Online consultations and new hours increase accessibility of Writing and Media Center

Kaitlyn Heims, junior in English, and Hannah Sams, senior in marketing, are both communication consultants at the Writing and Media Center. Heims and Sams attended the welcome back event at the Carver Hall location to plan for the new semester and talk with one another.

Sage Smith

With three locations, new hours and the addition of online consultations, the Writing and Media Center provides help with all forms of communication to Iowa State students.

The three locations of the Writing and Media Center will reopen Tuesday. With multiple locations, all of which are on the Orange 23 CyRide route, the Writing and Media Center is able to reach many students all around campus.

The communication consultants at the Writing and Media Center will help students with all of their written, oral, visual and electronic communication needs for essays, emails, presentations and more.

Students can also get help at any point of the process. They can go in for an appointment with just the prompt for a paper or a final draft.

Margaret Kaus, graduate education student, started in August as the graduate assistant director at the Writing and Media Center. Kaus said online consultations is something other writing centers across the country have provided.

Now having the new service of online consultations at the Iowa State Writing and Media Center allows students to set up an appointment that doesn’t require them to go in for an in-person consultation.

Kaus said online consultations are a way to make the Writing and Media Center more accessible to more Iowa State students, as it can be easier for students with disabilities, students who live off campus and other circumstances.

Having three locations isn’t new but is a big part of the work the Writing and Media Center does for students.

“The reason we have three locations is accessibility,” Kaus said. “We want to meet students where they’re at.”

The main location is Carver Hall 208. Close by is the Parks Library 130D location, and near Lied Recreation Athletic Center is the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center 1020 location.

The locations have now shifted hours based off of how busy each location was at what times. The shifted hours allow more time for students to go to the Writing and Media Center.

Kaus said they know students study in Parks Library, so they have night hours at that location. When students aren’t in class and may already be at the library, they can make an appointment during those hours.

The Hixson-Lied Student Success Center location is near several residence halls including Oak, Elm and Maple-Willow-Larch so students in that area have a Writing and Media Center close by for when they need communication assistance.

Communication consultants at the Writing and Media Center are the ones who help students work through and improve the effectiveness of their writing through half hour or hour long consultations.

Students can set up an appointment with a communication consultant by visiting the Writing and Media Center website. Students can register for an account and then schedule an appointment.

“During those [consultation] times, our consultants will kind of set a plan of, ‘What are you interested in talking about today? What are your goals?’’” Kaus said. “We want to make sure that we’re accomplishing what students want, what clients want.”

Hannah Sams, senior in marketing, said as a communication consultant, she goes in and looks at what appointments she has for that day. When scheduling an appointment, students can upload what they’re working on, which Sams will read over.

Something Sams said she enjoys about working as a communication consultant is being able to work with students from all areas of studies.

Kaitlyn Heims, junior in English, is another communication consultant at the Writing and Media Center.

“I think most of our [communication consultants] use more minimalist tutoring style, so it’s kind of asking the student questions, having them kind of come up with the answers rather than us just telling them,” Heims said. “So that helps them not only improve their papers but actually become better writers and communicators too.”

Students can also get help with a speech or presentation they have coming up. Heims said she’s had several students practice their speeches in front of her; she’d take notes then give them feedback on what they can do to improve.

Ana Mier, senior in English, went to the Writing and Media Center for help with a few papers when she was taking the English 250 course. Mier then started as an administrative assistant and is now a communication consultant.

Mier said a part of her job she loves is talking to people and getting to know them. A consultation can be so much more than just working on the task at hand.

“I think one of the greatest feelings that I get when working there is, I think a lot of people are very self-conscious about their work and where they’re at; just being able to create a space where they feel comfortable to reach out for help when they need it is really nice,” Mier said.

Another service offered by the Writing and Media Center are workshops. Each workshop has a different topic of focus, such as editing strategies or resumes and cover letters. A new workshop the Writing and Media Center is developing is focused on visual communication.

While the workshops are offered to Iowa State members, the Writing and Media Center has hosted them for other schools.

“I work on doing community outreach,” Kaus said. “For me, I will reach out to high schools in the area; I’ll reach out to Ames Public Library and try and figure out how can we work to better both Ames and Iowa State and better that relationship.”

Students interested in these workshops can request them on the presentations and workshop page of the Writing and Media Centers website.

The hours for all three locations can be found on the Writing and Media Center website as well as descriptions of workshops, what resources are available and what services are offered.

Joseph Cheatle, director of the Writing and Media Center and program coordinator for the Dean of Students Office, can be contacted by those interested in employment and the Writing and Media Centers. Cheatle can be reached at [email protected] or 515-294-7430.