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Keuka College combines on-campus, off-campus writing centers

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Writing Center Director Catherine Agar

Keuka College has long provided writing support for on-campus and off-campus students separately. An on-campus center provided face-to-face assistance while a virtual writing center served AOE and distance students.

That’s no longer the case.

The College’s writing services now fall, literally, under one roof: The one above its office at 301 Hegeman Hall.

“If I could nickname the new, combined writing center, I might call it the ‘No-Mistakes Zone,’” says recently appointed Writing Center Director Catherine Agar. “Writing skills are on a continuum, and everyone falls somewhere along the continuum and has the ability to improve or to move up the continuum toward stronger and stronger skills.”

That’s the philosophy behind the writing center, which will serve as a support source for the entire student body. AOE students will still be able to email their papers to [email protected], and on-campus students will continue to make appointments or walk in for help at the center in Hegeman 301.

Combining the centers, however, will mean additional benefits for all.

As part of a larger emphasis on writing skills across the College, the combined center will be a hub for all things writing: assistance with papers, brainstorming, breaking down assignments, composing drafts, getting started on research, understanding scholarly papers, outlining, presentations, and more.

Students can visit the center to discuss a book, read, or conduct studies, or they can scan the shelves for a free book to adopt. AOE students have access to all of the same resources. They can email, call, or even video chat with writing center personnel. Instructors can receive assistance with formulating writing assignments or evaluating student writing.

“I love that these two writing centers are now one,” says Agar, who for six years helped AOE students with their writing, both in the classroom and online. “I think there is room for both models to coexist, and for each to learn from the other.”

One thing the writing center does not do is “fix” student papers. That’s a student’s job, Agar, says, and for good reason: critically evaluating one’s own paper develops writing skills.

“We exist to develop writers, not papers,” says Agar. “A paper won’t come into our center ‘broken’ and leave ‘fixed.’ Instead, students will add tools to their skillset that allow them to develop and grow as writers over time.”

In the future, the writing center plans to host an open house (or two!), collaborate with other College departments, offer workshops, and, in all likelihood, reach out to the campus to see what new and innovative methods can be adopted to best serve the students of Keuka College. 


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