Kathleen Jones White Writing Center Focuses on Tutoring for Retention

Posted on 9/24/2019 10:45:21 AM

This year, under the direction of the new director Dana Lynn Driscoll, one focus of the Kathleen Jones White Writing Center is retention-oriented tutoring. In addition to the long-standing support for writers of all levels and across all disciplines that our writing center provides, our retention initiative includes the development of new support materials, help sheets, and workshops to help developmental and underprepared writers succeed.

Starting in fall 2019, the Jones White Writing Center has been offering regular professional development to our tutors to help them tutor with retention in mind. This has included additional training for tutors about how to work with and support underprepared writers, helping new students developing a sense of belonging, encouraging help-seeking behavior, supporting writing processes through offering tools and strategies, and much more. This training will continue into our Spring 2020 term.

The Kathleen Jones White Writing Center conducts over 4,000 tutorials a year for students of all majors and levels. These tutorials not only help writers, but also retain students and contribute to student success. Writing center visits affect learning and retention. Specifically, writing center visits are tied to:

  • Higher student retention (Bell and Frost, 2012; Reason, 2009)
  • Higher grades and better course performance (Sailor, 2016)
  • Increased self-efficacy (Williams and Tataku, 2011)
  • Reduction of procrastination (Fritzsche, Young, and Hickson, 2003).
  • Intellectual, social, and emotional development (Tinto, 2012)

The Writing Center hopes to see many new—and returning—students at the Jones White Writing Center for tutoring, workshops, and more this term!


  • Bell, D. C., & Frost, A. (2012). Critical inquiry and writing centers: A methodology of assessment. The Learning Assistance Review, 17(1), 15-26.
  • Fritzsche, B. A., Young, B. R., & Hickson, K. C. (2003). Individual differences in academic procrastination tendency and writing success. Personality and Individual Differences, 35(7), 1549-1557.
  • Griswold, G. (2003, Dec.). Writing centers: The student retention connection. Academic Exchange Quarterly.
  • Reason, R. D. (2009). An examination of persistence research through the lens of a comprehensive conceptual framework. Journal of College Student Development, 50(6), 659-682.
  • Salem, Lori. "Decisions... Decisions: Who Chooses to Use the Writing Center?." The Writing Center Journal (2016): 147-171.
  • Tinto, V. (2012). Completing college: Rethinking institutional action. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Williams, J. D., & Takaku, S. (2011). Help seeking, self-efficacy, and writing performance among college students. Journal of Writing Research, 3(1), 1-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.17239/jowr-2011.03.01.1