NAU's writing commons expands to south campus

Illustration by Diana Ortega

The University Writing Commons (UWC) has expanded this semester to include a south campus location. This new location is housed in the South Academic Success Center. The program has also made a few more changes this year to better assist students with their writing.

According to the UWC website, the program offers assistance with writing for all classes. Students can set up an appointment in person at one of the UWC's seven locations, or through its website for an online appointment.

These locations include Cline Library, the Kaibab room in the University Union Fieldhouse, the Health and Learning Center and starting this semester, the South Academic Success Center.

In addition to these locations, services are also provided in Sechrist, Allen and Tinsley halls. Online appointments are available for online students and those attending campuses statewide.

Both graduate and undergraduate students can receive writing assistance through UWC. Prior to this year, there were no locations on the south campus, meaning students had to commute to one of the north campus locations.

Interdisciplinary Writing Program director Alana Kuhlman said the south campus UWC location will make it easier for students to receive assistance through the program.

“On south campus, there is a real need for students to be able to have more writing support,” Kuhlman said. “We’ve even partnered with a few departments on south campus.”

By working directly with south campus departments, the UWC developed a writing ambassador program to help students in specific courses. This collaboration is run through the Interdisciplinary Writing Program, which also oversees the UWC.

“We have a writing ambassador program where we have a writing assistant placed within a course to provide enhanced writing support for students in that course,” Kuhlman said. "That makes it super easy for students in that course to come and visit the writing ambassador that is placed in their location.”

Access to these writing ambassadors is another way the UWC has expanded to offer more services to south campus students. The program offers writing help in all subjects like math, science, English and more.

UWC coordinator Andie Francis said many students do not know the program offers assistance in subjects that are not writing based.

“Students should know that we are open for all subject matters,” Francis said. “It’s not just your English class that you would need help with. It might be a math or science class where you have a writing assignment."

As the UWC services all subjects, there are multiple ways a student can get assistance with their writing through the program.

For those who may need more in-depth or long-term assistance, there is an English 100 class that allows students to meet with a writing assistant weekly. Alternatively, students who may need help with a specific assignment can simply arrange an appointment, Francis said.

“Students can take an English 100 class and get a weekly appointment with a writing assistant where they would come in for 15 minutes to get help with any writing assignments they have in all disciples,” Francis said.

Drop-in hours or appointments could be a better option for those who occasionally need help with writing assignments or who aren't enrolled in English 100.

“If they aren’t enrolled in the English 100 they can make an appointment or attend our drop-in hours,” Francis said.

Student assistants, writing assistants and graduate teaching assistants work throughout all UWC locations to offer help at different levels.

Junior Samantha Marter, an English major and student writing assistant, said along with the south campus location, the program has other new resources this year.

“We recently started with online appointments through Blackboard Collaborate, so students on our satellite campuses can come get help with writing that way,” Marter said.

With multiple ways to get assistance and the addition of a south campus location, the UWC can be a convenient writing resource for NAU students. To book an in-person appointment, students can use the UWC scheduler.