Portfolio prep and pizza—perfect pairing!

Writing Center Portfolio Smash! workshop set for Sept. 14

By Pulse Staff

If the idea of getting some help with your portfolio won’t get you through the Writing Center door, maybe the pizza and fidget spinners will.

According to Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center Harley Ferris, Ph.D., the Writing Center is hosting a Mid-Semester Portfolio Smash! from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14 in CBSL 135 and on Zoom.

“We always held a Mid-Semester Writing Workshop, but now we’re focusing this almost exclusively on first-year composition,” Ferris said. “(We’re) looking at that practical application of getting these papers ready for submission into their portfolios.”

Ferris says they will have a whole staff of tutors and faculty ready to help students during the event.

“We can really help at any stage,” Ferris said. Whether it’s just getting started, brainstorming and outlining or some revision, he says students can get support.

“We’re also going to have someone from ITS on hand so if there are any kinds of technical issues with creating a portfolio–we can help with that too,” Ferris said.

And they have a plan to help students relax during what might otherwise be a stressful time.

“We’re also going to have pizza, fidget spinners, stress balls, and just a general good atmosphere in here,” Ferris said.

This is Ferris’ first year as director of the writing center but he wants to continue the idea that the former director, Dr. Courtney Bates, had about the center.

“Courtney did amazing work to bring the Writing Center forward, make it more visible and really help promote the idea that the writing center is not a hospital where we send sick writers, but it’s a gymnasium where everyone can come,” Ferris said. “(Students can) work on whatever it is they need to work on, no matter what their skill level or project is.”

Dr. Ferris works with a graduate student who is a tutor at the Writing Center on campus.

Ferris says he has two graduate assistants who tutor but also help with some of the administration of the Writing Center. And he has about 20 undergraduate and graduate tutors from all different disciplines. So far this year he says they’ve seen about 300 students looking for help with their writing.

Students looking for tutoring help can set up appointments on Starfish for a 45-minute session, they can set up Zoom appointments, or asynchronous email appointments where they can email their paper to a tutor and get feedback via email.

Drop-in hours throughout the week are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. or Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. During those times anyone can walk into CBSL 135 and work with a tutor.

“I really do believe our biggest challenge is just helping students see that they’re not bad writers and their writing isn’t bad,” Ferris said. “They just need some more practice and they need to revise, and we can help with all that.”

You can find more about the plans Dr. Ferris has for the Writing Center this year here.

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