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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Working to Create Better Writers, Not A+ Papers

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Needan expert opinion on the paper you are about to hand in? Then quit nagging yourroommate and head down to the new Writing Center located at the former LifeSciences Library.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ OpenMonday through Friday and equipped with a staff of 22 tutors, the WritingCenter is open to all students and faculty who want help with writing.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘?Iwish I went to the Writing Center before handing in my medical school personalstatement, but I ran out of time,’ said senior Lucan Rodrigues.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Dueto the pressing nature of deadlines, it is best to bring in your writing a fewdays before it is due for a tutor to critique. ‘?It is best to bring inyour paper as soon as you have the first draft down,’ said Jessica, atutor at the Center.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Sheemphasized that simple editing is not one of the services the Center provides.

    ‘?Some students come hereexpecting us to proofread their papers, but that’s not what we do,’Jessica said.

    In other words, if you need someoneto catch and instantly remedy your typos and grammar glitches, get your haplessroommate to do it.

    ‘?I think the difficulty moststudents face is expressing what they are thinking onto paper,’ Rodriguessaid. ‘?The ideas in my head are A-plus quality, but it’s differentwhen it’s on paper.’

    ‘?I’m developing tracking dataon students who use the center as well as performing content analysis on howstudents and tutors reflect on tutoring experiences,’ said Harry Denny,Ph.D, Director of the Writing Center.

    Lucan’s sentiment seems toaccurately reflect past research conducted by Denny. According to his surveyresults, most of the students approach the Center are requesting help withforming coherent sentences and presenting clear arguments. Among the studentspolled, only 29 percent said they had problems coming up with the content ideasof the paper.

    The goal of the Writing Center isto produce better writers, not to help students write perfect papers, Dennyexplained. ‘?We strive to have mentoring support that responds to students’need while also fostering a teaching focus to what the students need supportfor.’

    To accomplish this, the Centerprovides a comprehensive library of writing resources, including books,handouts and online notes, in addition to personalized tutoring.

    ‘?It’s more importantto say something of value than have perfect grammar,’ said tutor JohnSun.

    For students who are unable tovisit the center, there is an e-tutoring service available. ‘?Like mostwriting centers, we offer online tutoring as well as face to face tutoring onan appointment or drop-in basis,’ Denny said.

    Students can access the serviceonline at www.stonybrook.edu/writrhet/writingcenterand fill out a form to submit their papers. Feedback from a tutor is sent viae-mail.

    For students who prefer to see atutor in person, the center suggests a few things to keep in mind.

    Openly expressing concerns to thetutor is the key to a successful session, the center’s employees agreed.’?We need to know what the students want and a lack of communication makesthat difficult,’ Jessica said.

    The Center is not just for studentstaking classes that conventionally require a lot of writing. ‘?Like mostcenters, half of our business comes from the Writing Program and the rest ofour student usage comes from classes across the entire university,’ Dennysaid.

    ‘?I see a lot of students fromall different majors, including technical fields such as Engineering andComputer Science,’ Sun added.

    Last of all, said Denny, remember that a good writer is notmade overnight.

    ‘?Students often come to uswith the expectation that the center is a ‘fix-it’ shop or placewhere ‘bad’ writers go to get ‘corrected,” hesaid. ‘?As a result, we often must spend a good deal of time overcomingthose perceptions and helping students discover and learn strategies to improvetheir writing.’

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