A variety of new or expanded services intended to benefit UNLV students are available on campus this semester.
Among the changes are an expanded Writing Center, additional upgraded facilities for the teaching of computer and distance education courses, and a new computer program designed to aid students who use the new Wilson Advising Center in the College of Liberal Arts.
While the Writing Center itself is not new, it has moved to a new location and is offering increased services for students, said center director Tracey Schwarze.
Now located in the Dungan Humanities Building, Room 240, the center is open to any UNLV student seeking help with writing.
Advisers will work with students on anything from term papers to class essays to letters of application, Schwarze said. "The driving factor in the services we offer is: 'What do students need?'
"I think that being able to write competently and write well is probably one of the most valuable skills that students can have as they move into the 'real' world," Schwarze said.
The changes in the center apparently are paying off, as approximately 1,100 students used the center's services during fall semester '96 as compared with 600 during fall semester '95, she said.
Students are encouraged to bring their work to the center before it is in its final form, so that advisers can help during the actual writing process, she said. Advisers can assist with outlines, opening paragraphs, overall structure, and final review. Schwarze emphasized that advisers will help students with their writing, but will not do the work for them.
"Also, I want students to know that this is not strictly a remedial service," Schwarze said. "While some of the students who come to us do need quite a bit of help with their writing, others are already very good writers who are seeking to become even better."
Students can schedule appointments with advisers by calling (702) 895-3908. The center is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, and 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday.
This year the Writing Center also is offering a series of brown bag lunches and other workshops. Instructors from the English Department will discuss a variety of writing issues with students during these sessions. For additional information on the brown bag lunches, call (702) 895-3908.
Meanwhile, in the Classroom Building Complex, improved facilities for the teaching of computer courses and distance education courses have opened this semester.
The new computer facility, located in Room C-129, is allowing students to take the popular basic introduction to computer class on real computers for the first time, said Lori Temple, director of academic computing. Previously, students had access to computers only a few times each semester, she said.
Sixteen sections of the course are being offered this semester. With students working two to a computer, each section can accommodate 60 students.
In room C-125 in the same building, a large distance education classroom designed to handle classes of more than 20 students opened this semester, Temple said.
"We have enough students signing up for distance education courses that this new, larger facility with improved equipment will be very useful," she said.
"This is all part of our effort to become more student-centered at UNLV," Temple said. "We saw a demand by students for both these facilities and moved to meet that demand."
She said the computer classroom and the distance education classroom are linked electronically so that the computer classroom also can be used for distance education computer courses in the future.
Questions about these facilities can be directed to Temple at (702) 895-1886.
Across campus at the new Wilson Advising Center in the College of Liberal Arts, students will find a new computer program that will help them - as well as their advisers in the center - keep better track of how the students are progressing toward graduation.
"This computer program makes it clear which classes students in each of the college's majors must take to earn their undergraduate degrees," said center director Lea Sexton. "When a student has completed a requirement, that is recorded on the student's computerized worksheet. At any time, the student, the adviser, or a faculty member working with the student can check that student's worksheet and determine exactly where a student stands."
"We're confident that this will minimize any confusion on the students' part of what exactly they must do to graduate on time," she said.
Center advisers also can help the student use the computer program to plan a class schedule for the next semester to make sure the student remains on track, Sexton said.
"We encourage students to come in April so that we can help them plan their summer and fall schedules," she said. "We want to do all we can to help the full-time student who wants to graduate in four years achieve that goal."
The center, which currently is open to all freshmen, sophomores, and transfer students in the College of Liberal Arts, is located in Wright Hall, Room 102. It is open 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. The phone number is (702) 895-1997.