FSU's Reading-Writing Center and Digital Studio earn national certification for supporting students

By Savannah Tindall

Florida State University’s Reading-Writing Center (RWC) and Digital Studio (DS) have been providing support for FSU undergraduate and graduate students for longer than a decade.

Now, even though the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has closed down the university campus, RWC tutors and DS consultants continue to meet the needs of students by helping them with their class assignments and projects. The RWC and DS are available for online tutoring during the same hours they offered in the Williams, Strozier, and Johnston Building locations before the shutdown.

This dedication and commitment to students does not go overlooked. Recently, the Southeastern Writing Center Association (SWCA) certified the RWC and DS for their outstanding work, giving staff and tutors the recognition they deserve. The initiative to grant certification is new, offered only in the past couple of years.

“The certification process is a chance for writing centers to compile materials about the work they do, the students they work with, and what they think their values are,” says Kamila Albert, who was the coordinator of FSU’s committee that organized the application effort. “We put [everything] in an application and submitted it to the SWCA certification committee, which is like the organization’s executive board. They review those materials and then they give us feedback and they let us know if we have been approved.”

Albert stresses that the process was a team effort. She and other graduate students, including Amanda May, Sidney Turner, Noah Patterson, Katherine Kelly, Gabriela Diaz, and Amanda Presswood, worked on the application.

“Sidney Turner, Katherine Kelly and I were all at the Southeastern Writing Center Certification Conference last year when we found out about the [certification] opportunity,” says Noah Patterson, who is a DS consultant. “We heard that not a ton of schools from Florida had really been recognized by the association yet, so we had a meeting with other Florida writing centers at the conference and then brought back the information to our center. Slowly, we started sharing our intentions to get certified with other graduate student administrators.”

The committee started in April 2019 with the application, which took time to complete as compiling the necessary material was a meticulous process. Some of the materials included syllabi from the undergraduate peer tutoring course, research projects, and outreach documents.

The graduate student team found out in December 2019 that the RWC-DS had earned the certification.

Not only was the application itself a lengthy affair, but the RWC director at the time, Dr. Stephen McElroy, was transitioning out of his job. The team of graduate students did not let this discourage them, however, and together over the course of six months they compiled the application, which, in the end, totaled over 100 pages.

“We wanted to make this application kind of a sustainability packet so the student administrators and the RWC-DS administrators that are going to take over can see what we have done and what we hope to do in the future,” Albert says.

The SWCA recognized the FSU RWC-DS during an awards ceremony at its February 2020 conference in Birmingham, Alabama, where four team members were in attendance to accept the certification award.

With this new certification, the RWC and DS are getting the acknowledgment they deserve, and hopefully, Albert says, students gain more exposure to this campus resource.

“The RWC and DS is a truly wonderful place,” Albert says, with a smile. “We have people who are committed to this work and are really here to help and to offer support to the FSU community however we can, whether it be through revising papers or creating digital projects. Come visit us.”

Students are encouraged to make online appointments to speak with RWC tutors and DS consultants. You can make an online appointment with the RWC and DS here: fsu.mywconline.com.

Savannah Tindall is a junior double majoring in English, with a concentration in editing, writing, and media, and public relations.