International Write-In, Dec. 4-7, 2014

Last week Pam Bromley mentioned that the small liberal arts college writing programs and writing centers consortium is hosting an International Write-In from December 4-December 9,2014 with most schools hosting a write-in the evening of December 7.  As many of you already do, Swarthmore for the past few years has been hosting what we call a write-in between the end of classes and beginning of exams.  Here is a document we put together on the event.

This year the coordinators at Swarthmore thought it would be interesting to see how many schools also held or would be interested in holding a write-in the same evening.  We have two goals in making this a national event:

1) We want to let people on and off campus know the value of a writing community. Our program’s mantra is, “You’re not alone,” and we think the write-ins have been another way of showing students the meaning behind the mantra.  By having more schools host write-ins, we can send this message even louder.

2) We want to increase our use of social media. During the days and evenings of the write-in we can communicate with each other via Facebook, Skype, Twitter, etc.  The hashtag for the event is #nationalwritein

We currently have 21 schools from three countries participating in the event.  Two former Swarthmore Writing Associates who work in the writing centers of NYU-Shanghai and NYU-Abu Dhabi will also host a write-in, which is how the national write-in turned into an international event.

You don’t need to be at a small college to join the festivities.  If your school is already hosting a similar event, and you want to be included as part of the International Write-In just let me know.  You can e-mail me at

During those six days we hope to build a social media buzz around writingcenters and the work we do to build writing communities on our campuses. Send photos from your centers. Post the number of conferences held in a given day or night. Let’s make the work we do visible to those on and off of our campuses.

Be well,


Schools hosting a write-in December 4-9,2014.

Bates College

Bucknell University

Claremont McKenna College

Denison University

Franklin and Marshall College

Harvey Mudd College

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Kenyon College

NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Shanghai

Oberlin College

Occidental College

Pitzer College

Pomona College

Rhodes College

Swarthmore College

University of Puget Sound

Wellesley College

Westminster College

Wittenberg University

Wofford College

call for blog editor closing

Recently, we posted a call for applications for the position of editor for this blog, and we thank the excellent pool of candidates who applied. Because of this, we are about to close the call, so if there’s anyone who is interested, please let Alan Benson ( and Muriel Harris ( hear from you soon.

Call for Blog Editor


Call for a Blog Editor

for “Connecting Writing Centers Across Borders”

The Writing Lab Newsletter (which will become WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship, beginning with vol. 40, the Sept. 2015 issue) is looking for an editor for the Connecting Writing Centers Across Borders (CWCAB) blog. CWCAB, as the name implies, is an international blog with a goal of fostering communication between people in all countries and on all continents who are engaged in writing center work. It’s a space for writing center professionals and tutors working mostly outside the United States to chat, exchange ideas and photos, post announcements, and/or ask questions. The CWCAB Editor will be responsible for encouraging and500 registered users, to new audiences.

This position requires no technical knowledge or previous work with blogs. WLN hosts the blog, and experienced staffers can help with any technological questions.

If you are interested, please send a short statement aboutwriting centers in various countries to both of the following people:

• Alan Benson: mail


• Muriel Harris: mail to:


Invitation to reflect on “Minimalist Tutoring”


The Writing Lab Newsletter (as of Sept., 2015 WLN will be WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship) inaugurates its “Reflections” section that invites you to respond to an older article published in WLN.

First, a general introduction to Reflections, and then an invitation to respond to Jeff Brooks’ “Minimalist Tutoring”:


General introduction to Reflections:

As part of our 40th anniversary celebration of Writing Lab Newsletter (soon to become WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship), we invite your participation in reflecting on some of the articles that have appeared over all those years. How has some particular article influenced writing center scholarship and work? How have you used that article in tutor training? Why or how? How do tutors respond to it? How has an article influenced your work (e.g., for organizing or constructing the work of your writing center? why and how?) What comments would you have to offer the author? How have the goals and pedagogy of tutoring changed since this article appeared? We offer these to you as possible thought-starters when a particular  article is announced for you to reflect, comment, or respond to as each article is selected. And we invite you to recommend articles for these Reflections. To browse or search among the past volumes of WLN to find an article you want to suggest for this section, go to the open archives on our website <>. Send suggestions for future articles to Muriel Harris (

 We recommend that your reflections be limited to 100-200 words and encourage responses from directors who have known a particular article and used or modified it, as well as from consultants who are first visiting the article or have re-shaped their tutoring after reading and discussing it.  Send your reflections on a particular article that has been selected to the submissions section on the WLN website ( We will notify you in advance as to whether your response will be published.


