The UNO Writing Center – Featured Writing Center

The UNO Writing Center

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)

Omaha, Nebraska

Describe your institutional context.

UNO is Nebraska’s metropolitan state university with more than 15,000 students enrolled in over 200 programs of study. Our writing center features five locations across the UNO and University of Nebraska Medical Center campuses as well as online consultation options.

What are your hours during the academic year?

Hours vary depending on writing center location but generally, the UNO Writing Center is open and ready to assist students from 9:00AM to 8:00PM Monday-Thursday, 9:00 AM to noon on Fridays, and Sundays from 1:00PM to 4:00PM.

Tell us about how your writing center is staffed.

Our staff consists of undergraduate, graduate, and graduate teaching assistant consultants from a variety of educational and experiential backgrounds. One aspect that makes our writing center unique is that we also have four office assistants who manage the online scheduling system and play a critical role in our daily operations and event organization planning.

Tell us how your tutors are trained.

Building relationships is an important pillar of the UNO Writing Center, so from new hire decisions to consultant and office assistant trainings, our staff takes a hands on and inclusive role in acquainting new staff members to writing center policies and expectations. Formal training takes place at the beginning of each semester involving all members of the staff, but to continue improving our commitment to successful tutoring outcomes, we also host weekly meetings geared toward staff bonding and professional development. The UNO Writing Center has every new employee complete a new consultant practicum and consultant mentorship program.

Each of our staff members belongs to at least one task force dedicated to specialized areas of writing center development including committees on community outreach, celebration and staff inclusion, hiring, and conference and publication resources. Our task forces encourage innovation and improvement while allowing consultants and office assistants to work together on writing center projects, staff development, and gain experience in leadership and organizational roles.

Tell us about the writers you work with.

Our writing center assists students at all stages of the writing process from brainstorming to final editing. We believe that all writers, whether experienced or new to academic writing, can benefit from peer feedback on writing projects. The primary goal of our writing center is to help writers learn effective strategies to become more confident and independent writers. We proudly welcome students from all university levels including second language learners, undergraduates, masters and PhD students, as well as non-traditional university students. In one shift, a consultant might have one appointment helping an undergraduate read and understand an assignment, help a non-traditional student just returning back to the university system apply for a scholarship,or help a graduate student polish the final draft of a dissertation. We value the student diversity and cross-disciplinary genres that enter into our writing center!

Tell us about some programs and/or collaborations your writing center participates in.

The UNO Writing Center strives to make its services known university wide, so our writing center hosts information orientations that faculty and instructors can utilize in order to acquaint students with our various resources. Another collaboration that has recently been developed is the annual Long Night Against Procrastination (LNAP) event which is completely organized by the UNO Writing Center staff. This event takes place each semester and encourages students across the university to spend an evening at our writing center working productively on their course projects. During this event, our writing center extends consultation hours for late night appointments, encourages healthy and mindful study habits, and opens our doors to students in need of a quiet study area. Since our first LNAP event during the spring of 2017, this event has continued to grow with participation totalling over 80 university students. Finally, The UNO Writing Center recently pioneered a new community literacy and outreach program partnering with Omaha Public School’s Blackburn Alternative High School. This program involves writing center staff who work with at-risk high school students to foster relationships and support systems as well as develop writing skills.

Tell us two additional things you’d like people to know about your writing center.

The UNO Writing Center Director, Travis Adams, and Associate Director, Kathy Radosta, work tirelessly to foster an environment where student leadership is at the forefront of all writing center development and outreach activities. For example, senior consultants have opportunities to lead weekly staff and development meetings, the Blackburn community literacy project was pioneered by a graduate teaching assistant consultant, and the LNAP events are organized entirely by writing center office assistants and made possible by writing center staff members volunteering to work extra late night hours.

Alongside various trainings, The UNO Writing Center also offers the The Advanced TESOL Practicum designed for consultants who want further collaborative engagement with the current literature, pedagogies, and practices that surround working with writers whose language of nurture is not English. This specialized training aims at moving beyond the introduction that is offered in the new consultant practicum and provides a space for writing center consultants to consider what they have learned and observed working with clients across the language spectrum.

Whom should I contact if I want to know more about this writing center?

Director, Dr. Travis Adams tadams@unomaha.edu