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!!!!
Scott Pound wrote:
> Hello List Members,
> I'm conducting research for a proposed writing centre at Lakehead University
> 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 is
> currently being studied). Enrolment at Lakehead is close to 7000.
> I'll be considering everything from optimal square footage, floorplan, room
> 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.
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