Reflecting on Jeff Brooks’ “Minimalist Tutoring”

The Writing Lab Newsletter (soon to become WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship) initiates this “Reflections” section with the most often-quoted article in WLN’s history, Jeff Brooks, “Minimalist Tutoring: Making the Student Do All the Work,” first printed in 1991. Given that it was published 23 years ago, how has writing center theory and pedagogy changed? Have changes resulted in new thinking or modification of the concept of minimalist tutoring, changes such as the internationalization of writing centers across the globe, the technological development that brings tutors and writers together electronically, the further development of composition practice and theory, the changes in FYC, the increase in students whose first language is not English, the students with disabilities who come to the writing center, etc. How do you make use of the Brooks’ article or modify it when you ask tutors to read it? Given Brooks’ emphasis on the physical presence of tutor and writer and the fact that so much tutoring occurs online, via chat, video, Skype, e-mail, etc., why has Brooks’ approach remained, to a certain extent, a best practice for many of us?  Or is minimalist tutoring really still relevant? Why? What’s your personal response to Brooks’ approach? If such an approach should be updated, how? Why? Have you noticed a shift in the way students respond to minimalist tutoring over the years? We offer these questions as thought-starters to help you reflect on what your response might be.

 You can download the issue with Brooks’ article on the WLN website: <>. Or find Vol. 15.6 in your writing center’s collection of issues. Please limit your responses to perhaps 100-200 words or less, and submit your comments through the WLN website “Submissions” section.

 Deadline for submission: December 12, 2014. We will notify you in advance as to whether your reflection will be published.


WLN: Special Issue Call–Graduate Student Support


Call for Proposals:  Nov/Dec 2015 Special Issue of WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship  (our name change starts with Vol. 40.1, Sept. 2015)

Guest edited by

• Susan Lawrence, Director, George Mason University Writing Center

• Terry Zawacki, Director Emerita, George Mason University Writing Center

Supporting Graduate Student Thesis and Dissertation Writers in the Writing Center

 Writing centers are key participants in increasingly vigorous campus conversations focused on improving graduate student completion rates and time to degree, and the role writing might play in both. As sites of graduate writing support, however, we are aware of our possible limitations: the paradigmatic writing tutorial accommodates papers much shorter than the typical thesis or dissertation chapter, and effective collaboration and feedback on these projects call for disciplinary and research expertise that tutors may not share with advanced graduate student writers. Yet graduate students continue to call on us for assistance, and, in response, writing centers have developed an array of programs and strategies for providing writing support, as evidenced by recent scholarship on dissertation boot camps (Lee and Golde, Simpson, Powers), graduate writing groups (Phillips), and graduate fellows programs (Gillespie, Heiderecht, and Lamascus).

For this special issue, we invite proposals for articles up to 3000 words that explore, reflect on, or report on the programs and strategies by which writing centers support graduate student writers working on theses and dissertations. We welcome articles that demonstrate an awareness of writing center scholarship in practice and that address 

·      •  Tutoring as well as other models of graduate writing support focused on thesis and dissertation writing

·      • Curricula for training tutors to work with graduate student thesis and dissertation writers

·      •  Specific strategies for working in tutoring or consulting sessions with thesis and dissertation writers

·      •  Programs and strategies for supporting multilingual graduate student thesis and dissertation writers

·      •  Programs and strategies for supporting graduate student thesis and dissertation writers in specific disciplines

·      •  The institutional arrangements by which we provide this support, for example, independent graduate writing centers vs. incorporating graduate support programs into existing centers

 Given the reach of WLN (soon to be WCS), we are also eager to receive proposals that address writing center contexts outside of the U.S.

Proposals will be accepted though January 5, 2015.

