University Opens Writing + Critical Expression Hub

The former UCSD Writing Center has transitioned into what is now the Writing + Critical Expression Hub, which operates as a sub-unit within the university’s new Teaching + Learning Commons on the first floor of the Geisel Library. The new resource has extended hours and offers a variety of services, including workshops and writing assistance for both undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty members.

As former Writing Center Director Madeleine Picciotto explained to the UCSD Guardian, the Writing Center was an autonomous unit under the jurisdiction of the Council of Provosts established in 2012.

Matt Nelson, director of the new Writing + Critical Expression Hub, told the Guardian that he hopes to continue providing UCSD’s faculty and staff with the same outstanding services that Writing Center offered.

“The Writing Center did amazing work to serve students across the colleges and established a standard for excellence and a scope of services that the Writing Hub has been asked to match.”

Nelson also noted that he hopes to promote writing as a way of thinking and forming ideas, rather than simply putting ideas on paper.

“I think it’s valuable that we help more people recognize that writing is a way of thinking and a way of encountering your thinking, improving your thinking,” Nelson said. “Even if you feel like writing isn’t what you’re super interested in as a student, it still has tremendous value for you.”

The main point of contact for undergraduate students remains undergraduate tutors, who conduct the one-on-one tutoring sessions and writing workshops. Eleanor Roosevelt College senior and Writing + Critical Expression Hub tutor Kyle Park described his work to the Guardian.

“As a tutor, I work with students in 30-minute appointments for every part of the writing process, such as brainstorming, fine tuning and everything in between,” Park said. “It’s more than just proofreading or editing — both the student and mentor are actively engaged in deconstructing assignments.”

Park enjoys his working environment and feels that doing his job is a rewarding experience.

“I enjoy the casual, supportive work environment alongside dedicated and enthusiastic peer mentors,” Park said. “It’s also an incredible learning experience to empower other students by refining their writing skills.”

Gabriele Weinhausen, faculty director of the Teaching + Learning Commons, told the Guardian that the establishment of the Commons was included in Chancellor Khosla’s Strategic Plan for UCSD, which he released in 2014.

“As the chancellor described in his strategic plan, he had an explicit goal to support teaching and learning on this campus at the system level by creating the Teaching + Learning Commons,” Weinhausen said.

Weinhausen also noted that the Commons will continue to expand its teaching capacity in the future.

“This is just the start of a really, completely new support system for everybody who is an educator and anybody who is a student.”

The Teaching + Learning Commons will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Monday, Oct. 17. Student open houses will be held periodically until that date.