International Students’ Perspectives on Online Interfaces, Identity, and Environment in a U.S. Writing Center


  • Kristen Nichols-Besel Bethel University
  • Xi Yu University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • Kirsten Jamsen University of Minnesota-Twin Cities



international students, writing centers, academic support, identity, technology, U.S. higher education


This article investigates the perspectives of international students in the United States who use writing centers to support their identities and to meet their writing needs and goals. Using survey and focus group data to look closely at how students use one writing center’s online Profile and more broadly at the accessibility and responsiveness of writing center services, this study found that students have much to say about their place within writing centers and how writing consultants can best support them. Listening to these international student voices reveals how writing centers and other student support services must take the initiative in opening up conversations with and among our students to create the conditions for their success.


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Author Biographies

Kristen Nichols-Besel, Bethel University

Dr. Kristen Nichols-Besel is Multilingual Coordinator and Writing Center Faculty Tutor in the Academic Enrichment and Support Center in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), and Teaching Partner in the Doctor of Education programs (EdD) at Bethel University. She teaches writing courses for multilingual students, consults with faculty and student tutors on best practices for working with multilingual learners (CAS), and teaches academic writing and qualitative research (EdD). Kristen earned her Ph.D. in Literacy Education at the University of Minnesota, where she also served as a graduate writing consultant in the Center for Writing.

Xi Yu, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Dr. Xi Yu is the evaluation specialist at International Student and Scholar Services at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In her current role since 2015, Xi has conducted numerous evaluation projects and research among international students, staff and faculty using data to guide campus priorities and better serve the international student population. She earned her doctorate degree in organizational leadership, policy, and development at the University of Minnesota.

Kirsten Jamsen, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Dr. Kirsten Jamsen is the Director of the Center for Writing at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and Co-Director of the Minnesota Writing Project. She began her work in writing centers at Carleton College and continued at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she received her M.A. and Ph.D. She is active in many national and regional professional organizations, and co-founded the Writing Center Professionals of Minnesota and the E12 Writing Centers Collective. With her colleagues, she studies writing consultancy, writing across the curriculum, teacher professional development, and academic technologies in writing centers and classrooms.


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How to Cite

Nichols-Besel, K., Yu, X., & Jamsen, K. (2022). International Students’ Perspectives on Online Interfaces, Identity, and Environment in a U.S. Writing Center. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(1).



Empirical Article