Waning interest threatens Vern Writing Center

After the Mount Vernon Writing Center reported seeing just four students during the fall semester, the service shut its doors – only to reopen after one week.

The Writing Center discontinued its Mount Vernon branch of the free peer tutoring service, based in Eckles Library, two weeks ago because so few students were using the service, said Evelyn Schreiber, director of the Writing Center.

“We had four appointments during the fall semester,” Schreiber said. “We could use those tutors more effectively elsewhere.”

If those tutors were working on the Foggy Bottom Campus, they could have close to 190 students, Schreiber said.

Eckles Library informed Mount Vernon students that the service was canceled in a message on their Web site on March 27, which prompted Associate Dean for Academic Affairs on the Mount Vernon Campus Rachelle Heller to contact Schreiber about ways to keep the program.

“Dean Heller offered to fund the budget for the two tutors,” Schreiber said. “We are discussing that option, as well as a few others.”

By paying for the two students, who have a starting rate of $10 an hour and work at the campus every Sunday for three hours, Mount Vernon would free up a portion of the Writing Center’s budget.

“We want to be able to help as many students as possible,” Schreiber said.

Despite the low rate of students who use the service, Heller thinks it is important for students to have the option.

“We asked them not to [close] it, not in the middle the term,” Heller said. “We have students who rely on the writing center being here.”

To promote the service, Heller said she plans on having flyers distributed on The Vern Express and around the campus.

Writing Center services on the Mount Vernon Campus run Sunday nights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with no appointments necessary.

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