How can the Writing Center and Reference Services work together to increase collaboration?
How useful are collaborative efforts like ours to students and the university at large?
Please feel free to post comments below!
This page is dedicated to the collaborative efforts of the Writing Center and Reference Team, and to the experience of merging these two resources.
Below, you can see a slideshow of Emory's Integrated Service Desk, which includes a new satellite location for the writing center. This new location at the merged desk is a demonstration of the benefits this partnership is able to create.
Please explore the work we have done so far, and feel free to contact us with any questions, comments, or thoughts you may have.
In the Spring of 2010, we noticed that students were not receiving a fully supportive experience with their research work. They could go to our reference team for research questions, or the Writing Center for argumentative and stylistic work. However, these support systems for the research writing process were kept separate, staffed by different individuals with different training. We determined this lack of integration was actually doing the students a disservice. In Fall 2010, we piloted a program through two library positions to better link these two university resources.
We started these collaborative efforts from the ground up by cross-training each team. We taught the Writing Center tutors research strategies, as well as where to direct students with more in depth-research questions. We found even the tutors benefited from this process, many of them not realizing the incredible research support team that was just across the quad. We have also encouraged synergy and collaboration between the two teams, holding meet-and-greets between the tutors and library staff. We also brought the Writing Center to the library, setting up a satellite location staffed by a library employee also trained in writing skills. This satellite location is next to the main reference desk, making it easy for students to segue from ellipses to EUCLID—and reminding them that both elements are a necessary part of the process.
We can already see the positive impact of this collaboration. We find that students have a more holistic support team. Writing labs are now standard at most colleges, but integrating the writing support with research fundamentals has been an untapped avenue. We find that students now know where to go for assistance at any point in the research and writing process. In fact, we find that even our employees are better equipped to help students through the collaborative training.
We are continuing these efforts today and are exploring new ways to expand the program. Please view our other pages for more detailed information on what we've accomplished and what we're currently working on.