In UAB’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), one of the areas identified as needing improvement is student communication skills. Writing, in particular, is essential to success in university-level courses and the working world.
|Rita Treutel, left, interim director of the English Resource Center (ERC), and Nichole Griffith, far right, an English instructor, work with students on their writing. Services at the ERC are available to students across campus regardless of the course or major in which a student is enrolled. |
UAB’s goal is to provide its students high-quality instruction in this area, says Rita Treutel, interim director of the English Resource Center (ERC), which provides students additional guidance in improving their reading and writing skills.
“I want people to know this resource, the ERC, is here,” Treutel says. “The QEP directs us to improve student writing at UAB. People don’t know that we have the ERC already in place, and it can address many of the concerns that have been expressed.”
While the ERC is affiliated with the English Department, its services are available to all students – and the benefits, Treutel says, are easy to see.
“Faculty across this institution have identified instances in which their students’ writing is not where it needs to be, but they don’t always have the resources to help the students. We do,” Treutel says. “We have the resources, the training and the facility to work with students.”
Students can call the ERC to set up one-time or standing appointments to meet with a tutor, or they can visit without an appointment during drop-in hours and receive help.
Resources also are available to professors who would like to refer students for appointments or receive information about strategies to help improve student reading and writing. Professors can arrange for a student or group of students to receive tutoring by contacting Treutel.
Tutors also are available to meet with professors to review assignments before they are assigned to the students. This enables the tutors to have a clear understanding of the assignment, thus enabling them to better aid students.
The ERC can help students with writing not directly tied to coursework, too. Tutors are available to help formulate resumes and cover letters for students applying for graduate school or a job.
“We can help with creative assignments and reading-comprehension strategies,” Treutel says. “We do a lot more than people might think when they hear English Resource Center. It’s about interacting with reading and writing at the university level. It’s not just about putting commas in the right place. It’s about how you develop a thesis statement, how you organize your thoughts, how you generate topics. It’s about strategies to help students read and write more effectively.”
Treutel stresses that the ERC is not a proofreading service. Tutors work with the student on an assignment to help them generate and organize their ideas.
“We will not proof a paper, but we will read a paper and identify where there are patterns of errors and work with the student to develop strategies to catch and eliminate those errors,” she says. “We teach students proofreading strategies they can use for any of the writing occasions they may encounter as students at UAB.”
The ERC is located in Humanities Building Room 224. For more information, stop by the ERC, call 934-8118 or visit www.uab.edu/english/resources/index.html.