The role of the Writing Center at the University of Rhode Island is to help students feel empowered and find confidence in their written work.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the Writing Center is that it is a resource strictly for students majoring in certain disciplines that are heavily influenced by writing. However, it is a place for students of all disciplines to receive help with all types of writing assignments at any stage of the process. Writing Center consultants can help with brainstorming, developing ideas, proofreading your work and everything else in between. Writing Center Director Heather Price’s job is to help oversee this process and streamline the efforts.
“You don’t have to be a ‘bad’ writer to visit the Writing Center,” Price said. “It is a place for students of all writing levels. All writers need readers.”
Price emphasized that the Writing Center can help students in a way that simply using online services, such as spelling and grammar check, can’t. Because the Writing Center is an in-person service, it allows students and writing consultants to have a conversation about styles and skills, rather than an impersonal website programmed to analyze strictly grammatical errors rather than rhetoric or purpose.
Being able to speak with real people also enforces a sense of community among students. According to Price, the Writing Center is known for its friendly and welcoming environment to all students.
Writing consultant Christina Kuy said that she had been interested in becoming a writing consultant since her first semester at URI as she had always enjoyed reviewing others writing.
“My favorite thing about being a writing consultant is making someone feel more confident in their work,” said Kuy.
This sense of community and positivity within the Writing Center is the source of Price’s passion for the University program.
The staff of writing consultants at the Writing Center have a close connection to one another, according to Price. To become a writing consultant, students must take WRT 353, a class taught by Price titled Issues and Methods in Writing Consultancy.
The students who work as writing consultants are similar to the students making appointments with them, as they are constantly working to improve their own work, often meeting with each other one-on-one to get help with their assignments.
Price moved to Rhode Island at the age of 10 and went on to attend Loyola Maryland University and receive a degree in writing and psychology. After that, she attended John Hopkins University and received her Master of Arts in writing, and attended Ohio State University to receive her Master of Fine Arts. Price returned to Rhode Island to teach creative writing and writing studies at Roger Williams University and run the Writing Center at Bryant University before she joined the URI community eight years ago.
Price has been the head of the Writing Center for four of the eight years she’s been at URI and is dedicated to this work. The Center’s role in giving students a free service to not only improve their writing skills and receive help with assignments, but also to give students a place to engage in casual conversation, according to Price.
“The Writing Center is important to me because it combines all things important,” Price said. “It makes students feel empowered as they get to choose what they want to work on.”
All students are welcome to and encouraged to use the Writing Center as a resource for their classes. It is best and useful to come with questions and your assignment
To schedule an appointment anywhere from 25-50 minutes long, you can visit the URI website’s Academic Enhancement page. For those interested in working at the Writing Center, more information on the four credit writing class needed to become a writing consultant, as well as how to formally apply for the position, can be found on their webpage.