Students, staff and faculty seeking to reach new heights of achievement have a strong ally in the AUS Center for Teaching and Learning which houses programs for academic support, writing and faculty development. By offering courses in areas such as media writing and hand-made book binding as well as academically driven classes such as Inquiry and Research, the center unifies writing instruction for all AUS students. It also provides an expanded suite of cross-curricular services including online resources at the AUS website, a free academic support lab and faculty development workshops.
At the helm of the initiative is Anne Maxham, Ph.D. Previously a core faculty member in Education, she has been an advocate of writing support since she came to AUS in 2000.
“Writing is a hallmark of an Antioch University education,” says Maxham. “The new Center brings writing to the forefront of the entire AUS community with offerings for the students, the faculty and the staff that are grounded in a responsive and sound approach to academic study.”
For those seeking live assistance, the AUS Center also hosts the Academic Support Lab. Coordinated by Brandy Parris, Ph.D., the lab provides free, one-on-one and group consultations that are available in either half-hour or one hour segments. Support is available across a wide variety of topics such as math, test taking preparation for School of Education students taking the Teacher Certification Exams (West-B and West-E), grammar, English Language Learning (ELL) and APA Style guidelines.
Parris leads a ASL staff of six graduate assistants who have provided more than 700 hours of student assistance in the last year using a peer-collaborative writing support model where graduate students from across university programs help other AUS writers. While the ASL staff doesn’t compose, proofread, correct or edit student work, they do help students to analyze their writing and build upon their strengths. Students generally find the sessions to be highly interactive and self-empowering.
Faculty development support is now centralized through the Center and has already begun collecting materials for a professional library as well as hosted several workshops on pedagogy and writing. There are also new faculty brown-bag series to orient new faculty as well as workshops and quarterly faculty forums on issues relevant to teaching. This summer’s Faculty Forum will host a guest speaker to lead faculty in a conversation on plagiarism and, in the fall, the center will begin a new series of “Teaching Tuesdays” in which AUS faculty will showcase their successes in the classroom.
Though the Center serves all members of AUS, Maxham sees it as being acutely aware of student and faculty needs. She is also taking the lead in developing the future Antioch University Virtual Writing Center that will provide both synchronous and asynchronous composition support for students across the multi-campus university. These online assets will include standard pages as well as multi-media tutorials such as podcasts.
But Maxham is not done yet. “The program is continually evolving and responding to the needs of Antioch Seattle’s students and faculty. That’s part of what makes the Center so unique.”