About the Writing Center

History of the Writing Center

Welcome to the MU Writing Center, one division of MU's Learning Center. The Writing Center traces its origins to the general establishment of the Learning Center in August 1976. In 1977 Bonnie Zelenak, the Learning Center's former director, chose Doug Hunt to be the first coordinator of the Writing Center. When Hunt left in 1987 to establish the Campus Writing Program, Elaine Hocks became the director of the Writing Center. From the outset, the goal of the Learning Center and its Writing Center, in adherence to its Federal Student Support Services Grant (under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965), has been to increase the retention and graduation rates of program participants. In general, the mission of the Learning Center is to offer academic assistance and non-directive instruction to any undergraduate who needs to develop or polish skills essential to success in courses required for graduation.

Since the early years, the Learning Center has expanded the scope of its services to include all undergraduate students, boosting the number of students served (both non-eligible and eligible) to between 6-7,000 undergraduates annually. Currently, the Writing Center alone serves approximately 2,500 students a year, and assistants work with students from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds with varying levels of writing experience. Most of the students who visit the lab are good writers trying to learn academic discourse, but some need help with basic skills as well. Fortunately, the university's Provost's Office has recognized the Learning Center as a valuable service and has designated funds for it on an annual basis. In May 1994, Charles Schroeder, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, provided the leadership and additional funds for online tutoring. That funding launched the Online Writery, the electronic counterpart of the Writing Center. The Writing Center has expanded evening tutoring to the computer labs in Respect, Rollins (Hudson-Gillett), Mark Twain, and Center residence halls. Under the direction of Greg Foster, we have extended writing support through cyber tutorials and resources on the Online Writery, and continue to encourage a high level of computer and Internet literacy among all our writing assistants. The Writing Center was originally located in 214 of the Arts and Science Building. In the fall of 2001, the Learning Center and its Writing Center moved to the new Student Success Center located in Lowry Mall across from Ellis Library.

We hope your experience with our writing consultants will be rewarding, not only in the assistance you will receive, but also in your own grasp of writing as an on-going process. Our goal is not just to improve writing but to help writers become more competent and skilled at all forms of writing and writing technology during their undergraduate careers at the University of Missouri. Please contact me for further information or any comments about our services.

Dr. Rachel Harper
Writing Center Director
email: harperrp@missouri.edu