By Lauren Toole
In the past, many faculty members have felt Kenyon lacked inter-departmental discussions about teaching, according to Center for Innovative Pedagogy (CIP) Director Joseph Murphy. “People felt we weren’t setting aside enough time specifically for sharing expertise or concerns,” he said. “The Center is primarily designed to address that hunger to learn more about teaching and learning, at Kenyon and in the larger education community.”
The CIP is located on the first floor of Olin Library and can be reached either through Olin Auditorium or the former Olin Art Gallery. This renovated space – which was previously used for storage and for art students to observe slides – also includes the Math and Science Skills Center, Disability Services and the Writing Center.
Keeping so many resources in one area reflects the CIP’s goal of linking campus facilities to make them more accessible to students. Writing Center Director Jeanne Griggs stressed accessibility as one of the most important improvements made to the Writing Center.
“Everyone on campus wanted the Writing Center to have more visibility,” Griggs said. “Last year, everybody was talking more about writing and saying, ‘What can we do to get students aware of how much help we have for writing?'”
The traditional two-person peer-mentoring system will remain in place, but Griggs said she hopes the Writing Center will also become an environment where people can improve their writing, whether or not they need help with particular assignments. To help accomplish this goal, the Writing Center has more than doubled its hours by adding afternoon hours on weekdays.
“They can come in just when they want to write,” Griggs said. “Writing is so isolating, lonely, and if you can come and be alone together, that’s a good thing for writers.”
In addition to fostering a communal spirit among writers, the Writing Center will also be expanding its role on campus by bringing in speakers, conducting writing workshops and hosting panel discussions with the faculty.
“I think one of our jobs this year is to make people aware of what’s going on with writing in different places at Kenyon,” Griggs said. “Everyone’s writing, but there are all these little groups that don’t even know about each other, and I think that part of our job should be to be aware of all of them and be able to point [the students] to them.”
The new Writing Center will also work more directly with faculty. One way it will accomplish this goal is by offering professors the opportunity to work with writing consultants on an individual basis. These students will work as writing fellows for any classes for which professors think their students could benefit from additional writing assistance.With this faculty participation, the Writing Center is fully included in the CIP’s objectives.
“I hope the CIP will be successful in creating a venue where faculty members can come to talk and learn about teaching,” said Murphy. “I hope it will be a place where faculty members can get support for their ideas about how they’d like to teach their classes.”
The CIP will reach out to students in various ways, whether students are looking for technological help with Moodle, SPSS or Adobe Final Cut. Some of its events will be open to students, but many will be for faculty and staff only.
“I hope it will be a place where faculty members can get support for their ideas about how they’d like to teach their classes,” Murphy said.
The CIP “will help people investigate, and contribute to, the literature on teaching and learning in higher education,” Murphy said. “Beyond that … our job is really to support the faculty in pursuing the changes they want to see in their courses or the curriculum.”
Writing Center Hours
Monday-Thursday: 1:00 -5:00 p.m. and 7:00-10:00 p.m.
Friday: 1:00- 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 2:00-5:00 p.m. and 7:00-10:00 p.m.
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