in this issue


News & Events

Awards Day Recap

Eclectic Now Accepting Submissions

Poetry Gala Review

Univ. Writing Center Adds Staff, Begins Assessment

Snyder Retirement Party

2007 Undergrad Conference Presenters

Voice Your Concerns

Toto Pulls Curtain on David Newton

Thinking of Pursuing a Graduate Degree?

People News

Studying Abroad: Nick McRae Czechs In

Kimily Willingham Leaves Legacy Behind

Student Presents Paper to Board of Regents

Lisa Crafton Named Outstanding Teacher

Masters Takes Helm of Grad Program

New Professor in English Education

In Every Issue

Job Spotlight on Christina Hogan

New Faculty and Staff


Course Descriptions

Spring 2008



University Writing Center Adds Staff, Begins Assessment

In Summer 2007, the University Writing Center received an internal grant from RPG funds awarded to the UWG by the Board of Regents. These funds are to help the institution improve the rates of retention, progression, and graduation in all programs on campus. With this grant, the UWC has been able to begin an intensive assessment process to determine the value of regular tutoring in the Center for students across the disciplines. English graduate students Amy Ellison, Jade Kierbow, and Amelia Lewis worked on gathering preliminary data during May and June 2007. Beginning in August, Professor Maren Henry has worked to establish specific data-gathering procedures in the UWC to allow a continuation of the valuable work done by the graduate students during the summer. We are now able to run weekly reports on Center use by students, specifying which of the Center’s services are being used and by how many students. From this data we can continue to build a clear, verifiable case for the positive impact on performance that the Center can provide for students.

The summer data reveals that regular work in the Center is one of the most productive ways for students to enhance their performance in a course that requires writing. Of students identified by their professors as having problems that required tutorial help, for those who visited the UWC as their professor had suggested, 84 percent passed their
class with a grade of C or better. For those
students who did not seek help in the Center, despite their professors’ recommendation, only 15 percent passed with a grade of C or better. These data indicate, then, that the student who uses the services of the UWC, when advised to do so by his or her professor, is more than five time more likely to succeed in her or his class than the student who does not.

For students referred by their instructor who visited the Center more than three times after the referral, 37.5 percent completed their course with a grade of B or higher, indicating that the more persistent a student is in seeking help with writing assignments, the better his or her chance of making a grade of B or better. In addition, faculty participating in the assessment project report (at a rate of 100 percent) that their students’ writing improved noticeably after their initial visit to the Center.

Because these very preliminary data suggest that the UWC’s services can be a significant factor in improving RPG rates at UWG, the Center received additional RPG funding for Fall 2007 that has allowed us to increase considerably the number of tutorial appointments available to students. Denise Slavinski, an honors English graduate of UWG (Class of 2007), has been hired to be in the Center full-time during its hours of operation. Her presence makes available more than forty additional tutoring appointments each week. In addition, Ms. Slavinski has offered workshops for students on those writing problems identified by faculty as most persistent in student work and has provided an ongoing stable presence in the Center that has increased efficiency and made the assessment information gathered more reliable.


  The increased demand for the Center’s services made it clear that we needed still more help; thus, the Department of English and Philosophy has funded a second position for a full-time tutor, again providing an additional forty student appointments per week. In late September, Laura Sonderman, also an honors UWG English graduate (Class of 2005), began her work in the UWC.

Ms. Slavinski and Ms. Sonderman join the highly dedicated limited-term faculty of the English program (more than twenty top-flight writing instructors), who work three hours per week in the Center. In addition, several additional English faculty volunteer in the Center on an ongoing basis.

In the past five years, the UWC has grown from a student-staffed organization with relatively few available appointments to a professionally staffed unit that makes a significant difference in the success rate of the students it serves. This growth and success is due largely to the hard work of the faculty who staff the Center and its co-directors, Professor Brandy James and Professor Patricia Reinhard. Also contributing to the ongoing efficiency of the UWC have been the undergraduate and graduate students in English who have taken care of the desk and phones, making appointments and helping to respond to the inquiries on Quikfix, the Center’s online tutorial service.

If you have questions about the Center, generously supported by a gift from the Parkman family as well as by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English and Philosophy, and these internal grant funds, please contact professors James or Reinhard ( or or drop by for a tour (TLC 1201).

--Jane Hill