As a writing center director, I think I can say that there are good and bad approaches to required center use--and I have some experience with both types.
At my university, where majors in science dominate the curriculum, writing is very low on the priority list. Students have shown that they will only use the center voluntarily if they are in trouble in their classes or believe their work will somehow be corrected for them. Unfortunately, or university currently employs a punitive approach to required tutoring. They are only required to receive tutoring after they have failed the required writing proficiency examination and are in danger of not graduating. I have long advocated integrating writing center use into the writing curriculum from the first semester on. From your post I was not quite certain about what kind of required use you are suggesting, but I think it should be integrated into the coursework from the very first writing course--typically composition I. In my experience, this also reduces the chance that students will develop a plagiarism habit. Of course, what type of integration matters as well. In the past I have had experience with a pre-college composition course that was integrated with the writing center. This did help the students later develop a voluntary relationship with the center, but the instructor was teaching a very scripted writing formula (5 paragraph theme in which each paragraph had to contain exactly five sentences). In this setting, though integration was achieved, the students developed very bad writing habits. In other words, if the instruction is flawed, then the integrated support within the writing center is only going to reinforce those bad habits. Justin Everett, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of English Director of the Writing Center University of the Sciences in Philadelphia 600 S. 43rd St. Philadelphia, PA 19104
susan murphy <susan.murphy@TAMUCC.EDU> wrote:
Two graduate students in our program are trying to add information to the work done by Karen Uehling's students Katie White and Sabrina Gary on COMPFAQs? regarding on mainstreaming BW students, particularly programs that use the writing center in that plan.
Noelle Ballmer and Meredith Dawson are trying to discover programs that include assigned mandedory writing center tutoring as a feature of a "mainstreamed" or studio-model type basic writing program.
Noelle has already posted to the CBW list, and has asked me to forward this request to the WPA-list.
Susan Wolff Murphy, Ph.D. Coordinator, First-Year Writing Program Co-Director of the University Core Curriculum Program Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (361) 825-2640 firstname.lastname@example.org
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