My only advice is dream bigger. We had a space that was great 6 years
ago, with three offices for the full-time faculty as well as a tutor's
office and a meeting space (and a common area shared with the math
tutoring office). It seemed brilliant at the time.
We managed to snag one more office as the staff grew, but we now are
spread out in three different spaces with 5 full-time people and a
slew of contract and TA people. Our writing centre has lost it's sense
of "hub". We don't have a receptionist, but need one, yet have nowhere
to put him/her.
Engineering Communication Program
University of Toronto
Quoting Roger Graves <[log in to unmask]>:
> I think Theresa has described the major components that you would need
> to account for in any layout:
> reception area, reference area, tutoring spaces/tables, office for the
> I'd reinforce the importance of a water cooler/kettle area for tutors
> to get a cup of tea between sessions; if budgets allow, it would be
> nice to extend this to the students who come by for tutoring. This only
> needs to be about 3 feet along a wall somewhere.
> I'd also like to emphasize the attention to making the space
> inviting--Theresa's done it with plants and couches; we added some
> posters as well. We also added a couch for students who arrive early or
> are hoping for a drop-in session to open up. So you'll want to account
> for the ambience of the space in your layout designs--perhaps by
> requesting glass walls on the front wall to allow light to pass into
> the interior.
> One thing to consider--a small cubicle/office for online tutoring
> sessions. When we have had 7 sessions going on at once in our space the
> noise was quite pronounced, but even a couple of sessions make it hard
> for a tutor working online with a client to screen out background noise.
> Roger Graves
> Director, WAC and Acting Director, Centre for Writers
> [log in to unmask]
> On Nov 29, 2008, at 6:19 AM, Scott Pound wrote:
>> Dear Theresa,
>> Thanks so much for this. It's very helpful to me.
>> On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 12:23 PM, Dr. Theresa Hyland
>> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>> I work at Huron University College which is a small liberal arts college
>>> attached to the University of Western Ontario. After having put up with a
>>> "shared space' which was sometimes a writing centre and at other times a
>>> conference meeting room , we have just moved into a new dedicated Writing
>>> Skills Centre space. It is wonderful! We now have an administrative
>>> assistant who is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every day.
>>> She keeps
>>> track of our appointments and our waiting list. My office is a windowed
>>> room at the back of the writing centre space. These windows have blinds
>>> which can be closed if I need privacy. In the Writing Centre, we have
>>> windows all along one wall, which we have filled with flowering plants. We
>>> have two round tables for student appointments, which are divided with a
>>> space divider, and a waiting area with two couches. We also have an area
>>> where students and tutors can sit at our two PC's and work on their essays
>>> or go online to check reference materials. Finally, we have bookshelves
>>> filled with reference books and handouts, and a table with coffee/
>>> tea going
>>> all the time. The results? Our tutors are happy, and our writing centre
>>> appointments are almost always completely booked. While we were always
>>> pretty busy before, there were times of the year when the tutors and I were
>>> pretty lonely. This was partly because our Writing Centre was a moveable
>>> feast, partly because the room was not built to house a writing centre and
>>> partly because it was often filled with equipment that had nothing to do
>>> with writing, but also because we often didn't have anyone around to book
>>> appointments for us. Now, students who drop into the centre always have
>>> someone to greet them (me when the other tutors are gone). Moreover, they
>>> just have to pop next door to make an appointment.
>>> So, I would add some things to Emmy's list of requirements: (1) make sure
>>> that you have some administrative support close by to make appointments for
>>> you (2) Make sure you do plan for growth as Emmy says. The only thing that
>>> I would change if I could, is to have three round tables for appointments
>>> instead of two --- I often have to take appointments in my office
>>> because we
>>> are so crowded out in the Writing Centre space! If you build it ----- they
>>> will come, and if you build it right ----- they will come in droves!!!!
>>> Theresa Hyland.
>>> Scott Pound wrote:
>>>> Hello List Members,
>>>> I'm conducting research for a proposed writing centre at Lakehead
>>>> and am eager to hear from writing centre professionals who have info/ideas
>>>> about the optimal spatial layout for writing centres. It's a topic that
>>>> doesn't come up a lot in the literature.
>>>> The writing centre at Lakehead will be located on the first floor of the
>>>> main library, possibly (probably) within a Learning Commons (that option
>>>> currently being studied). Enrolment at Lakehead is close to 7000.
>>>> I'll be considering everything from optimal square footage, floorplan,
>>>> shape, types and shape of tables, relationship to larger spaces (such as a
>>>> learning commons), and anything else that seems relevant.
>>>> Scholarly leads on the topic are most welcome too.
>>>> Many thanks in advance.
>>> To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
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>> Scott Pound
>> Associate Professor
>> Department of English
>> Lakehead University
>> 955 Oliver Road
>> Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1
>> [log in to unmask]
>> To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
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> To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
> [log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
> write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
> For the list archives and information about the organization,
> its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to
To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
[log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
For the list archives and information about the organization,
its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to