Writing Center Staff and Students Present Workshop

Writing Center volunteer Elena Tominus '12 works with Marla Bianca '13 on a paper for Writing 100.

Writing tutors sometimes find themselves in awkward positions. They want to help advisees through coaching—not by serving as proofreaders or, worse, as ghostwriters.

"A writing center tutor must look at the big picture," suggested Meg Mikovits '03, assistant director of the Moravian Writing Center. "Is the thesis clear? Is the paper well-organized and logical? Their job is not so much to correct as it is to gather information about the student's goals, then suggest how to write a strong paper."

Occasionally, however, a tutor finds his or her goals at odds with a student's needs, based on the professor's feedback. How can tutors effectively work within the student-professor relationship? Mikovits and two Moravian student tutors, Caitlin Adolph '11 and Phuong Huynh '11 (both English education majors) presented an interactive workshop, "The Wizard Behind the Curtain: How Tutors Can Help Students Demystify Instructor Feedback," to address this topic at the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Writing Centers Association Conference held recently at the University of Delaware.

"Caitlin helped plan the workshop and designed handouts and activities. She did a great job eliciting participation from the attendees," said Mikovits. "Phuong supplied evidence, based on her research paper 'Connecting Expectations: the Professor, the Student, and the Tutor,' which she wrote for Tutorship II, a half-unit independent research course."

Moravian Writing Center student tutors help other students (and occasionally faculty members) with first-year compositions, lab reports, senior papers, Honors projects, application letters, and creative works. Joyce Hinnefeld, professor of English, is the Writing Center director.