The Writing Center: Offering Assistance Beyond only Papers  

A board filled with pcitures of past and present Writing Center employees and visitors adorns the walls of the Writing Center.

Santiago Ochoa

A board filled with pcitures of past and present Writing Center employees and visitors adorns the walls of the Writing Center.

Do you need help with any upcoming written assignments as crunch time approaches? UM-Flint’s Marian E. Wright Writing Center offers services that will help you to not only polish your written output but hone your writing skills in general.

The center’s website stresses its mission is not to edit your work and give you the proverbial fish, but rather teach you to be a better writer to feed you for a lifetime, the pen being mightier than the rod in this case. One way it provides this assistance is by helping one understand the organization of a writing project from the opening through the body content to the conclusion.

The staff will act as a sounding board, providing feedback, offering tips, as well as resources to help you perform research.  

“The writing center is a unique place to learn, collaborate, and write,” said Marwa Tahboub, a tutor with a major in communication and psychology. “I love that the writing center is open to all disciplines because writing is vital for all professions.

“The fact that the writing center is free for students is so important. Tutors are not professors or employers. They are fellow students that care about writing and believe that all writers are capable of strengthening those skills. Writing should not be a solitary and stagnant process. The center makes it collaborative and fluid.”

The center also provides comprehensive training for the staff. Tutors are drawn from a range of majors, aiding not only students from the undergraduate and graduate level but also faculty and staff. Professional writers, too, find that the additional input may deliver a fresh perspective.

“I first heard about the writing center first semester of my freshman year,” said Cherish Dean, a UM-Flint sophomore psychology major. “I knew it existed because of the orientation tour but had never gone until I was required to take my first essay in there for an honors program class.

“As for writing research papers, they provide resources for understanding citation requirements for MLA and APA and even AMA. For students who may live further from campus or be in online courses, they even have live online appointments!”

Several tutoring options are offered: face-to-face, live via Video Chat and E-Tutoring, using the Word comment feature. The writing center helps with resumes and cover letters, while also offering various seminars and activities. 

This semester, workshops were offered for graduate school preparation. In November, sessions were available to creative writers as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). 

“I’ve always thought people should use the writing center because everyone needs a reader … ” said Writing Center Director Jacob Blumner. “Students, staff, and faculty who use the writing center understand their writing assignments better, get feedback on their writing choices, and learn what they are doing well so they can repeat it.”

The center is located at 308 Thompson Library on campus. The center’s hours this term are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. To contact the center via phone, their number is 810-766-6602.  

“Students tell us they believe their papers are better after a writing center visit, and isn’t the goal of education to become better at whatever we do? And writing is the heart of much of the workplace work we do, so why wouldn’t you want to be the best you can be?” said Blumner. 

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, making an appointment or to learn more, visit their website for further information.