"The Center is one reason that some high-achieving students attend Wittenberg, and it's a reason that some of them stay here," Mattison added.
Throughout the years, even as the workshop underwent several major revisions, one critical element hasn't changed: it remains a space in which students with diverse perspectives come together as writers and advisors to talk about writing at every stage of the writing process.
"There is perhaps nothing more valuable to a writer than the chance to talk with a reader who is focused on the piece of writing," Mattison said. "Writers need readers, and the Writing Center provides just that. We constantly tell students that we are not here because they can't write, but because they do."
For academic year 2015-16, the Writing Center conducted 2,548 face-to-face sessions and 425 email sessions for a total of 2,973 sessions, encompassing more than 900 different students. This number is in line with previous years. The goal each year is to conduct more than 2,500 sessions.
In the past year, six advisors in the Writing Center had pieces published in The Dangling Modifier, an online international newsletter by and for peer tutors in writing, published out of Pennsylvania State (Penn State, State College, Pa.). In addition, and because of the work of the advisors above, Wittenberg has been asked to guest edit the Spring 2017 edition of The Dangling Modifier. Mattison said that this "should be an excellent opportunity for the students to design a theme, solicit essays, and work with authors."
"The best part is the true academic challenge and opportunity that comes with reading papers in every department at this school," said Audra Hendrix, a former advisor originally from Arizona. Hendrix is a biology major who will graduate from Wittenberg this May, but is currently studying occupational therapy at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. as part of Wittenberg's elite 3-2 program.
"To be able to assess and communicate effectively about material I have sometimes never even heard about before takes some confidence, skill, and (dare I say) improvisation," she added. "To process new material quickly and efficiently enough to respond to a writer on many different levels is a challenge like no other; however, it is also an opportunity without compare. Advisors have a sneak preview into more classes than anyone else on Witt's campus. Thus, our work has given us the chance to experience a true liberal arts education. I've been lucky enough to be able to explore thoughts and ideas that I may not have otherwise come across alongside people who are prepared to have true academic discussions on their topic. For this, I am proud to have had a role in this wonderful field of work."
Equipped with sharpened skills for critical thinking, collaboration, and conversation, advisors have been accepted to law school, medical school, graduate school, Teach for America, the Peace Corps, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and teaching positions at all levels and around the world. In all of these pursuits, they have been able to connect the work they've done in the Writing Center with what they will be expected to do in their new positions.
"The Writing Center helped me refine my writing and editing skills and to recognize the importance of clear communication," says Eric Rusnak '00, who worked in the center while a student. Rusnak is now an intellectual property lawyer at K&L Gates, LLP. The company represents technology companies in patent infringement matters.
For nearly 40 years, the Writing Center has been an integral part of Wittenberg, connecting writers and readers in collaborative endeavors to produce the best possible writing.