Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The Writing Center received a record 777 papers last semester, which represents a 34 percent increase in conferences. Last fall, a total of 381 students, 25 percent of the student body, used the Writing Center programs.
Jill Gladstein, associate professor of English and director of the Writing Center, partially attributes the increase of students using the Center to a shortage of course Writing Associates (WAs).”Some courses used the Writing Center as de facto course WA,” she said.
Dante Fuoco ’12, coordinator of the Writing Associate Mentor (WAM) program, believes that through the variety of its programs, the Writing Center has become a stronger presence on campus.
“It was very exciting [to achieve a record number this year] because we pride ourselves in being there to help out and be pure mentors. I feel like students appreciate the program and so they keep coming back,” he said. The previous record for papers WAed was 751 in the fall of 2007.
Writing Center Intern Kathy Johnson, remarked that as a non-Swattie, it was refreshing to see the camaraderie among the WAs. The program is “a community and not just a bunch of individuals interested in bettering themselves or building a resume. They genuinely want to help out Swatties,” she said.
When asked if she thinks if they will achieve the same or a greater number this semester, Johnson replied that the spring semester is classically slower than the fall. However, she thinks this spring will see higher numbers than spring 2011 and believes next fall could top last semester’s record.
Gladstein noted that the Writing Center is rethinking its capacities, now that they have added a Speaking Associates Program to help students prepare for oral presentations.
“The speaking program will let us know how many appointments we can manage and if we will need to expand our space,” said Gladstein.
Stay tuned for a faculty-student dialogue and a Sharples take-over hosted by the Writing Center later in the semester.