Friday, March 28, 2014

Photo Friday!

Well, a couple of weeks have gone by and you've been deprived from a Photo Friday. My deepest apologies. I'm sure you have been going through withdrawals and just begging to get your next photo fix. Today is the day.

Missing Photo Friday is almost as horrible as missing your daily coffee. Fear not! Grab one of our crazy number of mugs and fill up for the day. You'll need an extra mug or two to kick off your weekend. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Furniture Feature: Coffee Edition

With Dr. Bob in his office this morning, I knew I was in for a good story for this week's furniture feature.

Dr. Bob came out of his office, looked around and said, "Do you want to know the story behind our coffee grinder?"

I nodded. Of course I wanted to hear the story.

Dr. Bob went on to explain that we got this grinder as a donation from a former Coe student. This Bunn grinder was first used to help grind down animal food.

Say what?

I know, when I first heard, I was a little terrified. The coffee beans that I drink are being put through a grinder first used for animal food? But never fear, Dr. Bob continued his story.

The Coe alum had originally wanted to donate it to the Chemistry department. At the time, the Chemistry department was apparently "hooked on the Writing Center coffee" and instead, passed it onto us.

Before any coffee beans were roasted, it went through an intense cleaning and sanitizing process. Dr. Bob cleaned it all, removing all past grinding experiences, except for the motor. It was difficult (no surprise there) so Dr. Bob walked down the street to Davis Auto. He asked the owner if he could use the air compressor to clean the motor. The owner agreed and apparently a large dust of past grinding flew into the air.

The cleaning process complete, the grinder was deemed safe for use and since then, has found a home in the Writing Center grinding coffee on a daily basis. One of the first things you learn as a new consultant is how to make coffee and how to yell our equivalent of golf's "fore!'


Also, we got a pretty sweet deal. This coffee grinder usually goes for about $850 nowadays. Wow.

And there you have it. See you next week!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Deidre's Doodle #9

It's almost April, so I'm of hoping to see more of these (they're umbrellas) and less snow on the quad. I never thought there would be snow on the quad the last week of March. Here's to rain!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Driver's License? Wrong Side of Road.

Hello. It's Tuesday, which in Spanish is martes. Just for your general knowledge.

Tuesday also means TOPICS TUESDAY, this fantastic time where I get to express excitement about tacos (served in the Coe College cafeteria) and about Topics in Composition, our staff development course.

In our staff meeting last night, one of the groups from the Tybee Island topics group did a workshop for the entire center. (You can read more about our Tybee trip here). This workshop centered around conciseness -- making a million thoughts into a few words.

I'll admit, I've always had a bit of a hard time with brevity. I like my words and thoughts to flow together, and I often would rather risk over-explaining myself than being unclear. I learned through this workshop, as Dr. Bob said, that the first draft is for the writer and the final draft for the reader. The first draft is my time to make everything sound good and flow well; the final draft is what gets the point across in the most interesting, concise way possible.

The workshop leaders had us condense an embarrassing moment into six words. Mine? "Driver's License? Wrong Side of Road."

Yes, it was beyond embarrassing.

After the exercise, our staff discussed the advantages and disadvantages of brevity. An advantage of my own 6-word anecdote is its universality. Most adults know how nerve-wracking taking a driver's license test can be, and most will infer the details of my story while implicitly understanding why it is embarrassing. On the other hand, leaving out these details changes the essence of the story. The reader does not know that I never had an accident before or since or that the old man sitting next to me was being really mean. The reader can infer details, but that doesn't necessarily mean she will get the details right.

We agreed that it is important to strike a balance between conciseness and detail -- that's one of many reasons we revise.

If you want to let us know your own thoughts about brevity while practicing brevity, tweet at @CoeWC! We would love to hear from you.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Furniture Feature

One of the neatest things (I think) that makes our Writing Center unique is our kitchen.
Yes, we have a kitchen.

Currently, our full-sized (FULL-SIZED) kitchen gives us the space for all sorts of neat things. We like to make goodies when we're not conferencing and every Sunday, we hold meals back there.

The space is also used for conferences. The somewhat more private space allows for a quieter conference when the main space is "popping" (aka loud, noisy, and potentially distracting).

And our kitchen did use to be that big. In our old space in the Peterson Hall Tunnel, we had a couple of breadmakers, a microwave, and a mini oven. We had to be creative but some of my favorite food memories of the WC come from that tiny kitchen (Peter's mash potatoes and prying the bread out of the bread machine).

