What began in 1982 as "The Writing Center" Living/Learning Faculty-Designed Program, the Undergraduate Writing Center has evolved over 40 years into a full-scale, academic-year student support program. Seeing just 20 students in its first year, the Undergraduate Writing Center (UWC) now provides more than 1800 tutoring sessions a year in addition to in-class workshops.
A Writing Center is Born
In 1982, Kathy Skubikowski, a faculty member in the English Department, created the Writing Center as a Living/Learning Faculty-Designed Program. The first group of tutors lived together in a suite in L/L and worked with about twenty students over the course of that first year.
Kathy Skubikowski Passes the Baton to Sue Dinitz
Kathy took a position at Middlebury College in 1983, and Sue Dinitz, also a faculty member in the English Department, became the director.
The Writing Center goes "Mainstream"
The Writing Center joined the TRIO/Student Services Program in 1984, to create the Learning Cooperative, an academic support center for all UVM students.
Jean Kiedaisch Takes the Reigns
Jean Kiedaisch joined the Writing Center in 1988 as Sue Dinitz stepped back from the Writing Center to focus on her faculty position and growing family.
Sue Dinitz Returns to Co-Direct with Jean Kiedaisch
Sue Dinitz returned to the Writing Center in 1998 to co-direct with Jean Kiedaisch; they co-directed together until Jean's retirement in 2008.
The Writing Center Expands
By 1999, the Writing Center was engaging in excess of 1300 contacts with more than 750 students a year. To meet the demand, the Writing Center opened a second space in the Howe Memorial Library.
A New Partnership
Following Jean Kiedaisch's retirement in 2008, the Writing Center moved entirely to the library to be located with the new Writing in the Disciplines Program, directed by English Professor Susanmarie Harrington, in 2009.
A Sister Program Launches
The UVM Graduate College launched a new Graduate Writing Center in January 2016, under the leadership of English Professor Nancy Welch and joined the Undergraduate Writing Center (UWC) to form the UVM Writing Centers.
The Library Generously Donates a New Space
Although the Undergraduate Writing Center had moved entirely to the Howe Library in 2009, it was not in one cohesive location. Rather, it had one small room on the 1st Floor and borrowed space from Writing in the Disciplines on the 3rd Floor. Meanwhile, the Graduate Writing Center was hidden away in the basement of Waterman. In 2018, Howe Library Dean Maura Saule donated the Ground Floor space that was being vacated by the then Media Lab to the UVM Writing Centers along with a small suite of film-editing rooms off the adjoining hallway. This allowed the UVM Writing Centers to come together in one location for the first time, with a shared reception area and multiple spaces for holding sessions.
Sheila Boland Chira Takes the Lead
Sue Dinitz retired after 35 years with UVM in May of 2018, leaving the Undergraduate Writing Center under Sheila Boland Chira's leadership that summer. Sheila, a Senior Lecturer in the English Department jumped in with both feet, guiding the Undergraduate Writing Center through the 2020-2022 pandemic only a year-and-a-half after starting the position.
40 Years of Peer Leadership and Learning
In 2022, the Undergrauate Writing Center celebrated 40 years of service by honoring its more than 700 tutor alumni.