The Writing Center is currently undergoing a thorough self-evaluation process. We are tabling in dining halls and common spaces to survey students who have never used us. We want to know how writing gets done, who gets consulted, and how we can be of better use to our student body. To poll our users (anyone in our database), we will be sending out surveys to investigate if we’re really truly meeting the needs of the writers who DO use us.
These are steps in our process of generating a mission statement, a cumulative couple of sentences that capture the work we do, why we do it, and who we do it for. As I mentioned in our last post, Graduate Student Assistant Sarah Miller has been guiding us through this process, drawing upon Peter Drucker’s 5 questions for non-profit self-evaluation. This looks like facilitated conversations among tutors that get at things like: Who is our customer? Who are our stakeholders? What are our results?
I have gotten to be a participant in these conversations, and one of the things that comes up again and again is that the “customer” of the Writing Center is not just the writer who comes in, anxious or stumped with a paper topic. It’s also us, the tutors, who are often getting just as much from each session.
As a part of this greater process of self-evaluation and self-reflection, Sarah had the staff respond to some prompts: “Something challenging about working in the Writing Center is…” and “In my time as tutor I hope to…”
Below, the responses to the prompt: “Something I like about working in the Writing Center is…” You’ll see from these little pink post-its that our job is an affective one, and many of the responses have something to do with confidence and helping writers feel a little bit better. The idea behind sharing these here is to make visible the work that goes into tutoring, and also to highlight how much our tutors value each other, the community and the space we’re working to build to make things just a little bit easier on each other.