Education majors don’t dissect frogs.
Technology majors don’t master accounting forms.
Communication majors don’t learn about tilt-up construction.
The wide array of degree programs at Pittsburg State University means one student’s experience can be much different than that of another’s. However, all students share at least one common bond.
“One of the things that all departments have in common is that their students all have to write,” Lynn Caldwell said. “They all have to read or produce some type of written product.”
Caldwell, one of two assistant directors of The Writing Center at PSU, is at the center of that conversion. She and fellow assistant director Morgan Gross see thousands of students each semester who utilize The Writing Center for a variety of needs.
“We see students from every academic discipline,” Gross said. “What we try to do is get them to focus on thoughtful writing. We ask them a variety of questions, such as ‘What’s your writing purpose?’ ‘What do you need to accomplish in order to achieve your goal for this piece?’ ‘Who’s your audience?’ We want them to be thinking about what steps need to be taken.
“We’re not here to edit their paper for them,” Gross said. “We help students look at patterns in their writing and explain some of the concepts and skills they can develop to improve and edit their own writing.”
Consultations take place either in person at The Writing Center, which is located inside Axe Library, or online at pittstate.mywconline.com. The services provided are free for PSU students.
Along with providing one-on-one consultations, The Writing Center staff has also conducts workshops across campus.
“If a faculty member in any discipline is having a hard time teaching a particular writing task to their students, they can call us to assist,” Caldwell said. “We’ve already done such workshops within the art department and with nursing.”
Caldwell said more than 2,000 students visited The Writing Center in the Fall 2012 semester. She expects nearly that amount in the Spring 2013 semester. She said many of the students who visit have a solid of grasp of what they want to say or write, but they need TWC’s help to “articulate that message.”
“We have many students on campus who have great ideas when it comes to their writing,” she said. “Some of them just need a little help putting all of those ideas together on paper.”
Gross said she is working to create a writing studio for PSU graduate students.
“It will be primarily for graduate students working on a thesis project,” she said. “This would give them, if they want to participate in a small group setting, a chance to interact and help each other with ideas for their writing. They could also hold each other accountable for meeting small deadlines or helping with questions and troubleshooting.”
This year, The Writing Center began to extend its reach beyond the PSU campus. Caldwell said TWC staff is reaching out to local community groups who may need help with writing projects.
“We want to expand out into the community and help where we can,” Caldwell said. “We’ve already begun helping with Live Well Crawford County, and we’re hoping to start working with the downtown activities group. If they have a writing project and could use some help putting it together, we want to be there to assist.”
While the services offered vary, the overall goal and mission of The Writing Center is concrete.
“We want to empower people to become better writers,” Gross said. “That’s why we’re here.”
For more information about The Writing Center, visit www.pittstate.edu/office/writing_center/faq.dot