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A History of the Reading and Writing Center

The BYU-Hawai’i Reading/Writing Center, previously known as the English Skills Lab, was established in 1975. It was created after an accreditation team gave an evaluation pointing out that the student population at BYU-Hawai’i included a surplus of international students, yet did not provide the resources for them to succeed. Faculty members came together to develop the English Skills Lab which helped with all the basic skills of the English language (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). It was located on the second floor of the library where the archives are now located, but in 1982 moved to a central portion of campus near the McKay foyer. Norman Evans, a TESOL professor, began directing the lab and restructured it to be the Reading/Writing Center (RWC). After the move and reorganization, the RWC became a hub on campus! With the growing demand of the center, there were significant changes that expanded the center to begin involving native English speaking students. In addition, tutors from the RWC began to give workshops on specific skills during classes and night times, thus providing students a variety of outlets to improve their English skills. The RWC also took a large step in developing the lab program. This sprang from a predicament in which English remedial classes (prerequisite classes for GE English) were going to cost students money. The RWC proposed a weekly English lab program which increased student’s performance in their GE English classes, saved money, and streamlined language learning. Impressively, the RWC at BYU-Hawai’i also conducts more tutorials in relation to the student population than the majority of reading and writing centers across the United States. Today, the center continues to play a critical role in the skill development of reading and writing for students at Brigham Young University-Hawai’i.