Episode VI: Return of the Writing Assistants

As we begin the sixth year of an official writing center at Hope College, a record 36 Writing Assistants will be returning to campus for four full days of orientation, staff development, team-building, and fun. This marks the beginning of the Klooster Center’s annual “pre-college conference”—so named because it echoes an event of the same name for Hope faculty (which takes place at about the same time). All Writing Assistants are required to come to the PCC every year—not just their first year, but any year in which they are on campus and plan to work for the Center. This helps the WAs get to know one another better, so that they can function as a team throughout the year.  It also helps our veteran Writing Assistants to “get back in shape” for their work here, after spending their summers doing other things (and some very interesting things, too—watch this space for further details).

Be sure to look for our WAs around campus, starting on Wednesday, August 26 and continuing through Orientation Weekend. On some of these days, they will be wearing T-shirts that identify them as Writing Assistants. In case these pictures aren’t clear enough to allow you to rfront cropped.jpgead the text on the front, it says:  “Papers piling up?  We can help!”  Our shirts were designed by Allyson Hoffman ’15, who served as the Student Director of the Klooster Center during her senior year at Hope. She’s now pursuing an MFA degree in creative writing at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

One of the wonderful things about back cropped.jpgthe pre-college conference is that it creates mentoring relationships between our veteran Writing Assistants and those who have been newly hired at the Center. We’re hoping to extend this process into the school year, encouraging mentors and and their charges to do some sessions together. Our goal is that they will be able to provide each other with examples, advice, and feedback. So if you schedule an appointment for early in the semester, don’t be surprised if you see two WAs at your desk!  (Don’t worry, you only have to deal with one of them. The second WA will just be watching the one who’s working with you on your paper.)

During their pre-college conference, the Writing Assistants will be attending sessions run by faculty and staff from all across campus, in order to be better prepared to work with their fellow students on their papers this year.  A great many campus leaders have provided support for our WAs at previous pre-college conferences. A few of them are listed here (with links for offices, as well as for those individuals who already have a personal page on the new Hope website): Dr. Rich Ray, Provost; Dr. Patrice Rankine, Dean of Arts and Humanities; Dr. Susanna Childress, Dr. Beth Trembley, Dr. Marla Lunderberg, Dr. Courtney Werner, and Amy Devanney (all from the English department); Jeanne Lindell and Janet Pinkham from the Academic Success Center; Dr. Susan Ipri Brown and Dr. Courtney Peckens from Engineering; and the Research Librarians at Van Wylen Library (Rachel Bishop, Jessica Hroncek, Patrick Morgan, and Todd Wiebe)—as well as others whose names I’m probably forgetting as I write this.

We’re also grateful to Patti Carlson, who sends out thousands of session reports every semester and who helps us out in myriad ways (all as part of her administrative role at Van Wylen Library), and to Kelly Jacobsma, the Genevra Thome Begg Dean of Libraries, who provides us with all kinds of support and helps us make our space comfortable, useful, and hospitable to the students whom we serve.

(Want to get clear about why that last sentence has “whom” instead of “who”?  Make an appointment at the Klooster Center and find out!)