SEEKING YOUR RESPONSE: How Are Writing Centers Working Out within Learning Centers?

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-10-32-18-amWLN editor, Dr. Mickey Harris, writes with a special announcement:

More and more writing centers now exist within or are moving into learning centers (or Student Success Centers or Academic Skills Centers, or whatever name they are given), but how are they faring? This complex question needs to be explored from numerous perspectives and by numerous voices, so we at WLN have decided to ask you to identify problems you’re solving and write about positive aspects of existing within a learning center and how you achieved success.

What wisdom, insights, solutions can you pass along to others? What are conditions that could prove to be problematic? Consider your audience as other writing center directors who are wondering how to fit in or improve their writing center and want to learn from colleagues who have clarified problems and found solutions. This will be a collaborative effort of as many voices as we can fit in to an issue of WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship.

Please send your 1500-word (Works Cited included in that number) responses to the editors:
Kim Ballard: <kim.ballard@wmich.edu>
Lee Ann Glowzenski <laglowzenski@gmail.com>
Muriel Harris <harrism@purdue.edu>

Some suggestions:
• Tell colleagues about what works, not what might work. Why? Under what conditions? What larger framework can you put this in?
• Historical accounts aren’t transferable to other contexts, so avoid narratives for the sake of narrative.
• Some keywords and potential questions to focus on:
IDENTITY:
• How does a writing center maintain its identity within a learning center?
• Are there power conflicts or situations to pay attention to?

PHILOSOPHY/MISSION/CULTURE
• In what ways are the philosophy or mission or culture of learning center different from that of a writing center?
• How can these similarities and differences be potentially constructive or destructive? Why?

OPERATIONAL CONDITIONS
• What operational advantages and disadvantages come with being part of a Learning Center/Commons?
• What resources (space, expertise, budget, administrative support, institutional ethos) might be gained, lost, or shared through such an arrangement?
• What staffing concerns, such as status, need to be identified? Why?
• How can the writing center fit into the hierarchy of the learning center that is advantageous to the writing center?
• What are conditions to avoid because they are disadvantageous?

If you envision this response as potentially leading to an article for WLN later on, please let us know.

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