Vicky Dawson has joined UM-Flint’s Marian E. Wright Writing Center as its new coordinator. Along with years of experience, Dawson brings with her exciting plans to serve the students of UM-Flint as they develop as writers, scholars, and professionals. For example, students can join the Writing Center, and its partners the Women’s Educational Center and the Office of Financial Aid, in scholarship preparation workshops starting on January 23.
Read below to learn more about Ms. Dawson, her history at UM-Flint, and her expectations for her new position.
How do you feel about taking over the positing of Writing Center Coordinator?
I am thrilled to be the new Marian E. Wright Writing Center Academic Support Services Coordinator. The university has given me many incredible opportunities as I’ve pursued my undergraduate and graduate degrees in English. I have worked in the Women’s Educational Center as a project coordinator, as a tutor in the Writing Center, and, recently, as a writing instructor and EHS coordinator for the School of Education and Human Services.
However, when my long-time friend and mentor, Scott Russell, retired from the Writing Center in July 2016, I knew I had to apply for the coordinator’s position. I enjoyed teaching writing for SEHS, but as many of you know, my heart has always been with the Writing Center.
How would you describe the mission of the Writing Center?
To me, the Writing Center has always been more than just helping students through the mechanics of writing, it’s also about helping them find their own voice and emerging academic identity. That journey can be tough if the university culture is unfamiliar, and for many of our students, it is. Our tutors are in a unique position because they too are on that journey. Yet, they are trained to help students begin to see and hear their own writing more clearly. This allows students to gain self-confidence and skills, rather than becoming overly dependent on someone else to just edit their papers for them.
It is exciting to see students develop over time, but it’s not just struggling writers that benefit from our process, even strong writers come to the center. We don’t know what’s possible for a writer until we are willing to listen and wait for what comes to the surface. That’s the beauty of working as a writing center tutor. We serve as a reader and listener first.
What will you do in your new position?
As the coordinator, my focus now is on managing the day to day operations of the writing center, collaborating with other departments, conducting research and statistical analysis, facilitating workshops, overseeing classroom visits, mentoring the professional development of our tutors, and much more. We support students, faculty, and staff from across all disciplines. Our visitors come in with all levels of writing proficiency from beginner to highly advanced—even faculty and graduate students come in to see us. Currently, we have 22 tutors that are uniquely trained to serve all writers. These tutors are also actively involved in research, professional development, leadership roles, and routinely present at regional and national conferences!
What else is new in the Writing Center?
Some of the great work we’ve been doing recently includes up-dating and expanding our online tutoring program. This semester two of our tutors have spear-headed the pilot of a new live tutoring option to better serve our online students. Online appointments can be conducted using a live, video chat. Visitors can learn more about it on our website umflint.edu/writingcenter.
We are also continuing to update the website to offer videos and information about our services and up-coming activities. We want students, faculty, and staff to know that we can help with all phases of the writing process for writing assignments, presentations, public speaking, resumes, cover letters, scholarship essays, graduate school applications and more.
We offer many workshops and activities throughout the year. In fact, in January and February, we will have several scholarship workshops we are co-sponsoring with the Women’s Educational Center and Financial Aid. For more information on those and other up-coming activities, visit umflint.edu/writingcenter/scholarships.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share about being a part of the Writing Center and UM-Flint?
The Writing Center is an incredible place to work with an outstanding team of people. Working with the tutors and Director, Dr. Jacob Blumner, is very exciting because of the great ideas, talent, and energy they put into the center to support the writing needs of our campus. I’m very grateful and eager to continue to be a part of the legacy and foundation of the Marian E. Wright Writing Center.
UM-Flint’s Marian E. Wright Writing Center is located on the third floor of the Thompson Library. They offer face-to-face tutoring, e-tutoring, live online sessions, and speaking appointments.
Visit umflint.edu/writingcenter or call (810) 766-6602 to request information or book an appointment.