Introducing the Writer’s Forge
This fall, Signum University is debuting a new service to our community: a writing lab dubbed The Writer’s Forge. This program will pair students with faculty tutors to provide constructive critique on academic writings.
In creating this program, Signum aims to provide access to affordable tutoring for current MA students, auditors, and community members at large. Most schools bundle the cost of this type of service in tuition charges, but Signum will follow a different model. As program coordinator Wesley Schantz explains, “In most schools, students are charged up front for student services like tutoring; here at Signum we’ll offer tutoring to students on an as-need basis. Making use of the service will be the student’s choice, though preceptors may make gentle recommendations.” Offering tutoring as an elective service, with a cost of $25 per half hour, enables Signum to continue keeping tuition as low as possible for everyone.
Tutoring sessions will take place over video chats facilitated by Student Support. When a writer expresses interest, Student Support will set them up with a faculty tutor and provide any other needed administrative help. During appointments, student and tutor can talk face to face via the video chat, and also use Google Docs to view and edit a document together in real time. This format places an emphasis on interaction and constructive discussion. “The exciting part of this is how flexible our one-on-one help will be,” Schantz says. The student and faculty member can together determine exactly what to work on to meet each individual’s needs.
Of course, current students do already benefit from preceptor feedback on writings for specific courses. Some people, however, may desire more in-depth training. The Writer’s Forge has the ability to address fundamental writing skills, without being limited to the scope of one course. Tutors will guide students in various areas of the craft of writing, from academic standards and citations, to logic, organization, and syntax. Schantz hopes that this guidance will make writing “a little less intimidating” and build students’ confidence in their abilities. Like a metalworker’s forge, which transforms raw materials into useful and even handsome tools, The Writer’s Forge will help writers hone their pens (or, perhaps more likely, word processors) into proficient instruments, enabling them to communicate ideas with clarity and beauty.