Previously tucked away in the annex of the Hilda C. Landers Library at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), the Writing and Speaking Center has been a hidden gem which provides SMCM students with valuable writing and communication skills. The center itself has been around since the 1980s, however, it has only taken its current form in the recent years under the direction of Professor Ben Click.
In order to ensure that its features are up to date and relevant to provide students with the best help possible, the Writing Center has been undergoing construction over the summer and into the early part of the 2019-2020 school year. Most notably, the Center will be moving onto the main floor of the library where it can be seen more easily, making students more aware of its presence. Amanda Taylor, the Assistant Director of the Writing and Speaking Center, has been involved with the program since the beginning of the 2013 school year. “All of these changes will facilitate student comfort and engagement with our services,” remarked Taylor, “but they will also make it easier for the peer tutors who work at the Center to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.”
India Oates (‘21) has been working as a peer tutor at the Writing Center for a year. She explained that she decided to apply to become a peer tutor because she thought that it would be a great opportunity to both better herself as a writer and provide help to her peers. “Academics have always been my strong suit,” Oates stated, “so I have fun when I put my skills to use.”
The most prominent update to the Writing and Speaking Center is the location change, as it will be relocated from the annex of the library to the main floor of the library. This location change will allow the directors and peer tutors of the Writing and Speaking Center more space in which to work, as well as make the environment more welcoming and comfortable for students who stop in for their scheduled appointments.
Taylor also mentioned that one of the tutoring rooms will be larger in order to better accommodate large groups that come in for tutorials. Taylor went on to explain that the new location will make it easier for students and peer tutors to concentrate, since the Center will now be located on an exterior wall away from high-traffic areas of the library. Also, since the annex was open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, it made it difficult to ensure that peer tutors and students would be able to find appropriate space for sessions. Taylor stated that “because the new space will be used only by the Center, [the directors and peer tutors] can now outfit it accordingly.”
The new and improved Writing and Speaking Center will be opened on Monday, Sept. 23. The new location will make for less distractions, which will ensure that students get the best out of their time with the tutors. Hopefully, the new location will allow it to be more accessible to students and remind them to utilize this resource on campus. Oates remarked, “[The peer tutors] are truly here for you; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain because even the best writers can improve their writing skills.”