Hampton University

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Tutors Help Students "Do it the Write Way"

Thanks to the Writing Across the Curriculum initiative, Hampton University students will encounter writing assignments in the majority of their courses. Luckily, there are a group of students who are especially talented writers and are willing to share their special powers with their fellow students.

In the Writing Technology Laboratory (Writing Lab), student tutors offer free support for student writers. The tutors have a variety of majors and are trained and prepared to help students with many different writing assignments and styles.

Bryan Herek, an assistant professor in the Department of English, is the director of the Writing Lab and is responsible for hiring the tutors. “I generally look for strong sophomores or juniors that are good writers. I receive recommendations from professors and current tutors, and then there is an interview process,” he said.

The Writing Lab receives between 10,000 and 12,000 visits a year from a variety of students in different fields. For some of the students, English is a second language. Others are enrolled in English 101 and 102 classes and heard about the service from their professors. The majority of the Writing Lab’s business is repeat business from students who enjoyed working with the tutors.

English major Azania Jenkins is one of the lead tutors. In addition to helping students with their assignments, she helps with paperwork, payroll, filing and requisitions. “I want to be a teacher,” she said. “I’ve always helped people with their papers. It’s something that I’ve done naturally. When I was a freshman, I helped people in my dorm.”

Jenkins has been a tutor for three years. She sees a lot of the same students every week and said that they don’t have trouble taking direction from their peers. “They tend to trust our judgment. A lot of the students don’t have a lot of writing experience or really need help pulling their grades up. Sometimes graduate students are a little hesitant; but for the most part, they trust us,” Jenkins said.

“It was really helpful,” said Christopher Harts, a freshman English major who has visited the Writing Lab. “They helped my revise my paper and encouraged me to do more within my major. One guy even gave me information to come to his church. It was a really welcoming atmosphere.”

Students visit the Lab not only for help with their writing, but also to take advantage of the computer and printing services. Student technicians are also on staff to make sure the computers are updated and working. Herek says the Lab plans to update its computers next year.

The tutors don’t just proofread and edit assignments; they help students develop stronger papers. To get the most out of your Writing Lab experience, Herek suggests following this simple checklist before enlisting the help of the tutors:

  • Bring a detailed assignment sheet
  • If you’ve already written the assignment, bring it; if not, bring your notes and other materials
  • Develop questions that you want answered about your paper such as:
    Is my thesis strong? Did I support my argument?

Following this checklist will make the tutoring session easier and more helpful. The Writing Lab is located in Armstrong Hall in room 240 and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. On Fridays, the Lab is open from 9 a.m. until noon. The tutors accept advance appointments and walk-ins.

-Krystan Hitchcock