Invitations to submit full articles will be issued by January 19, 2015.

Manuscripts will be due on April 13,  2015.

Proposal format: Please submit a 150 – 200 word proposal explaining the topic, background scholarship and/or your own research on the topic, and your plans for structuring a 3000-word article on this important topic. Send the proposal to Susan Lawrence ( and Terry Zawacki ( Please provide full contact information with your submission.



Writing Lab Newsletter will be changing its name

Waaaay back in 1977, when I started WLN, those of us who were opening new or developing existing writing centers needed a way to keep in touch. In those ancient days before the Internet and e-mail, I thought a newsletter would help us to keep in touch with each other and share information or resources or just let each other know where we were. Over the years, WLN morphed into a journal with articles that are peer reviewed, a scholarly publication. So it is now a journal, not a newsletter, and it’s time to recognize that Writing Lab Newsletter is no longer a name that fits appropriately. But we want to hang on to a bit of our past and not forget where we started from, the WLN part.

Beginning with Vol. 40.1, in September, the publication will be (drum roll, please…..)

WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship

Eventually, instead of referring to WLN, we’ll use WCS as a shorthand when we don’t stop to spell out the full name, and we invite you to do so also. I hope you like the new name as much as we do.


What’s happening–News about the Writing Lab Newsletter

The Writing Lab Newsletter editorial staff has had an interesting summer thinking about expanding and improving WLN. And now we have some announcements and requests for your feedback. Here’s an overview of what we’re about and what questions we have for you. I’ll space out fuller explanations in several posts over the next few days so that you don’t have to wade through everything at once. Instead, read whichever ones interest you and for which you have suggestions:

• Our forthcoming new name!
As we look forward to starting our 40th volume in September, 2015, we recognize that WLN has grown and morphed and thus deserves a new and more appropriate name. We’ll post more about our forthcoming name change in another e-mail.

• Our Reflections section, starting soon
When articles appear in WLN, authors present their ideas, theories, experiences, or discussion. But there’s no conversation or reflection by you as readers. But in writing center circles, we prefer back-and-forth conversation, not being talked at. So, WLN will be adding Reflections, a space for reader response— your conversation and comments about a designated article.

Our focus on special topic issues
We think our readers and the field will be well-served by special topic issues and need your help in suggesting what those topics should be. We’ll offer some suggestions in future e-mails, but we need to hear from you. What topics do you want to write about for a special issue? What topics do you want or need to read more about?

• Our as-yet unnamed resource database
We appreciate the tutors and directors who have volunteered to build a large database of links to online materials that are relevant for writing centers. We’ll find and post links to various topics discussed in listserv posts; on websites; in online articles, videos, blogs; and other resources. But we can use more developers. And we need a name for this list of bookmarked resources, so what should we name this database? And if you or some of your staff members want to volunteer to help develop this database, contact our WLN Asst. Development Editor, Lee Ann Glowzenski:

Call for WLN Online Writing Center Resources Developers

Dear writing center colleagues,

The Writing Lab Newsletter (WLN) is building a resource bank of links to online resources for all aspects of writing center work. We are currently bookmarking useful sites and are looking for volunteers to help with this huge project. When we have a reasonably rich set of resources, we’ll offer the site to anyone who is searching for links to topics that we often ask about, e.g., questions that come up repeatedly on writing center listservs and this blog. In response, people offer assistance and links, and it’s those messages and links that we want to bookmark and keep in a resource bank, along with resources such as job descriptions, promotional and instructional videos created by and for writing centers, tutor training materials, data collection software, etc., etc.. What we hope to build is a go-to place for links to such topics. At this beginning stage, we don’t yet have a specific list of topics to search for and would expect the topic list to grow and grow and grow, along with a continually expanding bank of links to resources. If you don’t have time to volunteer to help build the resource bank but have topics to suggest, please let us know.

So, this is a call for helpers to build this site, people whom we’ll call “WLN Online Writing Center Resource Developers (WLN OWCRD) Hey, titles are important for CVs and resumes! But I wish we had an easier or clever acronym.

