MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

January 28, 2017 

Student success is foremost in Mayville State’s mission


Student success is of utmost importance at Mayville State University, and a fundamental component of our historic and current mission at “The School of Personal Service.”

Mayville State’s newly State Board of Higher Education-approved mission statement reads as follows:

Mayville State University is dedicated to excellence in teaching, service, and scholarship in dynamic, inclusive, and supportive learning environments that are individually focused. We offer quality undergraduate and master's programs enriched with practical experiences to prepare all learners for a global economy.

Among the university’s approved purposes is delivery of flexible programs, instruction, and student services to meet the needs of the individual. Mayville State’s Student Success Center offers services in various areas of support, which are available to all students who would like to enhance their academic experiences. Services and resources include: 

  • Free writing center services;
  • Free traditional study groups and individual tutoring;
  • Referral to counseling services;
  • Services for students with documented disabilities which can include, but are not limited to, extended testing time, testing in a quiet room, test reader, note taker, or a scribe.

Katie Richards is Mayville State’s Director of Student Success and Support Services.

An important Student Success Center component is the writing center, which is directed by Dr. Erin Lord Kunz. The center offers writing consultants with diverse academic backgrounds; one-on-one sessions focused on brainstorming, clarifying ideas, developing drafts, revising, editing, and documentation; 30-minute appointments that are free of charge to students, staff, and faculty; client report forms that are sent to instructors to communicate work done at the writing center; opportunities for instructors to include the writing center as part of their writing assignments; and writing assistance for distance students, using synchronous online sessions (online appointment) or email (eTutoring).

The writing center helps students work through ideas, access their knowledge stores, and effectively put their ideas on paper. The staff takes a rhetorical approach to the writing process, meaning that they help students meet their specific goal for a particular audience, often in the context of an academic course. The writing center is useful for every writer, at every level, and in any discipline.

The writing center has trained staff who look at individual assignments. They sit down with students one-on-one and have a conversation about their writing. The staff comes from diverse educational backgrounds and specialize in looking at writing from all academic disciplines.

In addition to Dr. Erin Lord Kunz, students Nicholas Peterson, Bethany Larson, Carlye Speer, Bailey Baesler, and Kristin Wright are available for writing center tutoring during the spring 2017 semester.

During the Fall Semester of 2016, writing center staff completed 467 appointments. Fifty-three percent of those who attended the writing center came two or more times during the semester, which is a good sign in terms of how students perceive the helpfulness of the services. Staff participated in appointments with 17 students for whom English is not their first language, and 46 appointments were made by self-described distance students.

Mayville State’s student body is diverse in many ways. It is our privilege to educate these leaders of the future and to provide them with the tools they need to be successful.