Ashly Bender, Assistant Director
For many people, January is a time for new resolutions, a time to set goals for ourselves over the next 12 months. Our director, Bronwyn Williams, has written in the past about how “new year’s resolutions” for those whose schedules are governed by the school system generally come in August. I fully agree on that count, yet this Spring semester is unique for me. Hopefully by August I will have finished and defended my dissertation—meaning this may be my last semester as a student, in the official sense. Even if I don’t manage this grand feat, this is certainly my last semester at the University Writing Center. A fact I lament, even as I put up a new Texas landscapes calendar next to my desk. Because endings are looming on the horizon, I find that this Spring, more so than those in the past, I’m thinking about the things I hope to see accomplished by myself and others in the coming months.
- Most of our tutors will be finishing up their first year of graduate school, and one of them will be graduating. One of the great things about working in the writing center is seeing people grow and learn, and hearing them talk about all the interesting ideas they develop. This is true with our clients and our tutors. So I’m excited to see and hear about all the projects and ambitions for the future our tutors hold.
- We are continuing to get more readers and followers on our blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Across our social media, the Writing Center hopes to offer resources and advice for writers at all levels, and also a bit of humor. Also, on our Twitter, we post in the afternoons about upcoming availabilities, something that is especially helpful during mid-semester and finals when we get busy. On our blog, our tutors discuss in more depth about particular writing concerns, habits, practices, and experiences. Also, we’re excited to have our first full semester of our new How I Write series, in which established professionals from a range of fields discuss their writing practices; we’ve already heard from a couple creative writers, an engineering professor, and a law professor. I hope we continue to get more readers, and that our readers spread the word about our sites.
- The Writing Center had a record number of appointments last year, and we’re eager to continue serving the diverse UofL population. For many semesters in a row, our number of appointments has been growing. We fill nearly every available appointment, and our Virtual Writing Center is popular as well. Our staff and tutors work hard to be responsive to our clients’ various concerns, and we’re constantly brainstorming ways in which we can be more helpful and available. Our survey results from last semester showed that:In answer to the statement: “My Writing Center consultation addressed my concerns about my writing project,” more than 97% of respondents selected “Strongly Agree” (72%) or “Agree” (25%).
In answer to the statement: “What I learned during my Writing Center consultation will help me with future writing projects,” more than 94% of respondents selected “Strongly Agree” (64%) or “Agree” (30%).
In answer to the statement: “I plan to use the Writing Center again,” more than 94% of respondents selected “Strongly Agree” (74%) or “Agree” (20%).
In answer to the statement: “The Writing Center staff were welcoming and helpful,” more than 97% of respondents selected “Strongly Agree” (80%) or “Agree” (17%).
- Finally, no surprise, I’m looking forward to making progress on my dissertation. Writing a dissertation can be a difficult, circuitous, and sometimes just overwhelming task. Working with other graduate students in the Writing Center—at the Dissertation Writing Retreat and otherwise—has helped me to understand this process better and to just keep trying new strategies when I’m feeling stuck. Still, as with any large project, the process is marked by ups and downs. Thus, one of my major goals is to keep myself working and progressing toward my defense and being able to call myself “Doctor.”
As your Spring begins, what sorts of goals (or resolutions, if you prefer) are you hoping to achieve over the next few months? Over the next year? At the Writing Center, we are versed in developing processes, strategies, and plans for tackling writing projects, and we’re not only happy but eager to work with you on those projects. Together we can achieve our goals for this semester, this year, this/these projects.