Resources for Starting a Writing Center
Are you interested in starting or expanding a writing center at your institution? The KSU Writing Center would love to help you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Determine the Center's Audience
- Identify courses with frequent writing assignments.
- Seek faculty input about student writing needs.
- Consider the needs of various student populations.
Determine Center Location and Create a Welcoming Space
- Are there underused conference rooms, common spaces, or computer labs?
- Can you share space with a computer lab, the library, etc.?
- Make the space inviting, comfortable, and fun. Distinguish it from a classroom as much as possible with different colors, furniture, and lighting.
- Decorate with posters of favorite writers or other fun writing-related visuals. Bulletin boards are great for posting announcements and easily changing up décor.
- Involve student tutors. A space they create will both appeal to students and deepen the tutors’ investment in the Center’s success. Do as much as you can afford without getting in trouble.
- Stock the Center with style manuals, writing handbooks, and supplies such as pens, paper, highlighters, etc. A computer and printer are also very useful.
Recruit and Train Tutors
- Establish a National English Honor Society chapter; members can earn service hours by volunteering as tutors.
- Consult with faculty to find good writers and peer reviewers.
- Adopt a good tutor handbook.
- Make sure Center policies/procedures are easily accessible for tutors.
- Hold periodic staff meetings to discuss best practice, activities, and build community.
- Student tutors know what student writers need; encourage them to develop programming and events like book clubs, creative writing activities, community service projects, etc.
Promote the Center
- Recruit tutors or artistic students to make posters/flyers.
- Make announcements in faculty meetings and have reminders distributed to faculty.
- Host a grand opening or special events in the Center.
- Post flyers wherever possible, updating/reposting throughout the year.
- Encourage teachers to promote the Center (possibly offering extra credit).
Maintain the Environment
- Maintain consistent, reliable hours.
- Keep thorough records for numbers of students helped, individual tutor activity, kinds of assignments brought to the Center, etc.
- Continue to evaluate what your school needs and be willing to change accordingly.