apartment for days on end, writing.

Kristine

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NaNoWriMo Events!!!

nanowrimoad_blogThe IPFW Writing Center is participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2016! November is National Novel Writing Month, and the NaNoWriMo organization encourages people to write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November. Many of our consultants participate each year, and we’ve decided to bring the fun to the IPFW campus for two write-ins:

November 4th:                 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm in Kettler G19.

November 18th:                4:00 pm – 8:00 pm in Kettler G19.

We’ll have caffeine and snacks to keep you fueled for writing, writing prompts to help with dreaded cases of writer’s block, and friendly faces to commiserate, collaborate, and congratulate you as you hit your writing goals!

#WhyIWrite

Surprise! It’s National Day on Writing!

Understandably, you may not have known unless you work at a Writing Center, have an astute writing professor, or follow a member of the writing community on Twitter.

To commemorate the sacred holiday, I wrote this poem:

I write because it makes me a better writer,

which makes me a better reader,

which makes me a better thinker,

which makes me a better listener,

which makes me a better-better thinker,

which makes me a slightly better writer,

which makes me a better tutor,

which makes me a better student,

which makes me a better worker,

which makes me a better job candidate,

which will—hopefully—make me rich

enough to buy cookies and cream, Sharpies, and electricity

which will power my ability to write

a story that will make me stupid rich.

“Why I Write” by A Starving Writing Consultant- October 20, 2016

 

DISCLAIMER: This is not my best work, but I only just saw what day it was (thanks, Twitterverse!) and deadlines are less imaginary than unicorns.

 

Written by . . . a consultant who would prefer to remain anonymous.

 

A letter from an alumnus: A.J. Rivera

Hello!

My name is Adrian Rivera (though I go by A.J.). During my time as an undergraduate I worked at the Writing Center. Specifically, I worked there for three years, with two and a half years of that time being as a lead consultant. Some of my best memories of being a student at IPFW come from my time working at the Writing Center, and some of the best friends I made at IPFW were my co-workers at the Writing Center. To this day, we still hang out and get together. This is probably what I’m most grateful for in my time at the Writing Center from a personal perspective.

From a professional standpoint, the Writing Center was a tremendous help to me. I was an English writing major at IPFW, and I credit that with getting me ready for graduate school work and preparing my thesis. However, the Writing Center allowed me to learn how to teach. Writing is something that comes easier to me than most, and it is really hard to avoid simply providing my students the answer I would use. Working at the Writing Center, especially under my old boss, armed me with Socratic questioning and a completely different outlook on writing as a process. It is less about the final product for me and more about how the student progressed to get there. I love seeing my students grow from draft to draft, and it is a great joy to me to see when my students’ end-of-semester work is better by leaps and bounds than their early work. This is an experience that I first had while working as a consultant at the Writing Center, and I believe it is what led me to where I am today.

In particular, I loved working with the diverse student population who would visit the Writing Center. We would get traditional age students, returning adults, and, my personal favorite, non-native speakers of English. Every student had a story behind them; each one had a unique set of circumstances which led them to the Writing Center. Working with them and meeting these people I never would have otherwise met was a joy for me.

As I implied before, I earned my Master’s degree in May 2015. I graduated in the fall semester of 2013 at IPFW and thus, left the Writing Center. A few weeks later, I would also leave Fort Wayne, as I entered the Master’s in English Education program at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez. I finished their program in a year and a half and came back to Fort Wayne. Now, I am a Limited Term Lecturer for the Department of English and Linguistics at IPFW and the tutor of English for Speakers of Other Languages at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne.

However, I am a big believer in learning as a constant process, and one which I will never be finished doing. I plan to pursue PhD programs which match my (somewhat eclectic) research interests. Right now, I am focusing on building my resume by teaching, my teaching portfolio in reflecting on my teaching practices, and my academic footprint by completing and submitting scholarly articles for publication. In the near future, I hope to attain my PhD and, ideally, I would get a government teaching job as an ESL educator or land at a college like Ivy Tech, where the refugee student population is huge. I would love to make a difference in the lives of students who are coming from around the world, even if that difference is something as small as helping them acquire the English language and get more comfortable in Indiana.

As one of my favorite professors in Puerto Rico would often say, “every experience we have in our lives prepares us for the next one.” Working in the Writing Center was a huge source of preparation and education for me. It got me engaged in the writing process, provided me with practice in interpersonal communication, and allowed me to come out of my introverted shell and make fantastic friends, among many, many other benefits.

In all, the Writing Center got me on the path I am on now. I credit my former boss Mary Arnold Schwartz, my academic advisor Dr. Sara Webb-Sunderhaus, and the many other influences from IPFW for helping me find what I want to do with my life. That means the world to me. The Writing Center will always be a special place for me, and now as an instructor at IPFW, I frequently encourage my students to visit there and benefit as I have.

Thanks for reading! I hope I adequately shared how awesome the Writing Center is!

A.J. Rivera

MBTIs at IPFW’s Writing Center

Hello Dons,

ENFP!

What?! Recently, the Writing Center team was graced with the presence of Ashley Calderon and Kayla Klimasko. Ashley Calderon, who is the Director of Career Services, led our group through the insightful afternoon about our MBTI test results. Kayla Klimasko, a Career Counselor, assisted with real-life applications.

MBTI is the abbreviation for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. It has been used for decades now. There are 16 personalities according to the MBTI test. In our session each letter had an explanation and an activity. The team learned everyone’s individual preferences. The activities were fun and helped members to get to know each other better. Quite a few of us are new to the Writing Center.