Some qualities we are looking for:
• A reasonable familiarity with writing center listservs and writing center work so that you know what questions are perennial ones and need to be bookmarked for people looking for resources on such topics. (Links would be to websites, relevant posts on WCenter, EWCA, and WPA-L, etc., and posts to other relevant listservs with archives, plus links to specific articles in WLN, WCJ, Praxis, etc.)

• A reasonable familiarity with working online and searching for sources

• A willingness to spend time learning to work with Diigo, the software we’re using to build this resource

If you are interested in joining this project, please send an e-mail to Lee Ann Glowzenski and Alan Benson:mailto: . Please put WLN OWCRD in the subject line and respond to these questions:
• Why are you interested in this?
• What experience do you have with WCenter and writing center work?
• What topics would you suggest? And what sites or listservs or other sources might you be interested in searching to link to?
• How much time could you volunteer each week and for how long (this semester? this year? longer?) do you foresee devoting to this?
• Anything else you want to share with us?

We’ll, of course, appreciate notes that are reasonably brief, but also complete enough to let us see if you would be a helpful contributor. Brilliant suggestions for the WLN Writing Center Resource Bank are also welcomed. 😉

Muriel Harris
Professor Emerita of English
Writing Lab Director (retired)
Writing Lab Newsletter, Editor
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Prentice Hall Reference Guide

“If you cannot write well, you cannot think well; if you cannot think well, others will do your thinking for you.” — Oscar Wilde.

New issue of the Writing Lab Newsletter

The first issue of Vol. 39 of the Writing Lab Newsletter is now published and winging its way to subscribers’ mailboxes, and the Tutor’s Column is available to read online. Previous issues are, as always, available in the open-access archive:

“What a Difference Three Tutoring Sessions Make: Early Reports of Efficacy from a Young Writing Center” – L. Lennie Irvin

“Creating a Space for Business Communication” – Elizabeth Tomlinson

“Review of Researching the Writing Center, by Rebecca Babcock and Therese Thonus”- Reviewed separately by Sherry Wynn Perdue and Sarah Littlejohn

Tutor’s Column: “The Writing Space: A Forum for the Technological Age” – Elizabeth Busekrus

Plus the Conference Calendar of forthcoming writing center conferences.

Invitation to be a visiting scholar at the University of South Africa

I am a lecturer at the University of South Africa, UNISA, and my main interests are in academic writing at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Many of our students struggle with writing and I have dedicated my time into supporting students in this area. I intend planning a 3-4 year project examining our practices for teaching writing, especially for EFL, ESL and EFL students. I have several requests:

· First, I invite any of your colleagues to my university in 2015 or 2016 as a visiting scholar, to offer workshops and a presentation or two.

· Second, I request 5 or 6 scholars in academic writing who are willing to come to UNISA for a year or so beginning in 2015 or 2016. The USA Embassy here in Pretoria offers funding for US scholars and my university can also contribute to the funding.

· Third, is it possible to come up with a collaborative research project on student writing between UNISA and a university?

Mirriam MK Lephalala, PhD (Edinburgh)
Associate Professor
Manager: The Povey Centre
Coordinator: Short Learning Programmes
Department of English Studies
University of South Africa
Office 6-38, Theo van Wyk Building
Tel: 012 429 6396
Fax: 012 429 6222

Writing Center Promotional Videos

Clint Gardner, at Salt Lake Community College (in the USA), has compiled a list of promotional videos that some writing centers have developed. The videos are intended to help students on their campus learn about their writing center. Two new ones just added to that list are from Javeriano Writing Center (in Columbia) in Spanish and from Westminster College (in the USA) in English. To view the list:

If you have a video about your writing center and wish to share it, please do post it to the blog.

Speakers of languages other than English: Please post to the blog in that language. The translation button should help those of us who don’t know that language to read it.



Survey for Peer Tutors Outside the U.S.

A student at the Fashion Institute of Technology is working on a study about peer writing tutors outside the United States. If you work with, know, or are a peer writing tutor working in a center outside the United States, please help Nkem Chukwumerije learn more about your experiences.

If your writing center is outside the U.S., please share this survey with your tutors.


