The fall semester has brought many new adjustments and challenges for Wittenberg, but these do not end with COVID-19 policies and online classes. Two student resources relocated over the summer and throughout the beginning of Aug. Together, the Math Workshop and the Writing Center provide students and staff with experience, academic aid and campus jobs, but have found new homes on campus.
The two centers were located in close proximity before, with the Math Workshop residing in the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center and the Writing Center operating out of Hollenbeck Hall. Now, the two operate side-by-side on the first floor of Thomas Library. The director of the Writing Center, Dr. Mike Mattison, justified the move with the theme of consolidation: the library is located in the center of campus and is an open study space for all students, and is conveniently placed near the Student Center and student dorms. Mattison believes that this consolidation, which is becoming more common in schools, will provide students with an ease of maneuverability between services.
Kristen Peters, the interim director of the library, also commented on the beneficial aspects of having a shared space for many programs.
“I think ultimately, it will be a good move for students to have so many learning centers within the library, alongside library research assistance and student success and career support,” Peters said. “We are working together to find new ways to collaborate.”
The spaces that these programs previously occupied are also being put to new use. In the Science Center, where the Math Workshop was, nursing faculty and spaces are now more accessible to students and will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Hollenbeck, the former home of the Writing Center will now be made into a space for Upward Bound, Wittenberg’s pre-college program for first-generation and low-income students who are interested in furthering their education. The spaced cleared on the first floor of the library once housed periodicals and microfilm readers and printers. Two rooms here, a faculty study room and a group study room, have been transformed into a lounge and office for the workshops.
This move proved difficult for many of the staff involved. The reordering and reorganizing of spaces occurred in the midst of Wittenberg’s effort to make the campus as risk-free as possible, creating a heavy workload. The reduced library staff were given short notice and were also in the process of redesigning services for students. Mattison also shared that the move will lead to his staff experiencing the Writing Center differently. The advisors had, in a sense, become attached to the former space in Hollenbeck and had created many fond memories there. The new advisor lounge in the library will provide a space for connection and relaxation, but it is “not their own yet.” This is also not the first time the Writing Center has been relocated; before it was in Hollenbeck, the service was located in the Shouvlin Center.
As of now, the Writing Center and Math Workshop will operate on the same time systems as before. Both provide flexible hours for aid based on the advisors’ and tutors’ availability and are accessible online through Wittenberg’s website. The Math Workshop provides a quiet space for students and groups in person and is offering individual services through BigBlueButton, while the Writing Center is operating through email and online sessions until all safety precautions are set.