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Undergraduate Writing Center Celebrates 20 Years of Service

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By Jessica Sinn
Posted: March 18, 2013

In 1993 the Undergraduate Writing Center opened its doors to students of all majors needing help on everything from research papers to resumes.

To celebrate its 20-year anniversary, the writing center hosted its first large-scale symposium—“The Future of Writing Centers”—Feb. 22-24. The event featured book readings, presentations and panel discussions by 46 faculty and students from various universities throughout the country, including Texas State University, Westminster College, University of Puerto Rico and University of Michigan.

Drawing more than 125 participants, the symposium covered an array of topics, including writing in a digitized world, new challenges facing writing centers, and teaching strategies for writing center consultants.

Peg Syverson, director of the Undergraduate Writing Center and associate professor of Rhetoric and Writing, says the event successfully highlighted the value of writing centers – and why students must never underestimate the importance of writing skills regardless of their major.

“Clear, intelligent, appropriate writing is absolutely essential in virtually every professional field and academic discipline,” Syverson says. “New technologies for expressing and communicating our ideas have only amplified the demand.”

Housed in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing, the writing center offers a wide variety of activities, events, workshops, presentations and resources in addition to everyday consultations. 

“The one-on-one consultations help students become skillful, independent writers,” Syverson says. “This, in turn, prepares them not only for the professional work that awaits them, but for all the many forms of expression they will engage in both online and in print, as family members, friends, participants in their larger communities, and citizens of a contemporary culture.”

Go to Life & Letters online to watch videos of three talented authors who presented their works at the symposium celebration.