Ashly Bender, Assistant Director
It’s the last day of Spring 2013. We’ve made it! Well, in few hours we will have made it. If you’re like me, you’re already planning and getting anxious about what summer holds, thinking about how you’re going to balance play and work. As enticing as summer can be and as much as we may be anxious to move forward, the end of the semester is a good time to realize what we’ve accomplished in the past four months. Like many of the clients we see, the Writing Center staff have seen their hard work pay off this semester. We’ve seen our numbers rise across the board, we’ve enriched our outreach, and we’ve broadened the ways in which we can help people during sessions.
The Writing Center uses two main measurements to gather insight into our activity for the semester. First, after each session, clients receive a survey that aims to highlight what was helpful or not about the appointment, as well as giving their overall sense of the effectiveness of the Writing Center. We also calculate the number of appointments and clients we see each semester. The numbers this Spring are very positive. We haven’t calculated official counts for the combined Belknap campus, Health Sciences campus, and Virtual Writing Center, but just on the Belknap campus we have seen 770 students for approximately 1750 different appointments. In addition, the Virtual Writing Center has been nearly full all semester, so we’re expecting even more impressive numbers. Further, our second Dissertation Writing Retreat—which we are very excited to offer again this year—had more than double the applicants as last year.
Our social media outreach has also broadened this semester. The number of visitors to our blog (thank you, readers!) has steadily grown—reaching over 500 in February and April. Similarly, our Facebook page has been active and well-received. Each of our posts are seen by about 50 people, sometimes reaching into the hundreds. Our Twitter, which we started this semester, has also been successful. We are very grateful for the support we’ve had in these spaces and look forward to growing success.
While I am especially proud of the social media numbers (that’s my project), perhaps one of the most exciting things we’ve done this semester is pushed ourselves to incorporate some non-traditional tools to help us and writers in appointments. Namely, the Writing Center purchased and began using iPads in some of our consultations, depending on their usefulness for the particular session. While we’ve written about our new iPads before, it has been exciting to have apps and web support at our finger tips rather than sitting at a large distracting computer or flipping through dictionary pages to find the spelling or precise meaning of a word. (Although, I’ll admit I advocate for the page-turning method myself.)
As we close our doors today on Spring 2013, these are just a handful of the successes the Writing Center has seen as a whole. In addition to these, our consultants have earned individual successes over the year, including completing their first year of the English Master’s program. We’re proud and grateful to have had them here for a little while, and we wish them luck (which they certainly don’t need) as they begin teaching in the Fall.
And, dear readers and clients, never fear—we return May 13th for Summer 2013! See you then.