The First-Year Composition Requirement: An Important Introduction to the Writing Center




Bourelle, Andy

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I recall having a conversation with a colleague at another university about how to best inform students on campus that his Writing Center was a valuable resource–and that it even existed at all. This colleague was beginning his position as a writing center administrator after having tutored at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Writing Center, where I’ve worked for the past four years under Director Mark Waldo. I told my friend that one of the most effective ways the UNR Writing Center publicized its value was to ask the first-year composition teachers at the university to require their students to visit the center. His response was: “I want to help students who come [and] ask for it on their own, not simply increase the number of appointments to impress the university’s administrators.” This response perplexed me. Sure, I knew that teachers requiring students to use the Writing Center would bolster the number of tutoring appointments. But we have different intentions at UNR. There are, I believe, important pedagogical benefits when composition instructors strongly encourage students to visit a campus writing center. The composition classes, the writing center, and most importantly, the students all benefit from this practice.

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