by Ellie Dennis
Writing Analytically, mandatory bi-semester Writing Center visits, Easywriter … does Core 1 underestimate the entry-level college student’s capacity to compose a considerably well-developed paper? Does the color-by-numbers formula for an A-level essay encroach upon the institutional purpose of the Writing Center, or is this extreme emphasis on academic literacy simply the introduction of incoming students to the standards of excellence expected in awaiting years?
Incoming students to Millsaps take part in the communal experience of staggering through classroom doors steel-clad—or rather, paper-clad—with Lunsford’sEasywriter, well equipped for their Core 1 seminars. The sentiment has been relayed from both freshman and transfers that, apart from exploring the depths of a particular topic of scholarly interest, the purpose of Core 1 is questionable, particularly regarding the goal of composition development. With its clichéd emphasis on developing critical thinking and communication skills, the course assumes students’ abilities within the spectrum of writing are sub-par or inexpert.
I hold stock in this notion only to the extent that it trespasses upon the conventional territory of the Writing Center. As far as constructive style goes, Core 1 urges a sense of ownership alongside individual thought, highlighting the spark of ingenuity that is so often kindled within the independent mind. The Millsaps Writing Center declares itself to be an institution available to “engage writers in conversation that illuminates the writing process and stimulates idea generation and critical thinking.” Where the two constructs of the Millsaps academia converge to a near-redundant fault is the ever-present conversation of the envisioning and re-envisioning of a piece, along with exploration of a writer’s ideas and the mechanic of a piece. Though in terms of mechanics, Core 1 often assumes the role of the Writing Center and causes a potential lapse in judgment regarding the overall purpose of the establishment, the two coalesce rather than combust with their complimentary characteristics of intelligent individualism and rational organization of these unique thoughts and ideas.