Grad/professional writing center opens

The Graduate and Professional Writing Center (GPWC) has opened in Smith CUE 414. It is the newest facet of WSU’s writing program, which has served undergraduates for 23 years.

“The communications needs of graduate students are very specific,” said Lisa Johnson-Shull, director of the program’s writing center.

“Our challenge was to begin to develop a resource — not be a proofreading or counseling service, but rather an environment of support where grad students can, for example, learn to frame questions for their dissertation chair and committee, or where international students can refine grammar and structural issues of writing.”

Johnson-Shull and English doctoral student Kristine Kellejian have worked closely with many across campus, including the Graduate School and colleges, to develop the GPWC.

“We hope faculty encourage their graduate students to use its services,” said Pat Sturko, associate dean of the Graduate School.

“If their theses or manuscripts can be improved by working with the GPWC before giving drafts to their professors, then the GPWC helps the faculty as well,” said Kim Kidwell, associate dean in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

Graduate students who write well themselves are likely to be more effective teaching assistants and teachers of undergraduates, said Johnson-Shull. “The GPWC offers significant opportunities for professional development for future faculty.”

Funding, demand for services, and workflow will guide the growth of the center, she said.

“It’s a fact that this is not a fully funded center,” said Johnson-Shull. “It will be a slow-growth enterprise. We are conservative in our launch, yet optimistic that we can make a difference to grad students wishing assistance with writing. To serve them as best we can, we must have rules about appointments and submitting materials in advance so we have time to review the work.”

Three types of services are available:
• Fifty-minute, in-person consultations, scheduled up to two weeks in advance ONLINE @
• Peer writing groups.
• On-site resource library of references, how-to materials and model dissertations and theses in several disciplines.

Open house Jan. 18
The WSU community is invited to a Graduate and Professional Writing Center open house 3-5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, in Smith CUE 414.

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