At Your Fingertips: University Writing Center

College is often more about honing one’s skills than producing a final result. For the past 35 years, the University Writing Center at UALR has provided support for students who wish to improve their academic writing abilities and, as a result, produce more well-written compositions.

The Writing Center staff work with students across all majors and are committed to providing quality feedback to help students improve the clarity of their writing.

Dr. Allison Holland, director of the University Writing Center, said that the goal of the Writing Center isn’t to edit or fix a student’s work; the goal is to provide guidance to students, so they can eventually work on their own.

“You work with the writer not the paper, and a lot of people say, ‘You fixed my paper for me.’ And the answer is: there is no fixing of a paper,” Holland said. “To you this is one paper among many papers you might write over the course of your career as a student. We want to think about this as one of a progression of things that you will do.”

In addition to Holland, the Writing Center is staffed by student interns who will look over your paper with you. Holland made it clear that they don’t proofread, but rather give suggestions on how to improve your work.

“We offer a free service to students who come from across the curriculum, who bring in papers they need to work on for their assignments–whether they’re research projects or personal pieces. And we work on them from the beginning to the end of those processes. We don’t edit and proofread their papers, but we can help them brainstorm, get started, and generate ideas,” Holland said.

Students who are taking online classes can submit papers to the Writing Center staff electronically through the Online Writing Lab (OWL).

It’s important to divulge as much information as possible about your assignment if you’re submitting it online, the OWL website states. Interns usually take about 48 hours to respond to submissions submitted through the OWL, so you should plan accordingly when submitting your drafts.

Whether you’re seeking assistance in person or online, it’s clear that the Writing Center staff are eager to help you succeed; however, you must also be willing to make the effort.

“If you’re going to have someone climb a rock wall, it’s good to have a rope on them to help pull them up as they go; but the truth is they still have to use their hands and feet to get to the top. We’re someone who stands beside a writer and talks about different options they might have—for places they can put their hands or feet or organizational development,” Holland said. “And we encourage them to climb, but we climb with them.”