By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian
Fairmont State University now offers a writing center that will provide tutoring services for all students regardless of class or program of study.
Dr. James Matthews, the director of the writing center and an associate professor of English at FSU, said the program is intended to increase retention and graduation rates at the university.
“The genuine purpose of the writing center is to increase the rates at which students complete progress toward their degrees because the state has determined that writing is one of the critical skill areas that students are falling behind in, and it often is one of the stumbling blocks for them to make it through their degrees,” Matthews said.
According to Matthews, the Higher Education Policy Commission asked officials at FSU to come up with a plan to combat that problem. The writing center was part of the institution’s proposal to provide support and supplemental tutoring to students.
Matthews said the writing center has been serving students at FSU and Pierpont Community & Technical College for about a week and a half, and it is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays.
“We’ve seen a number of students that is about exactly the target I expected to
see during the first week,” Matthews said. “We have seen quite a lot of repeat students, which makes me very happy, so the ones who have come, have come more than once.”
There are 12 tutors who work in the writing center, and they are trained to assist all students with writing-related assignments.
“We will work on any writing problem for any student,” Matthews said.
Velicia Darquenne, an English major at FSU, said she has already benefitted from using the writing center.
“They don’t hand feed you the answers,” Darquenne said. “They’ll have you work through it so you can point out your own mistakes.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday in Jaynes Hall to celebrate the opening of the writing center.
“It was a very positive event,” Matthews said. “My goal in having this ribbon-cutting ceremony was really to thank the folks in the administration who were willing to devote resources to this.”
Email Kaylyn Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.