Director's Bulletin: The Writing Center By The Numbers
Back in 2013, we published a short, by-the-numbers look at our writing center. We were a much different unit back then (we had a staff headcount of 29, not the 46 we have today), and the purpose of that post was to let our readers know that they were not alone in seeking writing support. We wanted to show that The Walden Writing Center was a not a refuge for the compositionally inept or a leper colony for the grammatically impaired (stigmas sometimes associated with writing centers), but rather a place that is designed to be as much a part of your university experience as completing coursework, talking with your professor, or nervously checking your grades after an assignment is due.
With a sizable increase in staff headcount late last year, I thought it’d be fun to revisit our stats, see how much our reach has grown, and reemphasize with our readers that your interest in writing support does not make you an outlier, but rather a member of a pretty big (and still growing!) community.
And now for some 2016 stats with some accompanying numbers for context:
- When we close out the year, our Writing Instructor Team will have conducted almost 11,000 paper reviews. Assuming each essay submitted was at least 6 pages long, that team will have read roughly 66,000 pages of student work or roughly 16.5 million words, meaning that our instructor team has read the equivalent of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings over 35 times in the last 12 months!
- Not to be outdone, our team of editors will have reviewed nearly 1,400 dissertations this year. Assuming each dissertation was around 150 pages long, that team will have read 210,000 pages of student work or roughly 52.5 million words, the equivalent of reading the entire Harry Potter series nearly 50 times in 2016!
- Ever wonder what sorts of folks read all those words? Consider this: The Walden Writing Center employs 46 full-time writing professionals who hold over 95 degrees!
- As many of you know, our professionals and our Academic Writing Assistants are available in others ways, too. We responded to over 12,000 e-mails in 2016 and chatted with over 3,000 students, just more than the entire population of Afton, Minnesota, a 30-minute drive from our Minneapolis offices!
- Or perhaps you attended a webinar this year; if so you’d be one of nearly 7,000 students. And if you watched an archive of a webinar, you’d be in good company: Another 7000,000 viewed one of our recordings, the equivalent of every domestic employee working at McDonald’s attending or watching one of our webinars at least once!
- Or maybe you’ve seen us in a course. We visited over 280 courses; that’s over 5 times as many national parks as you can visit in the United States!
- Or did you download one of our templates? Those were downloaded over 250,000 times, the equivalent of the entire populations of Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Marshall Islands, Monaco, and San Marino downloading our files at least once over a 12 month period.
- You might be in a smaller subset if you accessed one of our interactive Modules this year, but you’re certainly not alone. About 4,000 students took our modules this year, about the number of passengers that can fit on a Boeing 747-400.
- The Writing Center’s website, which houses many of the resources listed above, had over 3.5 million page views this year; that’s a view for every resident of Chicago.
- Our social media accounts (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, and our humble Blog) were no slouch either. We reached over 1.3 million people in 2016, a bit more than the entire population of San Diego.
- If you saw us at a residency this year, this may or may not surprise you depending on where you attended: The Center worked with over 16,000 students at residencies; that’s about as many folks that can fit in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, home of the Islanders and Nets, without having to notify the fire marshal!
If there’s one thing I hope this somewhat silly exercise has shown, it’s that if you have sought out our support in 2016, you’re not alone. Regardless of what services you’ve used, your peers at Walden, although you may not see them, are there with you, by the plane-full, the city-full, the country-full, engaged in this perfectly ordinary university experience of using the Writing Center.
If you haven’t used our services before, well, what’s stopping you?
Brian Timmerman is the Director of the Walden University Writing Center. His skill sets include, among other things, leadership and googling statistics for comparative purposes.
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