I’ve heard a lot about the writing center at VCU, and many librarians really encouraging students to visit the writing center for help. In my experience, university writing centers have been run by barely qualified students who can just proofread and edit your papers. So not the case at VCU! I met with writing center staff today to learn more about what it has to offer. I learned that the staff really doesn’t do a lot, if any, proofreading and editing. The philosophy here is to have a conversation about writing, and the ideas in a student’s paper. They can help develop ideas, determine direction, and organize thoughts. It seems like a really great way to help students develop their research papers. Not only do they help students, they help faculty as well! They have a team of highly trained staffers who can help with all parts of the writing process, from beginning to end. I think I will have to use them when I try to get my Master’s paper published!
One thing we discussed in our meeting was a stronger partnership between the library and the writing center. Both groups have found that students come to them for help when they really should be talking to the other. We don’t really have a system for referrals, so we discussed creating one. We don’t want to send students away from us without offering any help, but sometimes when they come to the library, they really need to be at the writing center, and vice versa. We hope to create some sort of referral sheet to physically hand to students, hoping it will help push them in a better direction. More to come later!