Writing Center teaches skills, critical thinking

By Judith Gatton Prats

The UK Writing Center has been helping UK undergraduate, graduate and faculty writers for nearly 30 years. We have a long and proud history of committed service to everyone at UK who wants to improve their writing, including undergraduates at all levels and abilities.

This semester, we have added innovative visual and multimedia presentation services ([email protected]), and we offer group consultations for students in courses requiring small-group composition and communication projects.

Students can make appointments online at web.as.uky.edu/oxford/ or walk in to the Center (on the 5th floor of the William T. Young Library) to see if a consultant is available.

In most cases, a consultant is open for students who drop in, but near the end of the semester, consultant slots fill up with appointments and walk-in students. So we encourage our clients to schedule online or to call us (859-257-1368) if their time is limited.

Writing Center consultants include peer tutors (gifted and trained undergraduates), graduate students and faculty from the Division of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Media. Consultants tailor each session to the individual needs of the client.

The consultants engage their clients in a conversation about their writing and visual designs, asking productive questions and teaching them strategies for revising their own writing. Often, the consultant works as much on a client’s critical thinking as on their writing skills (in fact, we find that these skills are closely aligned).

Sometimes we model effective strategies of reading and analyzing a topic; sometimes we work on sentence-level revision. If a writer needs help with proofreading or grammar, then our consultants address those issues, too.

Consultants encourage writers to return to the Center so that they can continue making progress — and many writers become regulars. Our goal is to provide all our writers — but particularly the undergraduates who come to see us — with a solid foundation for life-long learning and practice in writing and design.

At times, our idea of what we do at the Center and how we go about doing it may be different from what a faculty member or student expects.

Writers who are new to the Center sometimes expect us to proofread their work for them. If our clients want a proofreader or an editor, we refer them to a proofreading service.

We view our role as helping writers improve their own writing. That’s why we clarify our role as consultants by explaining — in positive and thoughtful ways — how we can help and why we work the way we do. The truth is that anyone at UK who needs help with any writing issue, including learning how to proofread, will find help at the Writing Center and will learn how to become a better writer.

The UK Writing Center’s 30-year record of serving students is only the beginning.

We have launched new services (face-to-face and online) to consult with students on multimodal composition and communication projects across the curriculum.  And we are always looking for ways to improve.

The Writing Center consultants meet together regularly to talk about the feedback we receive, so we encourage anyone who has a concern or an idea to contact us.

Write me and I will respond to your messages. My email address ([email protected]) is included on our UK Writing Center website (wrd.as.uky.edu/writing-center), on our online scheduling home page (web.as.uky.edu/oxford/) and on our Facebook information page (facebook.com/UKWritingCenter).

I want to hear what you have to say, and I am interested in all kinds of ideas for making our Writing Center the very best resource it can be.