Posted on: April 1, 2024 Posted by: Carol Borges-Moux Comments: 0

Both the Speaking and Writing Center and the Tutoring Center at Moraine Valley Community College have an important thing in common: a desire to assist and support students every step of the way while they navigate through the stressful – sometimes daunting – process of writing and speaking. 

The Speaking and Writing Center(S & WC), located in room A258, is one of the many resources provided by Moraine Valley Community College. It aids community members and students who might need extra help or are struggling with speech or composition. Everyone is encouraged to bring personal, course work, or business-related pieces to the Center to be reviewed by a consultant, who will provide feedback. The Speaking and Writing Center offers its services to the community and students through the execution of a peer-based approach. This allows students to work with others, providing a strong sense of relatability and understanding. 

The S & WC focuses on the specific needs of students and, when necessary, directs them to other beneficial resources on campus that could make a difference in their academic work. Associate Margaret Tenerelli shares more on how the center helps students with their writing and speaking needs. Tenerelli mentions that there are moments where students stop by for assistance with finding credible sources for a research paper. She continues by adding, “We really encourage students to use the library. It’s an amazing resource here on campus.” The Speaking and Writing Center’s main priority is to get the students the help they may require. The warm and welcoming atmosphere is inviting, removing any feelings of  intimidation that sometimes prevents students from seeking help. The S & WC also provides technology such as printers, computers, and keyboards with large fonts for students with visual disabilities.

The S & WC provides assistance through multiple 30 to 45 minute sessions, which allow the student and consultant to focus on specific matters one step at a time. Each session allows students to feel more confident. Students are encouraged to send in a copy of their draft and rubric before their appointment. A consultant will discuss the trajectory of the paper and focus of the session. They will proceed by observing and examining the professor’s rubric before reading the piece of writing. The consultant and student focus on specific concerns and work accordingly to meet the needs of the student. When taking notes, a No Pen Policy removes any fear that might present itself when receiving feedback by preventing consultants from taking notes directly on the students’ work. The policy allows students to take their own notes and make changes they feel comfortable with. At the end of the session, a consultant will provide follow up suggestions that can help the student move forward into their next step and, if necessary, schedule another appointment. Students can choose a specific consultant but are encouraged to work with a variety of consultants to receive different perspectives on their writing. 

Additionally, students who have a passion for writing and enjoy helping others, can become consultants. Through a COM-125 course conducted by co-directors Sheryl Bundy and Mike McGuire, interested students are able to learn the necessary skills to become a consultant. For more information, reach out to the S & WC Associates, Mary Currier and Margaret Tenerelli. For assistance with writing projects, students will need to make an appointment by calling (708) 608-4216. Students can also send an email or fill out a form through the Moraine Valley website. Sessions are available in-person, remote, or through conference.

The Tutoring Center (TC) located at room L200, is another resource provided by MVCC to support students who are struggling with courses that require the application of English, including COM, IEL, Reading, and ESL classes, or subjects like Philosophy, History, or Psychology.

Tutor Kristi Derkacy and TC, Jeffrey Carpenter spoke about the purpose, goals, and specialization of the TC.   Carpenter mentioned that the end goal is to help give students confidence. Hopefully as students  learn from the session, they will apply that knowledge and skill to future work down the road. Tutors also want students to know that they have a resource here, friends here, and that they can come in without hesitation, fear, and worry of being judged. The tutors have a desire to be a part of students’ educational journey reassuring them that they are not alone and help is available. Tutors also equip them with the knowledge necessary to succeed. Students are encouraged to come to their appointment with questions so tutors have a better idea on specific ways to help the student. Through the feedback collected from different perspectives, students can have a better understanding on where to move forward with their work.

Staff members  are encouraged to participate in diverse subject training provided by the college which allows up-to-date knowledge to better serve their students and create a safe learning environment. Derkacy stated, “When you arrive here, you feel welcomed, that this is a soft place to land, where you are going to be accepted in your totality unconditionally. We want students to know that the sessions aren’t one sided, that tutors don’t have all the knowledge.”  

She continued, “Tutoring is always reciprocal: We are always learning from our students as much as they are learning from us.”  Tutors help students but they also get to gain knowledge and wisdom from the session, as well.

Students should visit the center as soon as they have a question or start to feel uneasy about a topic, sooner rather than later to prevent the exhaustion and frustration. Students can  move forward with a tutor to receive guidance, and cover any doubt, questions, or needs that might  come up along the way. Students can make an in-person or remote appointment at the Tutoring Center through their MVCC account, by email at, but walk-ins are welcomed.

The Tutoring Center and the Speaking and Writing Center do not compete with one another but provide a hand to struggling students. Both Centers help students with their writing and speaking needs but have different approaches to doing so. While both were created in different time periods and have different origins, the ultimate goal is to support students and be part of their growth regardless of where their journey at Moraine might take them.

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