Vainis Aleksa has been directing the Writing Center since 1996. The Writing Center offers campus-wide writing support for all students and faculty. To serve most effectively, the Writing Center conducts its own research on writing development, assesses feedback from all the students and faculty who use the Center, and integrates evidenced-based practices with the writing interests of the UIC community.
With a team of award-winning writing instructors -- Kim O’Neil & Charitianne Williams -- Vainis has developed a training and professional development program for tutors. Tutors begin by taking a full-credit course on writing education. Each semester, four sections of the course are offered, training a total of 50 new tutors per semester, a portion of whom compete for a paid staff position. For tutors who continue at the Writing Center, Vainis and his team train tutors to work online, lead group activities, manage scheduling, and work with students with advanced and special writing tasks.
The Writing Center has developed several unique features, most notably tutoring specifically for graduate students, writing partnerships for first year students (which include weekly appointments with a mentor tutor), and an idea-development group activity, called “Gallery Walk,” in which classes visit the Writing Center, and tutors and students take on the role of “interested readers” with the purpose of inspiring students to make a fresh investment in their writing assignments.
With each year, the Writing Center serves a greater number and range of students. In 1996, the Writing Center conducted about 600 individual sessions per year. Currently, we offer 8,000 individual appointments and 200 hours of group work for about 6,000 students per year.
In addition to tutoring, Vainis takes great pleasure in teaching courses on writing and literature.
Office: 105 GH, MC 162