Stetson Writing Center tutors win awards
Jennifer Schmitt, tutor at the Stetson Writing Center, won the prestigious 2013 Undergraduate Tutor Award, and Loren Cooper, lead tutor, claimed the $500 Tom Waldrep Scholarship at the Southeastern Writing Center Association (SWCA) conference in Ft. Lauderdale.
“I felt a tangible pride and responsibility as a novice ambassador for Stetson,” said Cooper. “As undergraduate peer-tutors, our presentation granted us entry to a realm of professional academic discourse, and began a serious discussion of where we, as a writing center and as individuals, may go from here.”
Writing center research and development is one of the fastest growing fields of academic scholarship, according to Cooper, one which the writing center tutors are excited to join.
“The conference showed me the exciting new directions that writing centers are taking across the U.S., and revealed exactly where Stetson’s Writing Center is and where it needs to be,” said Schmitt. “I learned about other writing center styles, and as a result, learned about my own writing center pedagogy.”
At the conference, Cooper and Schmitt, along with Maggie Herb, Writing Center director, and fellow tutors Bianca Hernandez and Aiden Keller presented the results of a semester-long project, “Measuring the Effectiveness of Our Work: Tutor-led Assessment Research.”
The group’s research and presentation explores new directions for assessing tutor effectiveness that focuses on student learning, not just satisfaction, by involving peer tutors in the assessment process. Presentations at the conference covered topics ranging from research methods and community outreach, to the impact of writing center atmosphere—all of which can be used to improve the writing center experience here at Stetson.
“We returned to campus with so many new ideas for strengthening our writing center and the services we offer,” said Herb. “Most importantly though, this was an incredible opportunity for these four undergraduate students to present research and to make a significant contribution to a larger ongoing academic conversation.”
by Loren A. Cooper