Cultivating Better Writers: The Loyola Writing Center’s Dedication to Student Success

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By: Paige Parker (Loyola Sophomore)

The Writing Center at Loyola University Chicago has remained a valuable resource for students and faculty since the late 1980s. Located on Loyola’s Lakeshore Campus in the Information Commons and at the Water Tower Campus in the Corboy Law Center, the Writing Center is composed of dedicated undergraduate and graduate tutors.

I had the privilege of meeting with Emma Horst (27), the Associate Director of the Writing Center and English Ph.D. student, to discuss how the Writing Center operates and how the tutoring staff makes it a valuable resource for all students. 

Throughout the pandemic, the center has remained accessible via video consultations and the virtual MyWCOnline interface. During the Fall 2021 semester, the Writing Center is offering 3 tutoring modalities for students: Face to Face tutoring, Online Video Consultations, and Written Feedback. 

I sat down with Horst to discuss how these accessible modalities are transformative for students and tutors. 

*Interview has been edited for length and clarity

RogersEdge Reporter: What is the purpose of the Writing Center?

Emma Horst: Well I think the purpose has changed over time. At first, the big push was to show that writing centers were a place to make better writers; not just a one-stop fix it-shop where you correct grammar, but more focused on actually creating better writers. We want to certainly help those who are looking for writing instruction, but also who need that extra assistance with very particular assignments and essays.

RER: What does a typical tutoring session look like at Loyola’s Writing Center?

Emma Horst: A typical session is anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. One of the first things that our tutors are trained to ask is “What are you hoping to get out of this session and what are your goals for this session?” And then, of course, the tutors are trained to look at each piece of writing with what we call “global concerns” which means things related to content, arguments, and issues related to word choice, analysis, and evidence. A tutor will try to gather information from the client to figure out what it is they want to work on and then go from there. 

RER: Based on these tutoring modalities, would you say that the Writing Center is an accessible place for all students, or is there room for improvement?

Emma Horst: I definitely think both. I think that we are working every year to try to make our writing center more accessible. Going to the online function and using MyWCOnline has made the center more accessible for different learning styles. 

RER: It seems like the Writing Center has a major impact on the Loyola community. Has this impact been positive or negative?

Emma Horst: I would definitely say positive, and I can highlight our writing fellows project which is extremely unique to us. Our writing fellows are embedded tutors in our first-year writing class. We are trying to demonstrate that tutoring does work and that it is impacting Loyola students, and we are starting with showing this at the first-year level. 

We are really privileged to be able to take on these leadership roles and tutor with the Writing Center and gain that experience. Something that I have loved about the Writing Center is that taking dedicated time in your week to help people with something that has nothing to do with you and to focus on something outside of yourself is a huge benefit of being a tutor.

Author Paige Parker presently works for the Writing Center as an Undergraduate tutor. 

For more information about Loyola University Chicago’s Writing Center, please visit https://www.luc.edu/writing/ 

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