Seattle University Writing Center supports the SU community from all levels of writing expertise, voices, experiences, and writing practices to achieve their writing goals. The Writing Center seeks to provide an accessible, supportive, and collaborative space for learning and growth through one-on-one peer consultations.
The Seattle University Writing Center first opened in 1987, initially supervised by John Bean, then the Director of Writing, with the help of an assistant director. In 1993, Larry Nichols was hired as its first full-time Director. Each year from its inception until 2009, the Writing Center employed 17-25 undergraduate writing consultants who conducted a yearly average of 2500 one-hour sessions. In 2010, with increased undergraduate enrollment and the Writing Center's move to a new home in the Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons, demand for writing center services rose dramatically. That fall, the Center hired a half-time assistant director and increased the number of peer consultants in order to conduct roughly 3000 sessions per year.
In the fall of 2013, the Writing Center leadership changed again with the director's role becoming halftime and Jennifer Heckler being hired as a fulltime Associate Director; in 2015, the former director, Larry Nichols, retired and Jennifer Heckler became the Interim Director. Jessica Ross joined the Center as the new Associate Director. Jennifer Heckler left the Writing Center before the 2016 school year to pursue a position at Highline College. In the Fall of 2017, the Writing Center welcomed Hidy Basta as the new Director of the Writing Center and in Spring of 2018 welcomed Alexandra Smith as the new part-time Associate Director. The Center continues to grow and evolve under their leadership.
As part of a very diverse campus, each year the Center serves clients from over 35 different first languages, with non-native speakers of English comprising about one-third of its clients.
Operating from the belief that effective writing often emerges from dialogic conversation and that all writers benefit from having thoughtful feedback, the Writing Center offers hour-long sessions designed to help students negotiate all phases of the writing process. The Writing Center supports writers to improve the clarity of their writing, knowledge of the disciplinary convention, and confidence in adapting productive writing strategies. Writing consultants address writer’s concerns and questions which can include brainstorming an outline, making sure that the assignment criteria are met, working on grammar conventions, and negotiating rhetorical choices to best accomplish the writing goals. Consultants work collaboratively with clients to invite creative and critical thinking, making the Writing Center a lively space for learning—for both consultants and clients.
Additionally, working in the Center offers consultants sustained practice in the Jesuit tradition of combining engaged learning with service and social justice. In drawing their clients into conversation, listening empathically, and taking their client’s ideas seriously, consultants help create an intellectual environment that values the “whole person:” cultural and linguistic identity, voice, thoughts, and desires to contribute to sustain a just and humane world. Most consultants find the intellectual and interpersonal skills they have learned in the center to be instrumental in their professional formation.