Our new WLN Blog co-editors: Ann Gardiner and Brian Hotson

This week’s post is an introduction of our new co-editors, Ann Gardiner, Director of the Writing and Learning Center at Franklin University Switzerland and Brian Hotson, Director of Student Academic Learning Services in the Studio for Teaching and Learning at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada. In their conversation below, they speak to their own experiences coming to writing centers, their own practices in academic writing, and their outlook for the blog. You can contact Ann (agardiner@fus.edu) and Brian (brian.hotson@smu.ca) with any ideas for the blog.

Ann Gardiner

Q:    How did you arrive at your current position?
Ann: To make a long story short, I would say that I went through several side doors to arrive at my current position at Franklin University Switzerland, where I have been Director of the Writing and Learning Center since 2010. With a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, I started my academic career as a professor, but I always worked closely with writing centers and even created one during my first academic appointment in Germany. In a sense, I became a specialist in general education courses, and I found that I really enjoyed helping students how to write better, read better, think better. In my two previous teaching appointments prior to coming to Franklin, I regularly taught writing and was teaching writing courses at Franklin as an adjunct when my predecessor at the Writing and Learning Center took an extended maternity leave. The replacement position became a permanent position in 2010, and I have been happily here ever since.

Brian Hotson

Brian: Unlike Anne, I started outside academia before my first writing centre position in 2008 at the writing centre at Queen’s University in Kingston (Ontario). I worked for many years in academic publishing, as a writer, project manager, and editor, among other things, mainly for Nelson Education. I also spent ten years as a writer and director/producer in educational television. Writing centre work came as a suggestion to me from a friend: I needed a job while completing my Master’s. We moved our family to Halifax in 2009, and in 2010, the directorship of the centre at Saint Mary’s University came available. It seems to really bring together my working skills and experience together.

Q:    What do you like best about working in writing centres?
Brian: Students and sentences. I spend a lot of time thinking about both. I like getting to know the students as a person–when I can–what they want to do academically, as well as how they’re going to take all their experiences and knowledge away with them. There’s great satisfactions to witness a student’s progress in, through, and out of the school. It’s humbling and satisfying!

Ann: As Director of the Writing and Learning Center, I have also gotten to know my tutors well too. Like Brian, I find it extremely rewarding to watch a student or tutor progress. I regularly have fantastic discussions with my students, tutors and academic mentors, who are upper-level students who help professors in their first year seminar courses and whose training I help coordinate. As I mentioned, I really enjoy helping students become better learners, and there is never a dull moment with this endeavor. We are a very small school at Franklin with about 400 students, and as a result I know my students well.

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Call for Submissions: Creative Writing/Center

Amy Hansen is the assistant director of the Appalachian State University Writing Center and a recent graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at Northern Michigan University. She’s joining the CWCAB blog team as a staff writer–and has a great first project!

For my first project at CWCAB, I’d like to solicit and share the creative writing of writing center tutors and administrators here on the blog. I’d love to read poetry and short non-fiction/fiction pieces about writing center work, but I’m just as interested in creative work that’s more abstractly inspired by the practice and pedagogy of tutoring writing. Maybe you have a poem inspired by an interaction with a student in the writing center. Maybe you wrote a reflective profile of yourself as a tutor. Maybe (fingers crossed!) you composed the first writing center rock opera. Whatever it is, however you got there from writing center studies, we want to read it.

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Weekly #WCLinkup: Pinterest and the writing center spaces of UNR, IUP and TAMU

Every week the blog editors would like to highlight a few activities, materials or events related to writing centers from around the globe. We intend this to be a simple, fun weekly list of good reading/memes/links around the web by/for/about writing centers. You can help us by sending us links or those tidbits of information that make our readers smile. 

So for this first post I spent some time on Pinterest and entered the keywords “writing+center” first and found a gYes, I went to the writing centerreat number of virtual writing center spaces curated by parents and teachers for elementary and middle school children. I then added another keyword to the search “university+writing+center” and I came across three digital spaces from three universities. The writing consultants at the University of Nevada, Reno writing center started 12 boards and have so far compiled 138 pins. Why not check out the UNR writing center space on Pinterest now? The board titles range from “Writer’s Block,” “Writing Humor” to ‘Real World Writing.”

The IUP Writing Center has 18 boards so far that include information for “IUP Faculty” but also “Just for Laughs,” “Staying Productive” to “Writing in the News.”

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New Blog Editors!

Recently, the editorial staff of the Writing Lab Newsletter posted a call for an editor for this blog. We greatly appreciate the interest in this position and all the excellent applications. And we are delighted to announce that the position has been filled by two exceptionally qualified candidates:

IMG_9685Josh Ambrose, WLN Blog Editor. Josh is the Director of the Writing Center at McDaniel College where he also teaches multiple classes within the English department; he previously worked at the Writing Center at George Mason while completing his MFA in creative nonfiction. He has a proven interest in communicating across borders and looks forward to many great conversations ahead.

FullSizeRenderSteffen Guenzel, WLN Blog Associate Editor. Steffen joined the Center for Writing Excellence at The University of Central Florida in the summer of 2012. He received his doctorate in 20th century American Literature from the University of Alabama in 2006 after completing a Masters in secondary education (English/Russian/Education) at Leipzig University, Germany, and a year as a Fulbright exchange student. Currently, in his research he examines higher education developments in Germany and Europe in regard to the writing center movement and WAC-related initiatives with the idea to continue to build bridges and connect people.

Both have impressive academic credentials and share our vision of this blog being a space that allows writing center specialists to transcend borders and share, learn, collaborate, and meet each other. Josh and Steffen have a long list of projects to invite you, in Josh’s words, to “explore writing center-minded narratives/approaches [that reach] across borders.

To reach the editors, please email WritingCentersAcrossBorders@gmail.com

Stay tuned–and stay involved!

Alan Benson, Writing Lab Newsletter, Development Editor
and
Muriel Harris, Writing Lab Newsletter, Editor

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 (bensonat@uwec.edu) and Muriel Harris (harrism@purdue.edu) hear from you soon.