CFP: CCCC Workshop on Research About Writing in Higher Education Outside the US

We are inviting brief proposals for up to twenty-four researcher-participant roles in a U.S. College Conference on Composition and Communication (CCCC) workshop focused on research about writing in higher education outside of the U.S.

We know that researchers around the world are interested in finding sites, physical and figurative, for serious cross-national conversation that includes multiple research traditions.

For the eighth year, we are planning to propose a workshop that (if accepted) will take place at the annual CCCC conference. The conference next year is in Tampa, Florida, US, from March 18-21, 2015.

The workshop is tentatively titled Deep Rewards and Serious Risks in International Higher Education Writing Research: Comfort Zones and Contact Zones.

This workshop, along with the exchanges we have before meeting at the conference, is designed to make space available at the CCCC conference for extended time to read, process, think through, and discuss in detail each other’s work. We have learned, through seven previous workshops and other international exchanges, that we all need this kind of time for real exchange, given that we come from different linguistic, institutional, political, geographic, theoretical and pedagogical places.

We want to engage researcher-participants from many countries and research traditions in an equal exchange dialogue, learning from each other: the primary focus is on the writing research itself.

The research can be focused on teaching or studying writing in any language. We are willing to help with translation of a text into English as needed, if the paper is accepted for the workshop.

The brief proposal should describe a research project you would be interested in sharing with other facilitators and participants. It can be completed or in process. By research, we mean a project with a focused research question, an identified methodology (qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic, historical, discourse analysis, etc), and the collection of data in some form.

The project should be “international” for a U.S. audience, by which we mean (*only* for the purposes of this U.S. call!!) carried out by either scholars in countries other than the U.S. or scholars collaborating deeply across borders, including U.S. borders, in any language. Your role in the workshop would be to provide a draft text about the research by the end of December 2014, to read the other facilitators’ texts before attending the CCCC conference, and to participate in the day-long workshop by leading a discussion about your project and participating in discussions of a subset of others’ projects.

View the 2014 Workshop Proposal to get an idea of what the overall proposal will look like. We’ve included the titles from last year’s workshop to give you an idea of the kinds of work we’ve exchanged in past sessions. We will send out a draft of the 2015 overall proposal when you send in your project description. You will be welcome to suggest changes to the overall proposal at that point. You may notice that the proposal is written with a U.S. readership in mind–this is because the proposal review committee is comprised primarily of U.S. scholars. We seek to convince this audience that many CCCC attendees have much to learn from writing research in traditions other than the ones they find most familiar–that writing research needs multiple perspectives from multiple contexts and traditions. We also know how critical it is for all scholars to be directly engaged with projects and research models from multiple research traditions.

Please submit your proposal by April 25th. The International Workshop Proposal Template includes the questions you will need to answer as you prepare your proposal. This proposal can be quite informal (it serves to help us determine appropriate projects, and only the title will appear in the program), so please feel free to send something along.

We strongly encourage you to submit a proposal to the CCCC as individual presenters, as well. The CCCC format does allow individuals to present at both a workshop and a concurrent session (it does not allow individuals to present at more than one concurrent session).

Thank you! Please write with any questions at all.

Cinthia Gannett and Tiane (Christiane) Donahue

CFP: Sixth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia

The Sixth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia will be held on Saturday,
March 8, 2014, in Tokyo, Japan. It will be hosted this year by J.F.
Oberlin University in conjunction with the Writing Centers Association
of Japan.

Proposals are sought in all areas of research and practice related to
writing centers as well as the teaching and learning of writing. Both
research- and practice-based presentations are welcome. The submission
deadline is February 3, 2014.

For more information, visit the conference site.

CFP: New collection on writing research & pedagogy in the MENA region

As Composition Studies and related disciplines make a “global turn,” there is an increasing need for research into post-secondary writing practices and pedagogy in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region. Scholarship emerging from this region needs to be shared globally, as it will shape how writing centers, writing programs, and WID/WAC initiatives – in the region and outside of it – will respond to the increasing globalization of higher education, as well as to international discussions about World Englishes and other language varieties and translingual approaches to writing and writing pedagogy.

