At the Ammerman campus of Suffolk County Community College, the Rose Tehan Memorial Writing Center offers students the aid, support, and assistance required to help them become better writers.
It’s an obvious statement by college students world-wide that essays, writing assignments, and fact papers make up a large amount of the workload we must complete. In fact, most graded assignments in college for most academic majors require the student to present their information through a paper or article in writing form. Due to the heavy focus on standard essays, most students can agree that perfecting their writing skills and grammar will positively affect their work and result in a better grade.
The writing center is located in the Islip Arts Building of the Ammerman Campus and offers all SCCC students free individualized attention and tutoring services. The staff is made up of personal assistants as well as college aids, student tutors, and work-study students. With a secure and helpful atmosphere, the WC employees are known to help encourage students to explore different technological and human resources, and in turn incorporate them into their writing.
The Rose Tehan Memorial Writing Center is dedicated to Rose Tehan, an English professor at SCCC who unfortunately passed away due to cancer when she was quite young. The WC was then launched in the late 80’s in Professor Tehan’s honor, with her picture hanging on the wall above the sign-in desk.
Dr. William Burns, an English professor at SCCC and the coordinator of the WC, had much to say about the center and was very passionate when discussing the success it’s gained in recent years. As the coordinator, Dr. Burns supervises all the tutors, hires and trains new staff, deals with all necessary paperwork such as budgets and schedules, advertise the WC throughout campus and to SCCC students and departments, keep track of students using the WC, maintain the computers, assist in tutoring, and help out with the sign-in desk when needed. He also reports to the college dean and administration to discuss the funding and necessary needs of the WC. When asked about the growing success of the WC, Dr. Burns seemed nothing short of satisfied.
“I definitely have seen an increase in students coming to the WC over the past 4 years.” Says Dr. Burns. “Last semester we had over 7,000 visits! We have many ‘repeat customers’ who keep coming back because of the positive results they have gotten. I’ve also heard feedback from a lot of professors, saying their students’ writing has improved significantly and they are very thankful for all of the work that we do here.”
Although the WC is actively promoted throughout campus, is the message really getting across to everyone? When three SCCC students of different majors were asked this question, each response was quite different. Jimmy, a music major at SCCC, knew the writing center existed but never used it. “I’m a music major, so most of my classes aren’t anywhere near the Islip Arts building where the WC is located. I do get assigned a lot of essays though, so I would definitely like to get better grades on them. It’s just a haul to walk across campus in this cold weather to get my paper reviewed and fixed. I should probably just stop being lazy.” Jimmy said.
Another student, Hillary, majoring in liberal arts stated that she had “no clue the writing center even existed”. She also explained how since many of her classes don’t deal with creative writing and essays, her professors never even recommended it. She does admit, however, that if she were informed of its availability and benefits she would certainly use it to her advantage. “I don’t write many essays but for ones that I do, like western civilization or sociology, the writing center would definitely help me out since essays aren’t my strong point. I’m more of a math person” Said Hillary.
Ashley, a journalism and communications major at SCCC, explained she goes to the writing center frequently to help her become a better potential journalist.
“Journalism is my major and I plan to transfer to a four-year college and get a BA in it. Since I know I’m going to be writing in the long run, I want to get the most help I can to improve myself. The WC helps me a lot with each of my papers and I have seen myself improve when writing essays. I often find myself stopping mid-sentence and thinking, ‘oh, right! They taught me to not use that word as often. Let me fix that.’ It really does help.” Said Ashley.
Along with providing extensive assistance to any students willing to receive it, the tutors and aids in the WC are known to be knowledgeable, friendly, and show concern and care for the students and their writing. Along with helping others, there are also employment opportunities for students interested. Although there is a limited amount of student tutor positions, it is open to those who have gotten a B+ or better in their English classes. Currently this semester, there are four student tutors working at the WC that bring much enthusiasm, new ideas, techniques, and tutoring skills to the establishment.
The Writing Center is located in Room 101 of the Islip Arts building on the SCCC Ammerman Campus and operates Monday through Thursday, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm and Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.