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Academic Support Program Expands

Emma Regan ' 20 and Kristina Yarovinsky '18, News Editor
According to Amy An ’18, “One of the best parts about Hopkins is the supportive environment.”
Specifically, the Academic Support System has been expanding to strengthen the learning in subjects across the board.

Student-run club Peer Tutoring is adding a new branch to their program called the Learning Lab--extra help rooms for drop-in help in all subjects. Previously, Peer Tutoring matched tutors with one tutee for extra review, but this new addition
will give students a more flexible alternative. Club head Josh Ip ’18 said, “I am looking forward to seeing how extra help rooms expand Peer Tutoring in a new direction.” The most ground-breaking change in the academic support system is the addition of a Writing Center. The English Department has been working to establish a novel resource for students to learn how to express their voice.

After an extended debate over whether the Academic Honesty Policy could permit such a center, the English Department has decided to implement its plan. A group of Hopkins students, along with English Teachers Brad Ridky and Chris Jacox, have already begun the training process by attending a conference at the University of Connecticut. Head of the English Department Alissa Davis said, “The Writing Center [will] require training the staff for consistency and supervision, so that they really feel comfortable helping each other with their work. If we have a consistent belief about what makes good writing, we think it is really important to extend this layer to students.”

There will be specific rules about how much help the writing tutors can give to students; for example, the tutor cannot puts marks on the actual paper. Davis explained, “It should really be much more of a conversation that’s happening, and so that mitigates the concerns to a degree that they aren’t putting their hands all over that paper.”

The eventual goal of the Writing Center will be to become a space that is always open for students to share their pieces and receive advice. Davis said, “We really believe that writing is something that requires a process, and it’s important for our students to start having the opportunity to engage with that process, where a lot it is talking about your writing.” The Writing Center will not have a focus or cater to a specific type of writing; rather, Davis expressed her hope that students could come in with any form of writing, from creative to analytical to scientific. Tutors will be taught the aspects of a good history essay, research paper, or lab report.

For now, though, Davis said that the Writing Center is starting a bit smaller. “We are hoping that students can come in to the Writing Center at any point during their writing process,” said Davis. The Writing Center, which will be based in B309, will be ready for the start of Term 2.

Students are excited to see this change come to The Hill. Eleanor Doolittle ’20 said, “The Writing Center would be super helpful for a student who want to take their writing to the next level.” Katherine Takoudes ’20 said, “I’m really excited that the student body will have access to a space where we can go and solely focus on receiving help on written pieces. It’s helpful that any subject can be worked on, as other classes besides English cannot put as much of an emphasis on writing in their curriculums.” 
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