Barnard's Writing Center—
A Model for HS & College Students
Barnard's Writing Fellows are leading workshops for 90 student colleagues from other colleges on the best approaches to writing and instruction during a two-day Peer Tutor Conference. Writing Fellows are the specially selected and trained Barnard undergraduates who work with their fellow students to strengthen writing in all disciplines. The fellows work with students enrolled in Barnard course at all levels and various disciplines across the curriculum and also staff the Erica Mann Jong Writing Center, named for novelist Erica Jong, a Barnard graduate. The philosophy of the program is: Writing is a process that happens in stages, in different drafts. Writing a paper may stop, for instance, when the paper is due, but a piece of writing is never really be finished. Writing is about revising and re-thinking ideas.
While offering basic grammatical and style assistance, the writing fellows enter into a dialogue with their peers about their writing, helping the writer to state his or her main argument clearly, offering suggestions on organization, evidence, complexity and clarity of thought. "A good writing program should not have one specific model of what good writing looks like," says Lecturer Pam Cobrin, director of the Barnard Writing Center.
It was this notion that inspired a meeting of 22 Writing Center Directors from colleges in the metropolitan New York area, who convened at Barnard to discuss how to maximize effective writing by students.
Cobrin believes inter-collegiate dialogues are essential to Barnard's reputation as a college devoted to excellence in writing.
Barnard expanded this commitment to writing in this winter by hosting a one-day Young Writers Institute for public high school students in New York. This pilot program involved Barnard's Writing Fellows and will expand the idea of the high school essay contest Barnard has run for the past 15 years in the public high schools.#