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Have you heard about: SAGES Peer Writing Crew?

Gillian Seaman

Issue date: 10/10/08 Section: News
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The SAGES Peer Writing Crew's goal is to be one of the most valuable writing resources on campus. While many assume the group only offers help to students with SAGES papers, the Crew actually assists with any writing assignment. In addition, its resources are readily accessible online, where one can e-mail a paper to be edited, schedule a face-to-face interview, or instant message a member for immediate help.
The SAGES Peer Writing Crew was formed in fall 2005, when the university's entire entering class had to enroll in SAGES for the first time. The founding members of the Crew had participated in SAGES during the previous two years when it was still a small experimental program. In 2005, the Crew had just five members; it now has 11.
Currently, the group claims representatives from each of Case's schools including the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Weatherhead School of Management, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Case School of Engineering.
Students can apply to be Crew members after being nominated by a SAGES instructor. After being nominated, the applicants must submit an essay detailing their growth as writers and be interviewed by the Crew's supervisors, Judith Olson-Fallon (director of ESS) and Arthur Evenchik (assistant to the dean in the College of Arts and Sciences).
Despite the need of the student body for such a resource and the group's availability, the Crew still remains a relatively obscure option. As Crew member Zachary Miller stated, "To see tutors with no appointments makes me feel like an underused resource." Still, the face-to face appointments the group has had were very successful, as shown by a 100 percent approval rating on Tutor-Trac.
Advertising for the group has been an issue this year. Although the group has gone to freshman dorms and SAGES classrooms, the members remain slightly underwhelmed by student response.
Miller commented on the lack of student participation.
"Some weeks there are tutors who are eager to help somebody, but have no appointments," he said.
However, it is important to note that the Crew's online writing guide, "Beyond Typing," had over 24,000 hits last year.
It is apparent that the Peer Writing Crew cares about the success of students they are helping. At every meeting, the group discusses the tutoring sessions they have had that week and techniques they can use to improve their tutoring skills.
The group's goal is not designed to simply write papers for students or to provide them with an instant 'A.'
Crew member Kayla Gatalica expressed the group's mission.
"Our goal is not a grade on a paper; it's to help [students] to be better writers in the future."
Miller agreed, saying, "Correcting a comma splice or a case of the passive voice might be measurable in points and letter grades, but personal growth as a writer is immeasurable."
For more information, go to http://studentaffairs.case.edu/education/resources/writing/, or make an appointment at www.casewconline.com.
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