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Center Offers Help for Writers

December 1, 2002

It's that time of the year again. As we near the end of the semester, the dreaded final papers and projects are nearing their due dates. For students who are in need of some extra help, there are resources available - as long as they don't wait until the last minute.

One of the resources available at Bentley is the Writing Center. Directed by English Professor Larry Weinstein and staffed by ten tutors from a variety of majors, the Writing Center should be one of the first stops for students struggling with papers and projects. Nearly 3,000 student conferences will take place by the end of the current academic year.

Larry warns, though, that this is not a night-before-it's-due fix. The tutorials at the Writing Center are designed to teach students how to write - rather than to fix writers' problems for them.

Tutors help students learn to be better writers by giving them a quiet room, supportive listening, honest feedback and time to talk through the problems they are having. Larry admits this is sometimes strange for first-time visitors to the center, who may expect the tutors to take their papers off their hands. So Larry has prepared a letter that is given to each new visitor to the center explaining the philosophy employed there.

"Telling other people how to revise their drafts yields little or no increase in actual writing skill," the letter reads, in part. "People grow in actual writing skill by being challenged¿ in a friendly, supportive fashion, to perform to a higher and higher standard over time."

And time is really the key factor to success in the Writing Center. Tutors may see a student once, several times during the course of a difficult assignment, or regularly throughout their years at Bentley. Sometimes tutors and clients work on the development of ideas, sometimes they work on grammar and sometimes they focus on a particular area the student is struggling with.

Tutors go through an extensive training before being assigned clients. They listen to a series of tapes and complete workbooks - prepared by Larry - on how to tutor. The tutors also meet weekly for a staff meeting to listen to tapes of sessions, role-play, hear guest lectures, complete grammar exercises and look at their own writing.

"Everyone can use help with writing," Larry explained. "Improvement doesn't happen overnight, but it definitely happens."

The Writing Center is located on the ground floor of the Baker Library. For hours, visit http://ecampus.bentley.edu/dept/en/index/research.htm.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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