The Hub will provide valuable writing resources
By Aitor Zabalegui
Becoming a good writer takes tremendous effort, determination and, most importantly, support. For aspiring writers at Santa Clara, and even those just fulfilling core requirements, help is on the way.
Last spring, the initial planning and development of a writing center at Santa Clara was put into action. The Provost's Office granted approval for the writing center, deemed "The Hub," after reviewing and compromising on a proposal written by English department professors Stephen Carroll, Dolores LaGuardia and Denise Krane.
The Hub's mission, "celebrating and supporting SCU writers and writing," is confidently etched on the wall of a cozy, welcoming room adjacent to the Undergraduate Admissions Office, which was generously painted by students from the university ROTC program.
The space will hopefully serve as "writing central," according to LaGuardia, The Hub's founding director.
"There is more exciting writing going on at Santa Clara than I had any idea of Â-- business plans, elevator pitches, poetry writing. We've never had a writing central, and I hope The Hub will become a place where writers want to be," LaGuardia said.
Not to be confused with what LaGuardia referred as "the still-common misconception that writing centers are a remedial, 'fix-it' shop for less-than-perfect writing," The Hub's purpose is to work with students to develop and hone their writing skills, one paper at a time.
This is to be accomplished with the help of student writing tutors who, since sections were offered in fall quarter, have taken courses in pedagogy in preparation to become tutors at The Hub.
This quarter, LaGuardia is also instructing a practicum in which, upon completion and after gaining 30 hours of tutoring experience, students will be allowed to apply for certification through the College Reading and Learning Association as licensed writing tutors.
The Hub is designed to operate on a "by students, for students" basis. Having students as tutors "maximizes learning opportunities for everyone," said Carroll, a writing tutor instructor and one of the founding visionaries of The Hub.
"Learning from peers is often less intimidating, less stressful. There is less cultural difference between tutors and clients, so communication is often easier and more effective," said Carroll. "From the tutor's perspective, there is a large amount of research that shows that being a writing tutor is often the most significant educational experience in a person's college career."
Tutors in training have already begun working with students in the university core English composition courses. According to Carroll, the initial results have proven to be effective. "Those who are working with tutors regularly brought their grades up by a full grade," he said.
Patrick Boocock, a senior who is enrolled in the writing tutor certification practicum, is writing an online handbook for The Hub. The Hub will also have its own island on Second Life, which will act as an online source for students to access various resources affiliated with the writing center.
The Hub is set to open this quarter. As Carroll said, "An education focused on critical thinking and increased personal responsibility that aims to empower individuals and to equip them with superior tools for managing complexity and change is deeply interlaced with writing, so creating a powerful culture of writing on campus always seemed a natural consequence of the SCU mission and vision."