Millikin’s Writing Center has Expanded Hours, More Resources for Students
The Center, located in Shilling 211, will have an open house this Friday between 2-4 p.m.
by Matthew Flaten
DECATUR, Ill. – Students looking to improve their writing, reading and critical thinking skills will have expanded hours, space and resources in the redesigned Millikin University Writing Center located in Shilling 211.
Writing Center Director Danielle Patricio, who is also a Lecturer of English in the School of Writing, Languages and Cultures, believes the changes will make the Writing Center more accessible and helpful for students looking for assistance.
“I felt like doing this was a love letter to Millikin. I bleed blue and it meant a lot to me to create a space for our students,” Danielle said. “The last two years have been tough, and I was looking for new things to bring to our programs and ways to revitalize them. It was challenging, but that means it was worthwhile work.”
Millikin students, faculty and staff can stop by the Writing Center to take a tour, meet the staff of tutors and enjoy some refreshments during an Open House on Friday, August 25 from 2-4 p.m.
Students can now enjoy an expanded tutoring area and the ability to check out laptops that can be used while in the Writing Center. The Center’s conference room now features a projector, allowing students to get assistance with other types of projects.
“I want students to know they can come in for any class. It doesn’t have to be for their university writing course. They can come at any point in the writing process and don’t have to be done with an essay,” Danielle said. “It doesn’t have to be an essay; it could be a multi-media project or a presentation, a podcast or something else you want to get feedback on.”
The Center also houses offices for the Illinois Association of Teachers of English and the Center for Publishing and Editing – which produces the student-publications BURST, Collage and Bronze Man Books. The Decaturian, Millikin’s student newspaper, will also have a new home in the Center.
All these upgrades came at no expense to Millikin as Danielle worked hard to use underutilized resources.
“It’s important to know that no Millikin funds were spent on this project. It was done by reclaiming technology that wasn’t being used, and we worked closely with IT to provide us with refurbished technology,” she said. “This was done with a zero-dollar budget, which was very important to us. It was all donations, reclaimed items and furniture that was not being used at Millikin.”
Another area that has seen a complete transformation is the free library for students, which was previously a storage room filled with file cabinets, dust and a few spiders.
“We have filled it with books as a free library for our students. This is a space where students can come in and pick a book, they do not have to return the book or keep track of it,” Danielle said. “That is important to us because many students are focused on getting their textbooks and school supplies. To come and get a novel for free would have been very exciting to me as an undergraduate.”
The Writing Center is also accepting donations of novels to keep the shelves filled.
“Our Professor Emeritus Michael O'Conner left us a treasure trove of novels and we also had a pretty good collection in the English Department. Our faculty are very excited about this and are leaving beautiful novels for the collection,” Danielle said. “If you have something that you have read, loved and want to share it, please bring it in and we will put it on our shelves.”
The Center is open Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Virtual-only appointments are available from 5-7 p.m., Monday-Thursday. Walk-in tutoring without an appointment is available all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“The whole purpose of the writing center is not only for individual tutoring. While tutoring is our main focus, it is to also provide a quiet study space for our students,” Danielle said. “We have those in other buildings on campus, but we didn’t have that in Shilling. Now we do.”