The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will host a grand opening celebration for the UAFS Writing Center this Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. The Writing Center, which will support student learning by connecting faculty and tutors with students who wish to improve their writing, editing, and research, is located in the fully renovated west wing of the Old Gym at 5004 Kinkead Ave.
The ceremonial ribbon cutting will take place at 10:30 a.m., to be followed by guest speakers Dr. Terisa Riley UAFS chancellor; Dr. Georgia Hale, provost; and Dr. Paul Hankins, dean of the College of Communication, Languages, Arts and Social Sciences.
The facility will be open for tours with social distancing protocols in place. Tents will be set up outside to allow guests to enjoy catered sweets and treats while awaiting their turn for a tour, and masks will be required throughout the event. A Facebook live-stream of the event will be available for those who cannot attend on campus.
"From the day I accepted the position as the UAFS Writing Center director, I and the team have been building toward this moment,” said Dr. Mary Lutze, director of the UAFS Writing Center and assistant professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing. “It has been surreal to witness the transformation the space has had in the past few months, and I'm grateful for everyone who played a part in accomplishing it.”
“Everyone involved in the renovation and launch of the Writing Center is beyond thrilled to see the center launched as a service on campus, and our student tutors are hard at work preparing to be the best tutors they can to the campus community,” Lutze continued. “I know we're all looking forward to celebrating this momentous occasion together on Thursday.”
The Writing Center project was funded by a $2.25 million, five-year grant from the Department of Education, part of the highly competitive Title III Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP,) co-authored by Dr. Cammie Sublette, professor and head of the English Department, and Dr. Monica Luebke, professor of rhetoric.
“It is so gratifying to see the hard work of the UAFS faculty, staff and administration coming to fruition,” said Sublette. “When Dr. Luebke and I wrote and submitted the Title III SIP grant during the summer of 2019, we knew that there was need on our campus for more robust academic literacy support. This space and the faculty, staff and students who will work here, though, is even more impressive than we could have dreamed.”
“The aesthetic guiding our design, as developed by our UAFS Building Committee in concert with our administrators and MAHG Architecture, is one that is open, welcoming, flexible and functional for all UAFS students,” Sublette continued.
In addition to the physical center, the grant will fund programs through the center to provide accelerated literacy programming, summer bridge programs, and faculty professional development in academic literacy teaching strategies.