Drafted to Tutor
by Mary Kate Skehan '12
July 1, 2012
In addition to working with Lt. Col. Pedro Vazquez de Prada on his English skills, political-science and policy-management double major Anna Krenkel '12 interned last fall at the War College.
“The Writing Center has officially gone global,” says Noreen Lape, director of the writing program.
Through a new partnership between Dickinson and the U.S. Army War College, student tutors in the Multilingual Writing Center are assisting senior foreign military officers with coursework writing assignments.
Each year, the U.S. Army chief of staff invites approximately 70 senior military officials from more than 60 countries to attend the War College as International Fellows (IF). The officers study military doctrine and concepts as well as national and theater-level strategies. This year, 14 of those IFs have visited Dickinson’s Norman M. Eberly Multi-lingual Writing Center a total of 72 times to receive assistance from student tutors on their writing assignments. The IFs range in rank from lieutenant colonel to brigadier general, and they represent Bangladesh, Brazil, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Mongolia, Nepal, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.
The Writing Center, which offers tutoring in a dozen languages, has steadily grown its international focus since Lape began as writing program director in 2010. Student tutoring staff has doubled in the last year to accommodate more foreign-language tutoring. Lape notes that because of Dickinson’s foreign-language academic requirement, “every [student] at Dickinson is a first- and second-language learner. The college has a global mission, and the Writing Center fits into that.”
Because of its international focus, Lape thought the Writing Center would be perfect for the job when War College writing instructor Jeremy Beussink approached the English department looking for tutors last spring. Dickinson has multiple partnerships and collaborations with the War College, and she saw an opportunity to expand them further through the IF tutoring program.
From the perspective of the War College, the program has been a great success. “We have received very positive and thrilled feedback,” Lape says, noting that the War College invited tutors who had worked with IFs to a reception in December as an expression of gratitude.
More important for Lape, however, is the opportunity for tutors to work with IFs. “As a political-science major, [I find] their thoughts on these issues enhance [my] class discussion,” says Anna Krenkel ’12. She also thinks her political-science specialty helps her as a tutor: “I bring more to the table as a tutor, because they’re writing on issues I’m more knowledgeable about.”
Read a first-person account by Lt. Col. Pedro Vazquez de Prada, one of the many International Fellows who visited the Writing Center.