How Rocky’s Writing Center tutors can help you, article by Madison Siebenaler

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Writing Center tutor Madison Siebenaler assists Gideon Hudson. Photo by Roman Jones.

Writing Center tutor Madison Siebenaler assists Gideon Hudson.
Photo by Roman Jones.

Nestled in the northwest corner of Rocky Mountain College’s library is an academic resource available to all students: the Writing Center.

Organized by RMC English professor Nick Plunkey, the Writing Center provides students who are drafting essay assignments with opportunities to receive assistance from writing consultants in one-on-one tutoring sessions.

In comparison with other tutoring programs on campus, writing center tutors are specifically trained to motivate students’ writing processes at any stage. This involves brainstorming ideas, conducting research, creating outlines, reading rough drafts, addressing grammar and format, along with asking pertinent questions about the assignment in order to facilitate critical thinking.

Before becoming writing consultants, potential tutors take Nick Plunkey’s tutor training class to learn skills in inquiry, collaboration, and facilitation.

Writing Center director Nick Plunkey. Photo by Siebenaler.

Writing Center director Nick Plunkey. Photo by Siebenaler.

In other words, writing tutors learn how to establish meaningful relationships with peers and enable students to
become better writers.

In a typical Writing Center appointment, student writers are treated as experts on their paper while tutors ask questions about the assignment and make suggestions for improvement based on two things: the direction the writer wants to go with their assignment and the confines of the professor’s specific assignment guidelines.

Writing Center tutors help students learn how to own the paper and create a product worth standing behind.

Consultants like RMC sophomores Faith Williams and Brianna Pierce, along with seniors Katie Browning and myself, all work with students not to fix their papers for them, but to instead help them better develop their own writing skills.

While the Academic Resource Center, located adjacent to the Writing Center, offers tutoring services in content areas including math, psychology, and chemistry— the Writing Center provides support for students seeking help with writing assignments in classes like English, history, sociology, or music.

That’s not to say students with writing assignments in other courses can’t come to the Writing Center; they are also encouraged to do so.

Non-English majors should not be discouraged from coming to the Writing Center either; all students are welcomed.

Students who have routinely visited the Writing Center appreciate the skills they develop and how tutors facilitate them as writers.

Gideon Hudson, an RMC junior who frequently visits the Writing Center, said tutors “have given me skills to figure out how to go about things I’m not sure of.”

For Hudson, this included skills like developing different types of paragraphs or conducting research.

Hudson appreciates that writing tutors help students analyze assignments, while Academic Resource tutors help students analyze the class.

RMC sophomore Tayla McCallum appreciates how writing consultants motivate her to make writing decisions.

“It’s great to have a tutor really ask you questions and help you pull the phrase or sentence out of your head,” said McCallum.

Students seeking assistance with writing assignments can schedule an appointment by emailing writingcenter@rocky.edu or by dropping in during open hours.

The Writing Center is open Sundays 3-9 p.m., Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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