By Munda Rogers



The Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) on Tuesday, October 20, 2020  opened a Writing Centre, the first at the University of Sierra Leone. The Director of the Writing Centre, Michaela Denison-George, said IPAM took the move to establish the Writing Centre in a bid to provide individualized and collaborative assistance with writing through tutorial services to enhance the writing skills of students. She pointed out that the Centre is not meant to be for remedial services nor are the tutors dispensers of grammatical rules. The rationale for establishing a writing centre is to help students write better papers by providing guidance on the writing process, such as on how to plan a paper, brainstorm ideas, organize ideas into meaningful sections, revise and  rework written text, add variety to sentence structure and to edit and proofread. These skills and abilities are all lacking in many students so our institutions are in dire need of such centres, she added. Based on the learning theory that students can learn more from their peers, the Centre’s tutors are students who have undergone rigorous training.

Director of the Writing Center Michaela Denison-George making her presentation

In his remarks, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of IPAM, Professor Samuel E. Nonie praised the effort of the IPAM Librarian and the team for initiating and developing such a Centre which he described as a novelty in the university. He said every support necessary for the smooth operation of the Writing Centre would be provided. Professor Nonie mentioned that Writing Centres are key auxiliaries in promoting the ability of students in public engagements. Students doing business reports, term papers, job applications, resumes, graduate dissertations, writing contests, and any other writing projects with which students are involved can also make use of the IPAM Writing Centre, he added.

Deputy Vice Chancellor of IPAM Professor Samuel E. Nonie making a statement

Officially launching the Centre, Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, Dr. Ekundayo Walton Gilpin expressed the Bank’s support for the aspirations of the IPAM Writing Centre, noting that writers must recognise that they have a need and be willing to work on improving their writing skills, while understanding that writing is a continuous process which students and tutors should accept as a part of life.

Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, Dr. Ekundayo Walton Gilpin delivering the keynote statement

The Deputy Registrar of IPAM, Emmanuel J. Momoh, said the Centre would instill formidable writing habits that can be carried into adulthood and eventually the work force. He said college students today are stretched thinner than ever thereby reducing their ability to write and to write well.  He pointed out that the Writing Centre will be open to all registered students of the Institute.

The Deputy Registrar of IPAM Emmanuel J Momoh making a statement

According to the Campus Librarian, Professor Miriam Conteh-Morgan (who is also University Librarian), the IPAM Writing Centre was born out her realization that students’ writing skills were not up to required levels and that something needed to be done about it. She therefore piloted a drop-in writing assistance project in 2014 and soon became overwhelmed by demand. In 2016, she shared the idea with Professor Pede Hollist of University of Tampa, USA and together, they developed the concept wherein Prof Hollist would spend a semester of his Fulbright Fellowship at IPAM conducting trainings. She revealed that a group of nine Year-One students were trained to become tutors, including two lecturers, Dr. Nathaniel King and Mrs. Michaela Denison-George, as lead tutors.

 IPAM Campus Librarian Associate Professor Miriam Conteh-Morgan speaking on the background the IPAM Writing Center

Guests at the official launching of the IPAM Writing Center