Writing Center provides welcoming environment to help students’ writing


Chelsea Dright, a tutor from the Writing Center, works at a desk on Wednesday, April 30, at the El Camino College Writing Center in Humanities Room 122, as she waits for a student to arrive. (Greg Fontanilla | The Union)

Students can have their grammar, essays and general writing reviewed by welcoming experts regardless of their academic situation at the El Camino College Writing Center.

Originally hired as a full-time English professor in 2016, English faculty member and Writing Center coordinator Christopher Glover is no stranger to writing centers and assisted learning.

Glover, having taught English and composition, worked at different learning centers and served as an embedded tutor at educational facilities around Southern California.

Glover firmly believes in El Camino’s Writing Center’s purpose.

“El Camino’s Writing Center is a safe space where students can talk about their writing with people who are going to listen and be helpful and give suggestions without judging them,” Glover said.

Students who go to the Writing Center receive professional feedback, since the tutors have at least a bachelor’s in English or another field, and have shown competency in writing.

The tutors are published writers, poets and former graduate students at local universities. Even more, some of them are El Camino English department faculty members who volunteer their time at the center.

Glover believes that every writer, regardless of their own perception of their writing skills, can benefit from receiving feedback and second opinions on their writing.

The Writing Center is open to students of all disciplines and all levels of writing skills, whether someone is a mechanical engineer or an aspiring writer.

“You going to the Writing Center doesn’t mean you’re a bad student or a bad writer. All of us as writers lose objectivity at some point, and we need a second pair of eyes to help us push through writer’s block or give us some perspective on what we’ve written,” Glover said.

There is a certain vulnerability and admitting of weakness that deters students from utilizing resources like the Writing Center.

Students may view asking for help as a sign that they are intellectually weak or incapable, and thus refuse to seek assistance, even though the visit would prove beneficial.

“Even if you sit with a tutor for 20-30 minutes, that little chunk of time can be a huge eye-opener,” Glover said.

Jessie Bullard, a tutor who recently graduated from Long Beach State with a masters in Art and English after attending community college herself, agrees.

“There’s this stigma of Writing Centers and tutoring services that we think we should only go if we are not keeping up with the class or learning the material well. I know I’ve felt it,” Bullard said.

The tutors acutely removed this stigma at the Writing Center, as they aim to genuinely welcome any student.

“Regardless of how you feel about your own skills and strengths with a project, it’s going to be beneficial no matter what to come to the Writing Center, because with writing, having a conversation is so important,” Bullard said. “Talking about our ideas and verbalizing them is an important part of the writing process.”

The front of the Writing Center at the El Camino College campus in Humanities Room 122, on Wednesday, April 30. (Greg Fontanilla | The Union)

The writing center’s assistance is highly endorsed by professors across all departments at El Camino College.

“Writing is a solitary act, it happens in isolation. But the writing improves when it’s collaborative,” Allison Carr, an English professor since 2005, said. “You need those experienced, other set of eyes to look at your writing … I have seen firsthand how the Writing Center has really helped students.”

Kristie DiGregorio, a human development professor at El Camino for over 20 years, added that the Writing Center is a great tool for self-confidence.

“The Writing Center changes our students’ self-concept because we are very self-conscious about what we perceive to be deficits in ourselves and we ruminate over those,” DiGregorio said.

DiGregorio said that this fixed mindset that “we will never get better” must be changed in order to keep improving.

“What happens at the Writing Center for my students is that they are able to embrace the growth mindset that ‘I’m not a good writer yet, but it’s just a matter of time,'” DiGregorio said. “Afterward, they feel very differently about themselves.”

DiGregorio said enthusiastically that some of her students would even call the Writing Center “life-changing”.

The Writing Center is available both in-person in Humanities Room 122 from Monday to Thursday, and virtually through Zoom from Tuesday to Friday at varied times.

Yvette Gaxiola, a current El Camino student and a single mother of two who works full-time as an office manager, recently utilized the Writing Center for the first time.

“I feel like writing has always been my biggest insecurity, so now that I’m working on it and I have that push of help at the writing center, it has definitely given me a boost to my self-confidence,” Gaxiola said. “I will definitely come back.”


Editor’s Note: Story updated to correct a name misspelling on April 3, 4 p.m.