Writing Center passes on skills

The writing tutors are continuing to work with students during COVID-19

By Nina Benich, staff writer
Photo courtesy of xavier.edu
Despite working with new formats, the Writing Center tutors are finding ways to engage students who are looking to improve their skills.

For years, the Writing Center has provided tutoring and various accommodations for students. Its philosophy of a student-oriented approach to tutoring has recently proved effective in their adaptation to a virtual format for COVID-19.

The Writing Center, like most of Xavier’s student services, made changes this year due to COVID-19, one major change was stopping in-person appointments until further notice. 

Despite this challenge, the center still continues to aid students by offering appointments via Zoom to  share their screens to review papers. 

Email appointments are also available, in which a student sends a finished document to a Writing Center worker.

During these appointments, which can last up to 50 minutes, workers are available for a variety of different writing needs, such as writing thesis statements, using textual evidence and helping overall development of papers.

The appointments are approached from a conversational perspective so that students can not only improve their writing, but aslo learn in the process. Junior classics and philosophy double major Tim Ganshirt, who works at the center, spoke about this method. 

“The Writing Center’s motto is to create better writers, not better papers, so we’re trying to look at the writer more as a whole than at the individual paper,” he said. 

All workers at the center must take Xavier’s composition tutorial course before becoming an employee there. 

Ganshirt added that the workers incorporate two types of tutoring services: higher-order concerns which focus on bigger-picture ordeals like thesis statement development, and lower-order concerns, focusing on less significant elements, such as grammar and punctuation.

Ganshirt believes that focusing on higher-order concerns can help writers not only in English courses, but also in any writing setting, including those taking place after college. 

“We try to focus mainly on the higher-order concerns so that they can take the theory and apply it to other classes, and other papers that they’ll write,” he added.

Ganshirt has also benefited strongly from his job at the center. 

“I have discovered that I’ve become a better writer after two years of working here,” he stated. “Seeing a variety of diverse perspectives has opened me up to different viewpoints.” 

He explained that he enjoys reading papers from various academic disciplines and working with rhetorical analysis papers. 

Ganshirt hopes that the Xavier community can fully see the value of the resources provided to them by the Writing Center. 

“I think the Writing Center is so valuable for students here because writing is one of the most important ways that we are able to communicate with each other, especially in the academic setting,” he stated. 

“Hopefully, we can give them a strong background and good tools to use when they go out into the real world and have to write professionally, no matter what occupation they do,” he added. 

The Writing Center is available to students, faculty and staff Sunday through Friday, and appointments can be scheduled by calling (513) 745-2875 or emailing writingcenter@xavier.edu with preferred appointment times.