Pomona, Scripps writing centers expand offerings for 2019-20 academic year

A female college student speaks while looking away from the camera
Olive Maurstad PO ’20 gives essay advice at the Pomona College Writing Center Oct. 3 (Lilly Haave • The Student Life)

This past summer, both Pomona College’s and Scripps College’s writing centers expanded their services. 

Pomona’s center received a $250,000 grant to support oral and visual communication, and Scripps’ center moved to a bigger location, according to the centers’ respective directors.

The $250,000 Pomona grant came from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, according to Stephanie Liu-Rojas, the writing program coordinator. 

The center’s new speaking partner program, funded by this grant, allows students to work with tutors specialized in oral communication to help them learn how to convey their ideas effectively to their peers during brainstorm sessions, class discussions, presentations and essays, according to Liu-Rojas.

“The thing about communication is that it is not only writing, but it is also speaking, listening and reading,” she said. “… There are a lot of students that are listening in the class discussion (and that is a form of participation) but they might not interject into the conversation.”

The speaking partners will address this by working with the students to “discuss ways and ideas of how people can interject into those conversations when they want to, especially if they are actively listening,” Liu-Rojas said.

Claire LeBlanc PO ’23 said she’s excited by the new programming.

“Class presentations always make me really nervous, so I am really excited about this new resource,” she said.

Scripps’ center moved to a new location in the Clark Humanities Museum — a space almost four times the size of the old one, according to Glenn Simshaw, the writing center’s director.

The original room only housed three small tables, Simshaw said, allowing only a small number of students to access the center’s resources at once. 

Their revamped workspace has allowed them to offer a variety of additional resources. With this improvement, Scripps also holds its traditional Core Night there instead of in classrooms, according to Simshaw.

Core Night helps students write papers for Core I, a required class for all Scripps first-years. 

“In the past, we would have lines outside the writing center, and we could fit only about three sessions in the writing center at a time,” he said. 

With this new space, “we have a waiting area in the writing center, and we can conduct up to a dozen sessions (one-on-one) at a time,” he added.

The revamped atmosphere has a “focused but casual atmosphere” where students can ask tutors if they have a quick question and work on the couch, Simshaw said. 

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