Our first activity was used to show the differences between Extroversion and Introversion. The team members were to draw our ideal workplaces. Introverts drew places with quiet spaces that allowed alone time. Extroverts, often, had many people surrounding them in their ideal environments. There were quite a few laughs exchanged. Phrases that were used and teased between both types were, “How do you get any work done?” and “That’s so lonely!”.     

To demonstrate Feeling and Thinking, two volunteers were needed. As an extrovert, I raised my hand pretty quickly. My co-worker and I were to “fire” Ashley. Ashley then pretended to have a grandma in the hospital who was very ill. Gasp!

Our third activity showed the differences between Sensing and Intuition preferences. It was an observation of a painting. Sensing people were able to identify all the colors and shapes versus Intuition people. They continued the story of the two characters in the painting.  

Our crew was divided into two groups for our last activity. The two groups were made up of Perceivers and Judgers. Each group was supposed to plan a trip. Judgers, who like structure, had relaxation times scheduled out and considered passports while planning. They rarely went off topic. Perceivers planned a trip to Europe. Then, we proceeded to talk about movies. We didn’t get very far, but our European vacation will be legendary!      

The MBTI is about preferences. It is not a test per say, just a unique way to look at people and better understand them. What are your MBTI results, Dons? Which sounds more like you? Do you match me? Are you opposite?

Let us know in the comments below.

Peace,  

Jade H.

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A letter from an alumnus: Chris Lambert

Dear Students of IPFW,

I have been involved in numerous IPFW organizations, but none quite compared to what the Writing Center offered. The Writing Center was more than just a student job. It was a way to use my joy of writing to help students with any report and any subject they found themselves struggling to write. My area of study is in accounting, but I didn’t let that limit me in the slightest. The Writing Center let me advance my skills in writing and apply them to my major in more ways than I can count; it doesn’t matter what area of study you find yourself situated in. Every discipline utilizes writing in many different ways and being aware of this will give anyone an advantage in the future.

One of the greatest ways the Writing Center has helped me was in my professional and interpersonal development. Assisting students, many of whom I didn’t know, allowed me to develop greater social skills. Tutoring helped raise my confidence as a writer, and the position challenged me to thrive in a unique environment that facilitated conversational and relational development. This is specifically important in the business world. Overall, helping with someone’s struggle in writing was extremely rewarding. It is what brought me to the Center and what I looked forward to each day.

Reading through the writings of others was an enlightening experience because it let me learn something from each piece I read and each student I had the privilege to talk to. My own writing style changed for the better because I surrounded myself with literature every day. I learned how to analyze my own literary works and find patterns of weakness that I could work on to become a better writer. All of the challenges I overcame allowed me to I pass down what I had learned to the students who I could see were facing the same obstacles.

The Writing Center was a great opportunity for me and I recommend the job to anyone who feels like they can use their writing skills to better someone else in that individual’s academic journey. Every major and concentration uses writing as a way to communicate, and I can’t think of a better place than a Writing Center to develop those skills and have fun tutoring others in the process.

Chris Lambert

Accounting Senior

What IPFW Students Have to Say about The Writing Center

Students who come to The Writing Center may come on their own, hoping to learn how to develop their writing, while others may come because it is required for a class.  Either way, what do students think about using The Writing Center?

In the Spring of 2016, undergraduate students with writing center appointments were asked to take a 10-question survey immediately after their appointment. The purpose of the survey was for students to give feedback about their experience.  Over the three weeks the survey was available, 32 students chose to give responses.  IPFW student, Sylvain Laliberté, compiled the findings of the surveys in a paper for his English W397 class:

According to the survey results, 56% of students came to the center with a general idea of what they wanted help with, 31% came with specific concerns about their paper, and 13% came because their professor offered extra credit for a writing center visit.

Students wrote that they hoped consultants would:

  • be open-minded and non-judgmental
  • be understanding
  • be kind and helpful
  • be comprehensive
  • have a non-threatening attitude
  • be knowledgeable

Given the expectations that students had, a majority of all of the students checked that they were extremely satisfied with tutor participation during their consultation (78%) and were extremely satisfied with the consultation itself (72%).

Also, 26 of the 32 students had used the center before.  This shows that people often come back after their first visit.  In addition, 72% of the students also marked that they would recommend The Writing Center to a friend.

Here is what they had to say about The Writing Center:

  • “A lot more helpful than I was anticipating”
  • “Makes me understand that these programs help a lot”
  • “The tutor really helped me to find resources that I needed”
  • “The tutor was very nice and knowledgeable on the subject and was able to help   me without making me feel stupid.”

Overall, the results of the surveys have helped us to see that the majority of students who use our services find the consultations to be worth it.

 

Opinions about Writing Centers in General:

In Sylvain’s paper, he not only discusses the results of his survey, but also quotes other scholarly sources to back up his findings.  One of the authors he introduces is Agnieszka Bielinska-Kwapisz, who organized a different study in 2015 with 315 undergraduate students that had taken advantage of a writing center.  In her article, “Impact of Writing Proficiency and Writing Center Participation on Academic Performance”, she notes the findings of her study.  She explains that most students visit writing centers because they have to, but still find value in a consultation.  A writing consultant may be able to make suggestions in the writing that a student hadn’t thought to ask about.  Bielinska-Kwapisz also found that “students who sought support did significantly better on required writing assignments, with an average grade increase of 9 percent”.  Essentially, when students come into the writing center with an open mind and ready to learn, they are more likely to gain the most assistance from the consultation.  Striving for positive, nonjudgmental attitudes and being open-minded are keys, for both students and tutors, to have a great consultation!

 

written by Jaclyn H.