The Student News Site of Marian University

The Student News Site of Marian University


The Student News Site of Marian University


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A Resource for the Community


By Isabella Simons

To Grace Von Lehman, junior and tutor at the Marian University Writing Center, the purpose of the Writing Center is to give people agency in class and beyond.

The Writing Center is a great resource for students and members of the surrounding community. There you can get help with everything about writing, including assistance writing a paper, coming up with ideas, and fixing grammar during your meeting with a tutor. It is not necessary to be a Marian student to use this resource.

The goal of the Writing Center is to give agency to people, and to empower them with their writing. Essentially, its purpose is to produce confident writers. This is a great place to go to meet with a consultant and improve your writing.

Mark Latta, Director of the Writing Center, said that the purpose of the writing center is to instill and foster confidence about writing in students, and to give everyone practice in thinking and talking like a writer.

During a typical session, whether online or in person, the tutor starts by asking what you are working on (personal or academic writing), if it is for a class, and where you are in the process. First, they engage in dialogue, by reading the essay out loud or having the student read it. Then, they ask questions about the paper and provide tips on how to improve the essay. The session ends with providing additional resources, and the tutor will fill out a tutorial report form, which is later sent to the student.

The Writing Center has changed due to the pandemic. According to Latta, many sessions are handled online, with some face-to-face sessions scheduled in advance. Tutors can also critique the papers via email. The staff at the Writing Center want to make sure that students can still access it during this time, which is why they have these new options for consulting. This change is important because they have made this resource accessible for the community during this challenging time.

According to Von Lehman the biggest difference is not being able to work in person with writers. Now they only meet online with students.

Von Lehman said, “It’s challenging because, like with anything else right now, you have to learn new strategies and new ways to do the best job you can, even when it doesn’t look like what you expected or learning a different way to do the best job you can.”

To her, that means making sure her technology works and having better communication with coworkers.

The intention of the writing center according to Von Lehman is “giving people tools to navigate the environment they are in, so helping them understand what tools they have, what assets they have, and the parameters of that environment are, so they can navigate that environment, whether that’s the classroom, creating a cover letter for the job.”

She said that they want to acknowledge and support the assets of each person that needs help. She added that this resource is free to anyone in the community who needs it.

“Yes, we do writing, but the real purpose is even larger than writing a paper,” said Von Lehman.

Her favorite part of working there is meeting different people and building relationships. As for her least favorite, she said that that was when people come in just for credit.

Von Lehman said that it is harder to connect with people while working online.

While reflecting on her time as a writing tutor, she said that the experience has made her become more creative, and has helped her appreciate different types of creativity.

“Sometimes I’ll write with people writing poetry. Sometimes I’ll help people with a cover letter. Sometimes I’ll help people with a lab report, and they are such different kinds of writing, and I’ve really come to value the creative process and nature of writing in all those different areas.”

Erik Hvidston is a senior who works at the Writing Center. He said that it can be challenging, but rewarding.

Hvidston got involved as a freshman English major. He was looking on Handshake and thought that this job would help him to improve his own writing skills, as well as help others. “A lot of people identify this strength that they have, this desire for writing, and they want to spread that, help other people with that.” He said that he wants to encourage other writers in the community.

Tutoring is a collaborative process at the Writing Center. Hvidston said that they want to break down any preconceived notions and even the playing field. He said that the goal is to empower the writer, their voice, and trying to help them clarify their messages.

His favorite part about being a tutor is getting to meet different people who come in with unique writing styles, and discovering the subjects they are passionate about.

Hvidston describes a great experience he had during his time as a tutor. “An older gentlemen came in, a community member, and he was mute so he couldn’t speak, and he was also deaf, so he couldn’t hear very well. He wanted to go to Australia because they have a school for dare devils there. He wanted to go to that school, so he wanted to write a letter to put on GoFundMe. He wanted to be the first, deaf-mute dare devil.” They worked together on the letter, and in the end, the community member got to go to Australia.

Hvidston describes this experience as unique and fun because of the client’s physical challenges, as well as the importance of this opportunity to the client.

Currently, the Writing Center has twenty four undergraduate employees, and eighteen graduate employees. They are open to anyone in the community, and in addition to Marian students.

Additionally, they support Spanish writing. If you would like to make an appointment, go to

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