The Writing Center: To Be Understood or Misunderstood, That is The Question

September 27, 2012

Writing well is an art that never goes out of fashion. In one regard, it matters little what the next revolutionary transformation in technology will be: society and civilization still require men and women to be adept at the art of clear expression. In a unique way, Aquinas College is addressing the rhetorical component of its educational mission through the Write Reason Plan. This initiative seeks to strengthen the literacy, writing, and critical thinking skills of Aquinas students of every major, from the moment they arrive at the College to the moment they graduate.

One important feature of the Write Reason Plan has been the establishment of a dedicated Writing Center. The Writing Center at Aquinas College was established in the summer of 2011 and is open every day school is in session. Any student from any class working on any written assignment can come to the Writing Center for one-on-one individualized tutorial help. While I developed the Write Reason Plan and direct and manage the Writing Center, experienced tutors actually help the students with their writing. Coming to the Writing Center helps students realize the benefit of editing, reworking, and revising their essays. After several tutorials, students learn to become their own editors, which helps them express clearly what they have to say.

The Writing Center’s impact upon the Aquinas community has been extraordinary. Since opening in the summer of 2011, the Writing Center has performed 645 individual tutorials. Students from virtually every class requiring written work have come to the Writing Center to seek help with all stages of the writing process, from getting started on a paper to editing the final draft. The Writing Center also helps students with the various research and citation methods utilized in the humanities, social sciences, and health care disciplines. The Writing Center has also helped students who are writing internship applications as well as cover letters and resumes related to job searches.

Skill in the art of written expression has always been the hallmark of a liberally educated person. The Aquinas College Writing Center augments the instructional efforts of the faculty in providing individualized writing support to any student who seeks it. Our goal at the Writing Center is to produce students who personify the maxim of Quintilian, the great Roman rhetorician, who famously wrote “write not so that you can be understood, but so that you cannot be misunderstood.”