We greatly appreciate the support of professors across campus in promoting the Writing Center to their students. However, we have limited resources and, unfortunately, we cannot support required use of our services.
This issue is not unique to the SJSU campus -- it is a problem that many university writing centers face. We think the UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center does an excellent job of explaining why required visits can be detrimental not only to writing centers but to students as well.
- Demand for our services exceeds the supply of appointments. (This is especially true of our workshops, which have a maximum of 15 people per workshop.) When students make appointments because they are required to come in, they prevent students who voluntarily seek help from getting it. We seek to reward intellectual initiative and commitment by keeping all appointments available to those who make their own decisions to improve as writers.
- Writing Center services complement and supplement the writing instruction that takes place within courses. We do not have the staff to support individual writing instruction for all students in any single course. Our services cannot replace the writing instruction necessary in any particular course.
- Students who aren't invested don't learn well. Past experience has taught us that students who visit the Writing Center under some form of requirement are not necessarily interested in improving their writing skills. Some (not all) come expecting to stay for just a few minutes so that we will write an e-mail attesting to their appearance here. While their visits acquaint them with our services (and sometimes develop into worthwhile sessions), often these students simply fill up our appointment schedule and prevent other students from getting an appointment. Given the high demand for our services, we cannot afford to allot space to students who haven't expressed interest in their development as writers.
While we request that professors do not require students to use our services, all professors are more than welcome to encourage their students to visit the Writing Center, and we are happy to provide house calls to talk about the Writing Center to any class.
We greatly appreciate your cooperation in this matter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Thank you very much to the UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center for allowing us to quote their text and for offering their time and advice.