The voice of a writer is usually the hardest to bring out. It’s the aspect of writing that makes us show our emotional side through practice and individual experience that sets us apart from everyone else. It is that part of being vulnerable that the new director of the Writing Center, Dr. Steven Corbett assistant English professor, along with his staff aims to help students with.
“Twenty years of educational experience in writing centers, in the classroom and programs- my philosophy has been that: writing is a human intensive endeavor…we have to work towards growing our voice,” said Corbett.
In such a small space, there are so many talented minds at play. The facility is always bustling with activity. There is always someone coming through door. Employees, staff and students are all greeted with a smile and helping hand.
“I’ve been working here for a while, and it’s not usually this quiet- but everyone seems happy to work here…it’s a great place to have people come in to relax and get some help,” said Hope Ramos, graduate writing consultant.
“The number one thing to keep in mind is that you’re dealing with human beings here- you’re dealing with more than numbers. You’re dealing with human emotions,” said Corbett. He emphasized the importance of emotions being what holds us back from our voice. “Respect, earning trust, friendliness and the ability to listen… or to try to listen, are the most absolute paramount thing to do in our business. Everything will roll after that- some people get scared with their voice.”
“Everything is relaxed and diligent…we are just a wonderful melting pot of people who want to help as many people as we can- we don’t do anything subpar,” said staff member, Alexandra Lichtenberger.
The perfect atmosphere is vital in a workspace, especially for creative minds. The facility provides a spacious seating area where students can utilize tables or the couch.
“Our atmosphere is overall welcoming- and the philosophy I have is that you have to be willing to enjoy learning something in order to learn it,” said Andrea Martinez, administrative assistant. She explained that being involved with the University Writing Center helps others see how education can take place outside of the classroom. Getting her start at the writing center will help Martinez as she move towards her long-term goal of becoming a librarian.
Educators grow with their students, and the staff as a whole has grown due to the impact of new and old members. The direction in which Corbett gears his program is not simply a means of showing students what mistakes there are in papers, but what they can do retain their voice while providing opportunities to grow. This provides a better understanding of individual strategies and self-growth for writers.
“My advice for anyone looking to improve their writing is that we all have a voice and should be patient with ourselves. Persevere and practice. We can help you find that here,” said Corbett.
Corbett spoke of the future endeavors. “We do not have a rush of kiddos right now yet, but we will soon. Until then, some our tutors have been accepted to present at the South Central Writing Assistance Conference in Edinburg. I’m excited and proud of them!”
The University Writing Center is located at Jernigan Library on the second floor and works by appointment.