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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Anna Scanlon revamps programming at the Writing Center — The Kenyon Collegian – Kenyon Collegian

Section: News

Anna Scanlon, the Writing Center’s new director, is excited to enhance the College’s vibrant writing community. She has begun work implementing changes to the Writing Center’s day-to-day operations to make the resource more accessible to the Kenyon community as a whole. 
Though the Writing Center predominantly supports students, its services are also available to faculty and alumni to offer guidance on any writing tasks they may have, such as essays, speeches and job applications, as well as any projects they have outside of the classroom. The center is staffed by trained student writing consultants, who provide one-on-one assistance, and writing liaisons, who offer guidance on course-specific assignments. Students can also participate in the Kenyon Writes mentorship program, where they meet with a writing consultant each week. The Writing Center’s hours have also been extended this year so that tutors will be available seven days a week to meet with students. 
Under new leadership, the Writing Center will offer a number of new initiatives to create a space that is as welcoming and accessible as possible. The center recently created a YouTube channel that will offer informative content and will also be using the software WCOnline to schedule appointments and handle sign ups for writers workshops. 
“We have a lot more programming this semester specifically geared towards writing that isn’t commonly taught in classes or that is foundational for good writing in the college setting. We have workshops for things ranging from writing a thesis statement to writing for the GRE,” Ione Blaxwell ’23, a writing consultant, wrote in an email to the Collegian.
The physical location of the Writing Center, located on the second floor of Chalmers, has  been revamped to provide a comfortable space to write. “We also can make you a cup of tea now! We have a kettle and mugs and as an avid tea-drinker I really appreciate this addition under our wonderful new manager Anna,” Blaxwell wrote. 
The Writing Center will also hold writing contests to invite the Kenyon community to respond to fun, stress-free writing prompts. The first of these, Trick or Tweet, will take place from Oct. 1 through Oct. 24. Participants can write a scary story of 280 characters or less and submit it to scanlon1@kenyon.edu for a chance to receive a prize and be featured on the Writing Center’s social media. “Our biggest goal is to make the writing process more approachable, because writing is such an anxiety-inducing thing,” Scanlon said. 
William Yanek ’23, a writing consultant and liaison, explained that the Writing Center will maintain its emphasis on collaboration. “At the Writing Center, we’re not about critiquing your work or saying your argument is bad or you’re a bad writer,” he said. “It’s like two friends coming together and saying, ‘How can I help you? Does my paper make sense to you?’”
Beyond directing the Writing Center, Scanlon is grateful that she also has the opportunity to serve as a tutor herself. “Directors don’t always get to tutor, but Kenyon allows me that time to get in there and see what’s going on, like what kind of papers we’re even getting. And so I had two appointments this week that were just like, yes, like the moment the student and I jived and really understood what we were working towards together, oh my gosh, it was beautiful! And it was so exciting,” she said. “When you’re talking about writing for work, like I genuinely cannot believe I get to do this for a job.”
In the coming months, Scanlon also plans to engage more closely with faculty and to hold more workshops specific to “faculty writing,” such as comments on students’ assignments, in order to best serve the Kenyon community as a whole. She acknowledged the value of writing at Kenyon and noted her excitement that she will have the opportunity to continue to foster the College’s writing tradition. “I ended up in Writing Center work because I felt like writing really had a lot of weight and importance to it, and I couldn’t always figure out how to respect and respond to that importance,” she said. “And now I’m here at Kenyon where writing is so important that it’s kind of exciting.”

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