A view from the Center

Reflections on writing process and practice

Tea and History with the Writing Center—

On Wednesday May 3rd the Writing Center staff invited members of the Molloy community and alumni to an anniversary tea to celebrate a milestone: the Center’s thirty years of continuous service. Many people attended the event in the Kellenberg Reception Room, which had been set up to resemble an inviting tea room, replete with white tablecloths and centerpieces of fresh flowers. Besides the allure of cake, scones, and fresh fruit, many were drawn to the presentation board of photographs and testimonials of students and staff. Some traced the corresponding timeline, recognizing their own part in the Center’s development. From its inception in the eighties, the Writing Center has gone through many changes in both employees and location. The one constant over the years, however, has been the staff’s dedication to serving the ongoing flow of students who make their way through the Center’s door. Good writing remains a fundamental skill for communicating clear ideas and is a prerequisite for success.

In 1987 Roger Dupré took charge of the Center, which went into operation on the lower floor of Kellenberg Hall, between what was then the English Office and the Campus Ministry Office. Roger was largely responsible for developing the Center into an indispensable place for students to get help with their writing. He attended the May 3rd event with his wife and former Center tutor Ann. Surrounded by friends and former colleagues, Roger chatted with past and present Center staff and related stories of the “old” days.

Many who attended the event remembered Richard Kiley, who was hired as the new Director in 1999. By that time, the Center had moved from the first floor of Kellenberg to the first floor of Casey and down the stairs, to what is now referred to by consultants as the “garden level.” Richard was popular with the students, and he worked toward bringing more awareness to the Center’s services before his retirement in 2012.

As more students than ever find their way to the Writing Center, keeping up with the demand for appointments remains a challenge. The new online system, adopted when Pamela Kenley-Meschino took over as the Coordinator, means that students can now make their own appointments; they can also choose between face-to-face or online sessions. In 2014 the first summer writing program for high school students and incoming college freshmen was offered; consultants are currently working on the 2017 program. The busyness of the Center has changed exponentially with time, many dedicated staff members have come and gone, but the services offered remain as vital as ever.

Reflecting on Summer Interludes

July and August are quieter months for the Writing Center. The frenetic sprint of fall and spring finally transitions into a manageable rhythm, without the punctuation of ringing telephones and back-to-back appointments, without the wait lists and the desperation of students with imminent due dates and assignments they have mere hours to revise.  Actually, during the summer we continue to work with some anxious students who are busy trying to navigate an intensive summer course, a family, and a job beyond the campus. They—like us—face the challenge of making the most of their time amidst the rigors of everyday life. Finding a moment to slow down and reflect is an ongoing dilemma. It is, however, apparent that a shift in stride is crucial if we are to discover or maintain a sense of balance, if we are to manage the length of a yoga breath without hyperventilating from the stress.

At the start of another school year, we here in the Center are ready for the next semester of balancing acts. We spent the summer creating new handouts and updating old ones (did you know that there’s a new edition of the MLA Handbook?); we created flyers and designed new brochures; we updated our website; we planned workshops and worked on annual assessments; we are now scheduling and conducting fall presentations for faculty members; and we are working on promoting our high-school writing program for next year. Some of us are even working on a blog!  During the summer we took some time to reflect on our goals, individually and collectively; we made the most of our quiet time.

This summer “interlude” not only gave us some space to work on projects, but it also afforded us time to reflect on the work of the previous semester and to plan for the year ahead. The first wave of new students is already finding their way to us clutching assignments with underlined due dates, expressing anxiety about grammar and format; others are returning with renewed determination; some are revisiting old concerns. The hours and days will soon become a blur of activity as the buzz of summer recedes into another swirl of blue-sky memories. But we will all be better off for the time we took to reflect and view things from a different vantage point, even if we are still moving at the same swift pace.

Welcome!

Welcome to the Molloy Writing Center blog, a place for anyone and everyone who is interested in writing and reflecting about the writing experience; whether you are a seasoned professional, a novice trying to navigate the complexity of academic discourse, or a lover of creative prose–we invite you to explore the wide world of writing possibilities along with us.

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