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Writing Center selects Capdevielle as director

Sam Stryker | Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Though the University’s Writing Center has had its doors open to students for the last 10 years, this semester it welcomes Matthew Capdevielle as its new director, who replaces Chris Mannelly, the acting associate director last semester.

Capdevielle recently completed graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received a Ph.D. in English.

In addition to currently teaching a writing program for the University, Capdevielle is helping oversee the Writing Center as an academic tool for all students.

“My job is to handle day to day stuff here and to work on programming,” he said.

Capdevielle said the most important function of the Writing Center is the face-to-face help it provides for students.

Appointments at the Writing Center can be made in 45-minute increments. Any kind of writing project at any level is welcome.

Capdevielle said he hopes students understand that the true purpose of the Writing Center is not to help students with grammar and proofreading, but rather to help with fleshing out ideas and constructing strong arguments.

“Our main focus is having people develop their focus and ideas in their writing,” he said.

While the central focus of the Writing Center lies in these face-to-face appointments, Capdevielle also said the Center’s programming is also beneficial to students’ academic needs.

“Our main purpose is the one-on-one stuff,” he said. “However, we do do programs here and there.”

Capdevielle said the Writing Center is currently hosting a workshop on grant application writing with CUSE, and there is upcoming programming for graduate students.
“In a couple of weeks we’re doing a graduate student workshop on turning in coursework to publications,” he said.

While students may be the main patrons of the Writing Center, they also are an integral part of its day-to-day operations.

“We have 30 undergraduate and four graduate tutors,” Capdevielle said. “Tutors are nominated by professors to apply.”

Capdevielle said the application process occurs in the spring, and the following fall those students that are hired engage in a tutor-training course titled “Writing Center Theory and Practice.”

These tutors helped 1,500 students with their papers last semester, and while there were some slow weeks, other times the Writing Center was swamped, Capdevielle said.
“The assignment cycle means that some weeks we have 20 students come in and other weeks we have 200 to 300,” he said.