Salt Lake Community College is Utah's largest two-year college with the most diverse student body in the state. It serves nearly 30,000 students on 10 campuses and with online classes. The Online Student Writing & Reading Center is a part of the English Department in the College of Humanities and Social Science. The Online Student Writing & Reading Center offers synchronous and asynchronous writing consultations, a grammar blog (Grammar Geek), and a place for students to ask general questions about writing and language-related topics.
Institution Name: Salt Lake Community College (SLCC)
Institution Type: Public 2-year, Community College
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
OWC context: The Online Student Writing & Reading Center is a part of the English Department in the College of Humanities and Social Science
OWC website: https://www.slccswc.org
Number of Writing Center staff: 35
Types of OWC support offered: synchronous, asynchronous, blog, and writing hotline (for quick questions)
Submitter Name/Title/Contact Information: Clint Gardner, Program Manager of College Writing & Reading Centers, (Clint.Gardner@slcc.edu)
Writing Center Director Name/Title/Contact Information: Clint Gardner, Program Manager of College Writing & Reading Centers, (Clint.Gardner@slcc.edu)
Salt Lake Community College is Utah’s largest two-year college with the most diverse student body in the state. It serves nearly 30,000 students on 10 campuses and with online classes. The median age of students is 23; the non-white population is 25.3% (the largest non-white population in the Utah System of Higher Education); and the female to male ratio is 1.02:1 (SLCC Factbook). SLCC is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and credits can be transferred to 4-year colleges and universities.
The Online Student Writing & Reading Center is a “location” of the Student Writing & Reading Center which is a part of the English Department, which is, in turn, a part of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences reports directly to the Provost of Academic Affairs, who reports to the President of SLCC. The English Department “plays an integral role in the College’s mission, vision, and values to provide open-access, comprehensive education to the broader community and to encourage lifelong learning. The department supports students from a variety of backgrounds with various levels of proficiency to engage purposefully and effectively with print and digital literacies in their academic, professional, civic, and personal lives, and serves students who bring to the classroom a wealth of knowledges, languages, and life experiences” (“English Department”). SLCC’s “vision” is that it “will be a model for inclusive and transformative education, strengthening the communities we serve through the success of our students”; and its mission is that it is “your community college. We engage and support students in educational pathways leading to successful transfer and meaningful employment.” Significantly, the Student Writing & Reading Center plays into three key values of the College (About SLCC):
- “Collaboration: We believe we’re better when we work together;
- Inclusivity: We seek to cultivate and environment of respect and empathy, advanced by diverse cultures and perspectives; and
- Learning: We learn as a college by building outstanding educational experiences for students.”
The Online Student Writing & Reading Center offers synchronous and asynchronous writing consultations, a grammar blog (Grammar Geek), and a place for students to ask general questions about writing and language-related topics. We are in the process of developing online reading tutoring. Synchronous and asynchronous consultations, as well as the “quick question” feature, are offered through our “Tutorial Report System” (TSR) which is a home-developed writing center report tracking and tutoring system that we have been developing since 2005. Both modalities of consultation occur in the same system, and a consultation can move from asynchronous to synchronous seamlessly. We have offered online tutoring since 1994, when we started out as a simple email submission service.
The Online Student Writing & Reading Center is funded 60% out of our direct department budget, and 40% out of a Carl Perkins Grant from the federal government. Its funding is not differentiated from the rest of the Student Writing & Reading Center. The English Department also funds the development and maintenance of our TSR system.
The training for online consultations is integrated into our current staff training, as well as in our for-credit course. We use materials we have developed in-house, as well as a variety of essays from various sources. We also make use of the Oxford Guide for Writing Tutors.
As far as barriers go, the only real problems that we have faced over the years are outside, for-profit companies attempting to woo administrators with bids to take on tutoring for the College. Given that we’ve have online tutoring for nearly two and a half decades now, we can show a long track record, and that we do it for much more cheaply than an outside company.
“About SLCC.” SLCC, www.slcc.edu/about/mission-vision.aspx.
“English Department.” SLCC, www.slcc.edu/english/.
Gardner, Clint, et al. “TSR: SLCC Student Writing & Reading Center.” www.slccswc.org/.
“Grammar Geek.” SLCC Student Writing Center, www.slccswc.org/grammargeek/ .
Salt Lake Community College Fact Book, performance.slcc.edu/Factbook/2016-17/index.html .