Library & Learning Services

Dixie State University


Writing Center
Annual Report 2019–2020

Table of Contents

2020 Annual Review

Department Name: Writing Center

College Name: Library & Learning Services

Department Head: Rob Gray

Department Mission Statement (required for NWCCU):

The mission of the Dixie State University Writing Center is to assist students in developing, drafting, and revising their writing through peer-to-peer consultation and small group instruction. We strive to create an academic community of strong and confident writers, both at Dixie State University and in the southern Utah community.

Goals and Accomplishments

1. Report progress on goals identified in last year’s report.

LLS Goal 2: Expand Resources and Enhance Services

Strategy: Increase total consultations this academic year

Strategy: Increase departmental tutoring

LLS Goal 3: Contribute to Campus-Wide Retention Efforts

Strategy: Create a study to show that mandatory Writing Center tutoring in English 1010 and 1010D is effective in aiding students writing proficiency.

LLS Goal 4: Remove Barriers to Access and Improve Efficiencies

Strategy: Increase department efficiency

2. Summarize department and faculty highlights. (Provide a brief account of this year’s significant happenings and department accomplishments. Include faculty recognitions, honors, publications, presentations, etc.)

Director of Learning Services:

Rob Gray applied for and received CRLA program certification for the Academic Performance Center, the Writing Center, the Peer Coaching program, and the Supplemental Instruction program. He is heading a committee to pursue a Title III SIP grant for five-year funding for supplemental instruction, expanded tutoring, and first-year experience. He co-wrote an article on mandatory tutoring that was published in Curiosity, DSU’s online research journal.

Student coordinators:

Brittany Bennett was our Writing Center coordinator through the end of spring semester. She graduated with a degree in history and a minor in English. She wrote articles for the 2019 DSU Annual Academic Report.

Ashton Corsetti became our coordinator after spring semester. He is an English major with a Professional and Technical Writing emphasis. He worked as an editor of Curiosity, DSU’s online research journal, and had an article published in last year’s edition.

Student tutors:

Corbin Caldwell earned his TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate from Bridge Academy.

Abby Doman worked as the managing editor of the Dixie Sun News.

Ryan Gibb attended a competitive biomedical internship at Stanford University last summer and graduated this year with a BS Degree in Biology with an English minor.

Abby Lewis acquired a tutoring position at Techie for Life, a local, neuro-diverse student-support company.

Haley Evans began DSU’s graduate program in Technical Writing and Digital Rhetoric.

Kaitlyn Ehlers graduated with a English degree and obtained employment with Washington County School District as a middle school teacher.

3. Complete the table below for faculty (excluding part-time instructors) as of May 2020, then provide part-time instructor information below the table.

Name and Degree Tenure Status

T = Tenured

TT = Tenure Track

NTT = Non Tenure Track

Rank Faculty FTE Released Time in Credit Hours
Rob Gray, MFA NTT Director 1.0 N/A

Department Effectiveness

10. Please add any other performance data you might like to include here that will help inform an accurate snapshot of your department or unit.

Department Highlights:

A. During the fall 2019 semester, the Writing Center completed 1,764 consultations, a 13 percent increase in total consultations over the spring 2019 semester (graph provided below).

Total Consultations by Week and Semester
* The Writing Center had fewer visits than expected during weeks 12–17 of spring ’20 due to the transition to remote tutoring because of COVID-19.

B. The Writing Center was able to add two more department-specific tutors for writing ACS style and those studying exercise science.

C. Between the 2018-2019 academic year and the 2019-2020 year, the number of specialized tutoring sessions that the Writing Center completed with APA students, primarily psychology, increased by 11 percent, from 399 specialized sessions to 443.

D. Between the 2018–2019 academic year and the 2019–2020 year, the number of synchronous online tutoring sessions that the Writing Center completed increased by 81 percent, from 344 online tutoring sessions to 622.

Additional Department Effectiveness Data:

A. Last year, we analyzed data from a mandatory tutoring study we conducted in the Writing Center. The Executive Summary is below.

Mandatory Tutoring: English 1010 Results, Spring 2019

In spring 2019, the Writing Center obtained essay scores and course grades from five instructors and 12 sections of English 1010(D) at the university for 111 new freshmen. Student who did not submit an essay were excluded. In eight sections, it was mandatory for students to attend the writing center for assistance on at least one essay; however, only 60% of new freshmen in these sections took their papers to the writing center. On the other hand, it is important for instructors to do this, because in the four sections without this mandate, none of the new freshmen sought help from the writing center on their papers.

