October 14, 2013 1:30PM
In real estate, it’s said that location is everything. It turns out that is also true of university writing centers.
The recent renovations inside the Axe Library at Pittsburg State University included new office space for PSU’s Writing Center, and that has led to an increase in demand.
“We are already noticing an increased interest in the Writing Center since we moved to our new office,” said Dr. Janet Zepernick, co-director. “One of the main reasons for that is where we are located. There is now a direct line of sight from the reference desk to our front door, which makes it easier for everyone to see us and know we are here. Before, we were pretty much hidden and I'm not sure anyone would have noticed if we weren't there."
The new location is one of many improvements the Writing Center is enjoying. Improved resource availability and communication are other benefits of the move.
“What this renovation has done is make everything we do much easier,” Zepernick said. “All of our resources are more readily available. Our new setup makes it easier for staff to communicate with each other and with the students. We can observe what is going on without hovering or feeling like we’re crowding the students.”
With full walls and lockable doors, the Writing Center now boasts more computer equipment.
“Security was an issue in our previous location, because we could never fully protect our resources,” Zepernick said. “After the move, we were able to purchase many more computers because we are now in an office that can be secured, and that’s a tremendous benefit to everyone who uses the Writing Center.”
Morgan Gross, one of three assistant directors, said the improvements have also led to intangible benefits.
“There is certainly an added sense of professionalism and sincerity because of our new office,” Gross said. “It feels real. It feels more like an actual Writing Center, and that feeling has had a tremendous effect on morale and on our sense of purpose.”
Gross said students have commented on surveys that the “new office is excellent” and the “new Writing Center looks great.”
“It’s nice to read those things, but it’s even better to know that the students are noticing and appreciating the improvements,” Gross said.
To accommodate for the increased demand, the Writing Center has expanded its hours of operation to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Also, a new writing prize has been created for anyone who uses the Writing Center for help on a paper. Submissions are being accepted at the Writing Center, and the winners will be announced in the spring during the annual Research Colloquium.