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Student Communication Center Strengthens Peer-Led Interactions

A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers recently reported that the top three attributes most sought after by employers are leadership, teamwork, and the ability to write well.

The TLU Student Communication Center (SCC) is working to enhance students’ skills in all of those areas. Led by Director and Associate English Professor Margaret Gonzales and Associate Professor and Assistant Director Amelia Koford, the SCC sets itself apart from similar programs by offering support in written, spoken, and visual communication.

Koford, who is also the university’s outreach & information literacy librarian, says very few campuses have centers like the TLU SCC.

“We believe that all types of communication are similar, because they all require the creator to make choices based on audience and purpose,” she said. “We focus on developing practices that students can use in a variety of classes and in their professional lives, not just for one project. We want students to get into the habit of drafting, getting feedback, and revising. Scheduling an SCC appointment is a great way for students to give themselves an internal deadline for a draft and working with a consultant can take away some of the loneliness and procrastination that come with projects.”

According to Gonzales, the SCC has 12 trained student consultants who work with others on any of their written, visual, or oral communication projects in any discipline at any level. The center also allows them to work as individuals or in groups and even encourages additional training in specific communication requirements for different majors.

This spring, the SCC has more than 80 hours of available consultant hours per week—more than double the hours offered last year. Gonzales also says professors receive a report every Friday or Monday letting them know which students in their discipline had a session. The report includes details about the length of the appointment, the level of the student’s engagement, and what they brought to the session.

Koford says the program works both ways in that the students receiving help benefit, as do those overseeing each session.

“Working as a peer consultant is a rewarding on-campus job that’s great professional development,” she said. “Students can make an SCC appointment by visiting our MyTLU page or They can create an account using their TLU email address and select an available time."

If you are a student who’s interested in becoming a consultant, please email Professor Koford.

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