Outcomes were quite different for new freshmen who utilize the writing center compared to those who did not take advantage of the services. The average grade on the essay for those who used the center was 2.94 compared to 1.60 for those who did not; roughly a B compared to failing grades, below a C- on average. The average grade in the course for those who used the center was 3.25 compared to 2.18 for other new freshmen who did not use the writing center.

New freshman who took their papers to the writing center had a higher ACT Composite Score (19) and high school GPA (3.33) than students not taking advantage of services (18 and 3.02). The index score (high school GPA X 10 + ACT Composite) was 48 and 52 respectively, higher for those following their instructor’s guidelines.

One could argue that the difference was due solely to their lack of preparation in high school. To counter this argument, the researchers used a binary logistic regression to predict grades on the essay and grades in the English courses. This was chosen because grades were bimodal; therefore the outcomes were changed to earning a B or higher and C or higher on the essay and for the course grade.

In order to control for differences in high school preparation, the researchers used covariates or control variables in the analyses. Results were similar using different covariates (high school GPA, ACT score or index score). Therefore, the ACT score was chosen because of the larger sample size with this data.

Table 1. Logistic Regression Results (n = 111)
Essay Course Grade
B or Higher C or Higher B or Higher C or Higher
Variables B S. E. B S. E. B S. E. B S. E.
ACT Score .132 .069 .110 .068 .165* .072 .071 .080
Utilizing the Center 1.849** .437 1,950** .457 1.898** .476 1.390* .594
Constant -3.633** 1.327 -2.544* 1.280 -3.306* 1.346 -.331 1.447
Correctly Classified 73.0% 68.5% 70.0% 80.0%
Nagelkerke R Square .263 .264 .273 .107

*p < .05, **p < .01

When controlling for students’ ACT Composite scores, student compliance with taking their paper to the writing center was associated with earning a B or higher and earning a C or higher on their essay. The same was true for their course grade (all tests statistically significant). Therefore, new freshmen are making a wise choice to utilize tutoring services on campus. The instructor can encourage this by requiring use of the center as part of the course.

B. In an online survey administered to faculty on their perceptions of the Writing Center, we found that most faculty believe that the Writing Center is effective in helping their students become stronger writers. Between 80 and 90 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that faculty are satisfied with the tutoring students receive, that faculty are confident in the advice tutors give, that their students are more confident writers after visiting with tutors, and that they would recommend Writing Center services to other faculty members.

1. I am satisfied overall with the tutoring that my students receive from the Writing Center.
2. I am confident in the accuracy of writing tutors’ advice provided to students.
7. Overall, I feel that my students have become more confident, competent writers after visiting the Writing Center.
8. I would recommend to other faculty members that they refer their students to the Writing Center.

11. Conduct SWOT Analysis—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (Identify internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats. Analysis of facilities, resources, administration/staff, budgets, outside influences, competition and stakeholder satisfaction.)


Chair’s Response—Planning for the Future

12. Based on the above data, list specific goals your department/unit will target to accomplish during the coming academic year. Note: In next year’s report, follow up reporting on these goals will be covered in #1 as in this report.

LLS Goal 2: Expand Resources and Enhance Services

Strategy: Increase total consultations next academic year

Strategy: Increase tutoring of underserved populations

LLS Goal 3: Contribute to Campus-wide Retention Efforts

Strategy: Show Writing Center Effectiveness

15. What are department’s projected needs for the next 3–5 years? Include staffing, space, budget, etc.)

The Writing Center’s biggest need in the next few years will be additional space. As our program continues to grow and as the Athletic Department will require additional tutoring to meet Division 1 standards, Learning Services will need additional room.

Another need will be additional funding, and we plan to address this with a Title III grant.

Dean’s Response

17. Provide your overall response to the degree of success this department achieved last year relative to student learning outcomes. Consult with Assessment Coordinators to review the action plan and insights they have entered in TaskStream—they can print out a report for you.

18. Provide your general assessment of the accomplishments and needs, including budget allocation needs (particularly address # 14 & #15).

Summary of Meeting with Provost