By Rachel Azima
Rachel Azima is the director of the Writing & Media Center at Iowa State University. While completing her Ph.D. in English, she worked for 13 semesters in the UW-Madison Writing Center. Before starting at Iowa State in Fall 2012, she served as Assistant Professor of English at a small private university in the Detroit area, where she helped start a writing center.
The past few years have brought sea changes for me and for the center I direct at Iowa State. During that time, what was the Writing and Media Help Center moved from the English Department to the Dean of Students Office, becoming a joint venture between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs in the process, and I leaped off the tenure track to take a full-time administrative position to direct this center. Since my arrival, we have adopted a new, shorter name—the Writing & Media Center (WMC)—with the “help” removed to avoid those pesky remedial connotations. Our undergraduate staff is transitioning from “peer tutors” to “communication consultants” (terminology we’re still getting used to), and our per semester usage has more than doubled, from 407 tutoring hours in Fall 2011 to 1046 hours in Fall 2013. My graduate assistants and I have thrown ourselves headfirst into outreach efforts: staff members gave 11 presentations total during the year before I arrived, while my graduate assistants and I gave 105 presentations in Fall 2013 alone, allowing us to reach over 3,500 students with information about the WMC. (more…)