Persistent efforts by the administration to establish a uniform writing center are finally met with success.
What many faculty members once considered a dream became a tangible reality on Oct. 15, when UC Irvine unveiled its newest campus resource: The Center for Excellence in Writing and Communication.
Open to all undergraduates, the Center’s goal is to provide assistance in any writing ventures, with the help of staff from each school, including Biological Sciences, Humanities and the Arts.
The space on the first level of the Ayala Science Library has been revamped to accommodate students, as well as the five full-time staff members that provide writing support.
“We expected 50 people at the opening, and we had twice that,” Dean Sharon Salinger of the Division of Undergraduate Education said. “It’s the first like it, the first of its kind in the UC system.”
According to Salinger, there had been many proposals for an all-encompassing writing center; yet the one that was officially selected was written by English Professor and Campus Writing Coordinator Jonathan Alexander in 2008.
One of the aspects that separated Alexander’s proposal from others was the succinct incorporation of the Writing Center as a research facility for those who are researching different trends in writing.
“There are those who have done a lot of assessment of writing,” Salinger said. “Now this work will come out of the writing center.”
Originally, the writing center was established in fall 2011 as a part of the Learning Academic Resource Center (LARC) in Rowland Hall. However, when the latter program experienced major cuts, the Division of Undergraduate Education was able to acquire a few of the writing specialists’ positions for the future Writing Center.
Nevertheless, monetary challenges remain for the Center on the road to opening. Yet, despite the significant budget cuts that the UC system is experiencing, the Center was approved regardless.
“It was difficult convincing people in this budget climate it was important, but we did,” Salinger said.
In their efforts, the Center pieced together multiple campus writing resources and consolidated their functions, as well as budgets, into a single center, including the Scholarship Opportunities Program, a few writing specialists in LARC and the peer tutoring writing program that was previously stationed in the freshmen dormitories.
Along with in-person help, the Center will be able to expand its network of assistance with the addition of online support. For the future, this will make it easier for students who are unable to take time out of their busy schedule and stop by the Center.
Dean Salinger is confident that the Writing Center will be an important addition to the writing classes offered at UCI, as well as another avenue of success for the undergraduate writing process as a whole.
“I think the greatest gift we can give undergraduates is the confidence to write,” Salinger said. “And this center is another piece to that.”
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