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Couple’s gift supports center’s ability to serve as writers’ resource

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Couple’s gift supports center’s ability to serve as writers’ resource

Professor Emeritus Joan Rosen and her husband, Robert, have made another significant show of support for the Oakland University Writing Center. The couple’s $50,000 gift to the Joan Rosen Endowed Fund will help further the mission of the center, supporting its day-to-day efforts to help produce polished, effective writing projects for those who use the center.

“I taught writing, and I taught teachers to teach writing,” Rosen says. “That was my first love.”

After university personnel proposed a new center in the mid-2000s, the Rosens contributed a $300,000 founding grant combined with seed money from the Mitzelfeld family that made it possible for the writing center to open in 2006 in Kresge Library.

Over the years, the center has offered more than 6,000 consultations across the university. Graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff benefit from a wide range of services that include in-class workshops about proposal writing and plagiarism to the effective use of poster board presentations. Additionally, student consultants, called embedded writing specialists, attend basic writing classes on a weekly basis as mentors for fellow students.

“We’re a resource for all members of the university family,” Sherry Wynn Perdue, writing center director, says.

The center is not about teaching creative writing and poetry. Staff members strive to help visitors create succinct prose that is fine tuned to meet specific needs. Perdue not only appreciates Rosen’s financial contributions, she also respects Rosen’s interest in remaining active at the writing center. Rosen volunteers regularly and works directly with the center’s clients.

“We would not have a writing center today, I believe, without that donation,” Perdue says. “Her attitude is, I’m here for business — let’s get something done.”

Pictured above: Joan Rosen