Monday, September 8, 2014


Ryan Brasington of Columbus receives assistance
 from writing tutor Laura Beth Berry in the new
 Writing Center at East Mississippi Community 
College’s Golden Triangle campus. The Writing
 Center was established this semester to help 
students strengthen and improve the quality of 
their writing.

MAYHEW – Students at East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle campus are getting a boost this semester from two new service centers.

The Writing Center is currently accepting appointments and walk-ins in the GT campus library and the Lions’ Brew study lounge is set for its grand opening Tuesday, with free coffee and tea for students from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Created to help students strengthen their general writing skills, rather than correct specific assignments, the Writing Center opened this fall and will be staffed by tutors Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

EMCC English instructor Laura Vernon conceived of the Writing Center after working as a tutor in Mississippi State University’s writing center several years ago as a grad student. She attended the Southeastern Writing Center Association Conference in February 2013 to learn how to start a writing center from the ground up on the Golden Triangle campus.

“We revamped our intermediate English course and paired it with a reading course, so it no longer has a lab component. And we had two English tutors who assisted students in those labs, so we repurposed them as full-time tutors in the Writing Center,” said Vernon.

Tutors Laura Beth Berry and Kim Fobian now occupy a former study room in the library, chosen for its central location on campus. Tutors remain available in the GT campus’s Student Success Center, but Berry said their focus differs from the other tutors.

“Our goal is to help students become better writers. Not to guarantee they get an A,” she said.

“We don’t proofread or edit. But we can look at what they’ve written and make sure they completed the assignment correctly and make sure their writing is clear and focused and organized.”

Vernon said students utilizing the Writing Center don’t even have to have anything written to receive assistance.

“They can come with no words on a page, just a writing prompt. That’s fine. We can help them develop an idea or formulate a thesis statement.”

And the Writing Center isn’t just for English assignments. Berry said nursing students recently came to the center for help with a writing assignment.

While the Writing Center helps to sharpen skills with instruction, Lions’ Brew aims to sharpen senses with caffeine.

Located in the Student Success Center, Room 131 in the Douglas Building on the GT campus, Lions’
Sammie Hoskins of Louisville brews a cup of
coffee in Lions’ Brew, the new study lounge
located on East Mississippi Community College’s
Golden Triangle campus. Lions’ Brew will hold its
official opening Tuesday, Sept. 9, with free coffee
 and tea for students from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Brew offers a comfortable lounge atmosphere, complete with plush couches and hot beverages. Once a week, on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., free coffee and tea will be available to students.

“While the SSC has offered free tutoring and support services for the past two years, this fall a new door has literally been opened. New furniture and freshly painted walls provide a welcoming backdrop for a study lounge with a twist,” said QEP Assessment Coordinator Laura Damm.

The SSC will continue with its usual hours of operation throughout the rest of the week so students can use the computer lab or receive tutoring.

The upgrades to the SSC were funded by an Integrated Planning and Advising Services grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The IPAS grant also funded the implementation of DropGuard and Student Planning student success software at EMCC.

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation encourages conversation and sharing among grant participants by providing a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of beverages. We hope the free coffee or tea will stimulate conversation among students, faculty and staff, and that those conversations will, in turn, lead to change, improvement and connection at EMCC,” said Damm.