The central tenet to writing center work is that writers get better at writing with practice and just-in-time, individualized feedback. Sessions at the Writing Center or the Digital Writing Studio are shaped to do just that by intervening in the writing process and getting writers the formative feedback when they need it.
Our Writing Center has a long and distinguished history at Ball State University. In 1959, the English Department added a “Writing Clinic” as a required lab component to a writing course. By 1966, the Writing Clinic had become a stand-alone unit where any student enrolled in a writing course could get feedback. In the 1980s, the Writing Clinic became the Writing Center and permitted students in any course to use its services. More than a half-century later, the Writing Center has survived and thrives.
Today, the Writing Center continues to offer free feedback sessions for students and for faculty and staff. We staff and train our 20-30 undergraduate and graduate tutors to respond to texts in various stages, various genres, various disciplines, and various modes. We are just as likely to work with students from first-year writing courses as we are to work with doctoral students completing their dissertations.
In addition to the writers who use our services, our team also greatly benefits from their work in the Writing Center. Through professional development they develop their communication skills, technological prowess, teaching skills, writing skills, empathy, and gain extended experience working with writers from diverse backgrounds. Many on the team engage in and contribute to writing center scholarship by presenting at regional and international conferences, publishing books and articles, and completing theses and dissertations on writing center studies.
The Writing Center is directed by Dr. Jackie Grutsch McKinney, Professor of English.