In order to address these needs, the editors seek 300-word chapter proposals for a multi-authored volume, tentatively titled Writing Research and Pedagogy in the MENA Region, for anticipated publication in the Parlor Press/WAC Clearinghouse’s book series, International Exchanges on the Study of Writing.

The editors welcome proposals in English revolving around institutional policies and practices, writing pedagogies, and/or actual writing practice(s) in the MENA region. Proposed chapters should take evidence-based, theoretically grounded approaches with research methods sufficiently articulated and adequate for the research questions. All proposals will be considered; however, the editors are particularly interested in proposals that address any of the following questions:

  • How is writing – in English or in other languages – defined and/or valued in the MENA context? How might these definitions or values be attached to the diverse historical, linguistic, social, political, and/or religious contexts of the MENA region?
  • In the MENA context, where there are often three or more languages or varieties of language to consider, how are conventional notions of L1/L2 complicated in relation to writing practices and pedagogy?
  • What are the unique challenges and benefits faced by writing program and/or writing center administrators in the MENA context?
  • What can be learned about writing pedagogy and/or practice from the student and/or faculty populations at various institutions of higher education in the MENA region?
  • In what ways is the interdisciplinary nature of writing being addressed in the MENA region? How have Writing in the Disciplines (WID) and/or Writing across the Curriculum (WAC) initiatives been implemented and/or received in the MENA region, and what can be learned from the successes and/or failures of these efforts?
  • What can literacy scholars learn about writing practices and pedagogies from research in the MENA region? What new questions about writing arise when considering this regional context, and how might these questions be best addressed/approached by scholars in and outside of the region?
  • What do our answers to the questions above, and our experiences on the ground, suggest about course design, curriculum planning, and/or program development in both international and U.S. contexts?

Submission details:

Deadline for proposals is March 1, 2014 (300 words). Full chapter submissions will be due September 1, 2014 (5,000-6,000 words). Only original work not previously published and not currently under review elsewhere will be considered. Please send your submission to all three of the editors: Lisa Arnold,; Anne Nebel,; and Lynne Ronesi,

PDF version of the CFP

CFP for MENAWCA 2014 Conference

The conference theme is “Sustaining Writing and Writing Centers in the Middle East-North Africa Region.”

As writing centers grow in the MENA region, questions emerge not only about how to sustain and develop them but also about how they can serve as model centers. What strategies can and should regional writing centers adopt in order to establish a solid presence within institutional frameworks? How can peer tutors, international collaborations, local/regional research initiatives drive the momentum? What alliances within or across academic institutions strengthen writing center continuity and support? What technological initiatives, including use of mobile devices, influence our effectiveness with student writers and as we network with other centers? What theories and practices that grow out of local contexts can promote writing center work both within the MENA region and with other local, regional, and international writing forums? This conference aims to identify multi-faceted variables that promote the sustainability of writing programs, writing centers, and most importantly the dialogue between writers.

The MENAWCA invites students, teachers and other professionals who support student writers to its biennial conference, November 7-8, 2014 at the Canadian University in Dubai.

Deadline for Submissions: April 15th, 2014

Continue reading

Byron L. Stay’s Retirement Roast, by Carl Glover

Byron back in 2008

Byron back in 2008

I am the Rev. Dr. Carl Glover, and I am a writing center evangelist.  I have been blessed for the past 23 years to serve under the leadership of my mentor, colleague, fishing buddy, friend, and fellow evangelist, Dr. Byron L. Stay.

For more than 30 years, Byron Stay has spread the Writing Center Gospel to the far corners of the earth.  You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has done more to advance the Writing Center Movement.  One might call Byron the “Billy Graham” of the Writing Center World.

His list of accomplishments are legion:

  • Founding member of MAWCA as well as the National Writing Centers Association (now IWCA).  Served as President of both organizations.
  • Co-edited several W/C books, wrote numerous articles pertinent to W/Cs.
  • Founded the NWCA (now IWCA) Press
  • Winner of the Distinguished Service Award (the W/C world’s equivalent of the purple heart)
  • Has run 18 marathons with more on the way
  • Avid motorcyclist, chess player, and a fine trumpet player, as he will demonstrate in a minute. Continue reading