Of course, we don't miss our small kitchen much now. With our upgraded kitchen space, we realized how important food is to us a collective Writing Center. For us, writing and food go hand-in-hand. Food brings us together and food is an ultimate connector when a writer walks in for a conference. The place takes on a homey feel and hopefully that will lead to an awesome, productive conference.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Deidre's Doodle #8

My first year working in the writing center there used to be a doodle similar to this hanging from the front desk. I don't know where it went, but here's my homage to that drawing, and to St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Topics Tuesday: Consultants over Time

It's a Tuesday. AKA the best day of the week. Monday is over, the week is gaining momentum, the cafeteria is serving tacos, and I get to write another post detailing the top-secret happenings of our Topics in Composition staff development course.

This week is especially top secret. I'm going to give you the low-down on my group's research project. That's right. The writing center does research, and I'm going to tell you about it. Brag to your friends; you know you want to.

Basically, the spring semester of Topics is structured around studying special little forms we fill out after conferences to see if any conclusions can be drawn. We focus mostly on qualitative research, meaning we generally care more about finding patterns in what the consultant says in the form rather than how she responds to check-box style constructs.

My group wants to look at how consultants' commentaries and scores on these forms change over time, specifically from the first year to the fourth year. We predict that consultants will use more confident language over time, but that the self-evaluative scores will not necessarily change. We think the language of the commentaries will change because the consultant should theoretically gain confidence in his conferencing style as he gains experience. Even if a conference does not go stunningly well (though we all know CWC staff is pretty darn close to perfect), he does not have to base his stalk as a consultant in that single conference. We don't think scores will change because as a consultant gains experience, she also gains knowledge of what she can do better and what she has done better in the past. The scale is relative based on the consultant using it. A really good conference might seem totally different in the first year than in the fourth year.

Of course, these are all just speculations. Our group is now working on the logistics to test these predictions. There will be more updates as our group has them!

Remember, you only get one Tuesday per week! Use it to its fullest Tuesday potential!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Furniture Feature: End Tables

Hello! It's Thursday and time for another furniture feature. Today, I decided to look at the various end tables found in the Writing Center.

Because a well-placed end table is key. The Writing Center is place for work and fun. Our end tables can be moved and serve a wide variety of purposes: from a spot to put lunch, or a paper, to someone's feet, or even a chair when the Writing Center is extra busy. We use these tables to study and to relax. They are ideal spots that can change in an instant. 

Love this table that sits between several couches/chairs. Can easily be moved and a great tabletop to type something up, while still be comfy.

A footrest that loves to move about the Writing Center. Rarely will you find it with its partner chair.

This low table is a favorite. It's located in one of the best sitting and chatting spots in the WC (in my opinion). It's a good footrest, a spot to place my keys, and even to sit on. Most of time something's on this table: magazines, papers, or plates of food. 

Sits in between two really comfy chairs. Great spot for a water bottle or some books.

Another foot rest that moves about the Writing Center. It's also a great spot to sit, especially if you are catching up with a friend or having a conference.

A sneaky end table that is underused in the Writing Center. Next to two couches and ideal for that stuff you need but don't need all the time (like water bottles, a cup of coffee, or extra books)

Our newest table. Ample space to hold a lot of stuff.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Doodle #7

This Saturday is the first Presidential Ball with our new president, so it's extra special this year. I know I'll be enjoying a classy evening of dressing up, swing dancing, and chocolate covered strawberries!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Photo Friday: Art Gallery Edition!

I've unintentionally remained a mystery throughout the last couple months of my Photo Friday feature. I just never introduced myself and I never signed my blog posts. So, some of you may be wondering: who is this mysteriously photographer filled with random comments every Friday?

Well, this Friday I have the privilege to introduce myself with a unique post! Though not a part of the Writing Center, our space is adjoined with a Student Art Gallery (See above? That's the gallery right by our front desk!). And presently, my art work is taking over the gallery!

I'm Haley Welby, a senior Art and Public Relations major at Coe as well as a Writing Center Consultant. A part of the Art major requirement is to put up a senior art show, and in preparation for my Senior Art Show opening on April 18th in one of the Sinclair Galleries (reception 5-7 pm - yes, I'm plugging my own show, so come!), I took over the Student Gallery.

As I work with both the Writing Center and the Art department, it's been fun to occupy these two spaces and get feedback from my peers. And, as my ideas came to life, it's been even more fun to watch my colleagues approach my show with curiosity as they explore the space.

Currently, the title is still "works in progress", though eventually I'll figure out my actual title, but in the meantime this seems appropriate as that's what it is (and what we are: works in progress). I could ramble on about the photographs and the concepts behind this project, but as it's "Photo Friday", I'll just overwhelm you with photos instead! (And force you to come to my Senior Art Show to find out more about it!) 

Thanks for reading this wordier Photo Friday feature and allowing me to share a bit of my work! Though not the Writing Center itself, this gallery influences our space, and I think it's really cool to be a part of both worlds.

My show will be in the Student Gallery through next (Photo) Friday, March 15th, so to really experience this art installation you should make your way over there and come hang out in the Writing Center while you're at it! Have an awesome weekend!