The Health Sciences Writing Centre has now been changing lives - and grades - for a quarter of a century. Since it first opened its doors in 1994, the centre has been offering resources and writing support for undergraduate and graduate students in kinesiology & physical education, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy/pharmaceutical sciences, social work and PhD students in public health.
Boba Samuels, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, joined the Writing Centre as director in 2016 and has witnessed the incredible impact that it can have.
“Students often write to say they got an amazing grade on their paper or that they appreciate how encouraging or informative their writing instructor was during their appointment,” says SAmuels. “Sometimes they write to say they wished we had more appointments available.”
That impact can go both ways according to Dena Taylor, who acted as director of the Centre from its inception until 2016.
“The students were amazing,” she said. “I learned as much from them as they learned from me.”
Often, the help provided is much more than writing resources.
“Boba adjusts to my needs,” says Daniel Eisenkraft Klein, who is completing his PhD in Exercise Sciences. “Sometimes it's simply to bounce ideas off of her and talk things through, other times it's to do full on proofreading. Other times - particularly late in the semester, as the days grow cold or my thesis grows weak - she is part writing assistant, part therapist.”
Former KPE PhD student Michael Dao is now a professor in the US and says he owes a lot of his success to his time at the Centre.
What’s the difference between coaching and parenting a young athlete?
“Both Dena and Boba helped me become a better and more confident writer,” he said. “And Boba was a great sounding board for my ideas and insecurities as a writer.”
It’s an invaluable resource, and one that Michael hopes more students will use in the coming years.
“It’s not only an academic function but is a place where students can seek help without judgment.”
In recognition of the Centre’s milestone, planning for a 25th anniversary celebration event is under way for later in the year.