Chris LeCluyse is a man of many responsibilities. He is an English professor, chair of the English program, head of the South Salt Lake writing center, a professional singer in an early music singing group and director of Westminster’s Writing Center.
LeCluyse said he sees the Writing Center, located in the Bassis Student Center, as an important part of the Westminster community and as a big focus of his own life.
Writing Center hours:
Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Saturday, noon–5 p.m.
Sunday, 2–7 p.m.
Q: What made you want to get involved with the Writing Center?
A: It’s funny. I first got involved in writing centers pretty much by accident. At the University of Texas, where I went to graduate school, I had to work in the writing center the first year that I was teaching. The terms of my employment were that I would teach one section of freshman composition a semester and then work seven hours a week in the writing center. So, it’s not that I went into it out of some deep sense of choice. Then, once I got my feet wet, I just discovered “Wow, what a wonderful world this is.”
Q: Why is it important for Westminster to have a writing center?
A: One reason is that, while writing is a common feature of many classes at Westminster, writing instruction is not. Students are asked to write in many, many different courses, but they’re not always given the explicit opportunity to learn how to write in those classes… So, in that sense, we serve this middle role. We’re certainly there to help students, but we’re also there to help faculty...The other piece is lots of people learn in different ways. We think a collaborative, conversational kind of model is an effective way for people to develop their writing, and for people that respond well to that kind of model, we’re there.
Q: How can students get involved with the Writing Center?
A: Certainly, the easiest way to be involved is to come in and get feedback on your writing, and people can do that any time…For people to be involved as consultants, that does kind of require this planning ahead. So, taking Theory and Teaching of Writing in the spring to then start working in the Writing Center the following fall.
Q: What is the path for students who want help with their writing?
A: We take walk-ins, so people can just show up, and our hours are pretty expansive. We’re open until 9 p.m. most days of the week—we have weekend hours. If people want to make an appointment ahead of time, they can do that. We have an online scheduling system that lets them know when people are available…[It also] lets them limit our staff according to specialty, so if someone is in psychology and they want someone who has some prior knowledge of psychology, they can actually just see who are psychology specialists.
Q: What are your hopes for the future of the Writing Center?
A: Thinking ahead, I certainly would love more and more people to come to the Writing Center. Both with reduction of enrollment across the college and with our change in location, we kind of had a little dip in our business...Eventually, it might be interesting to experiment with a writing mentor program that would be where consultants would be embedded in specific classes. So, a class would have a dedicated writing consultant that would just work for students from that class… But to do some of that innovating just requires the good old time and energy, so I need to be more disciplined at not taking on more and more responsibilities