Working Towards the Trifecta: A WLN Special Issue on Wellness and Self-Care

Genie Giaimo, Ph.D., is the current Director of The Ohio State University Writing Center. Before her arrival to OSU, she was Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Centers at Bristol Community College. Her research applies RAD-based methodologies to large-scale and often systemic issues within writing center administration, such as perceptions of the writing center in open access institutions, or the impact of ordinary and extraordinary stress on writing center workers. She has published articles in peer reviewed journals such as Language and Literature, Literature and Medicine, European Journal of Life Writing and Praxis: A Writing Center Journal. She is also the special editor of the WLN issue on Wellness and Self-Care. In the time that she doesn’t manage a staff of 52+ graduate and undergraduate consultants, she practices yoga and volunteers at Colony Cats—a volunteer-run organization dedicated to trap and release, as well as the treatment and adoption of stray and surrendered cats, in Columbus, OH. 

WLN blog: Why is this an important issue?
Giaimo: Writing Centers are not just spaces where writing occurs, or where education occurs; they are also spaces where emotionally charged exchanges happen and where burnout can occur among workers.

WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship

WLN blog: Who are the writing centre people writing on wellness and self-care?
Giaimo: Right now there are very few published pieces on this very broad topic. Degner, Wojciehowski, and Giroux’s piece “Opening Closed Doors: A Rationale For Creating a Safe Space for Tutors Struggling with Mental Health Concerns or Illness” (Praxis 2015) is perhaps one of the most cited; however, Mack and Hupp’s recent article (2017) on mindfulness in a community college writing center—also published in Praxis—is another that is unique in its own right. In the larger field of composition, Paula Mathieu studies writing activism and mindfulness and contemplative practice to bring about social justice. Research on the emotional aspects of tutoring and writing center labor have also been studied. There’s a great MA thesis by Christina Rowell on this topic, as well as Alison Perry’s “Training for Triggers: Helping Writing Center Consultants Navigate Emotional Sessions.” So, while it is an emergent field, in writing centers studies, there are certainly a lot of folks interested in the topic and conducting research on it. Also, the 2018 East Central Writing Center Association’s conference—hosted by The Ohio State University—focused on wellness, self-care and labor in writing center work.

WLN blog: Do you see an increased need self-care and wellness in students?
Giaimo: It’s hard to say, I think, anecdotally, that the recent Presidential election and the attendant uncertainty surrounding DACA, and other policies set in-place to protect vulnerable populations among us (such as persons of color, LGBTQ+, graduate students, among many many others) certainly has had an effect on the experiences and emotions of a number of students on campus. However, statistically speaking, Degner et al.’s piece noted the increase of mental health concerns, self-diagnosed or professionally diagnosed, among student populations entering college. So, yes, I think self-care and wellness is something that a number of universities are interested in fostering for their students and that student populations (as well as those outside universities) could benefit from being supported in this work. Continue reading “Working Towards the Trifecta: A WLN Special Issue on Wellness and Self-Care”

CfP || WLN Special Issue: Wellness and Self-Care in Writing Center Work, with Dr. Genie N. Giaimo

Read Dr. Giaimo’s post on this special issue.

WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship

In coordination with the 2018 ECWCA conference theme on occupational hazards: writing center labor, self-care and reflection, we welcome submissions that explore the multi-faceted ways in which writing center labor demands, deserves and enacts wellness and self-care practices. To date, research on tutor well-being—a perennial concern for writing center administrators—is relatively under-explored in writing center scholarship. While mindfulness in the writing center has been the topic of a number of presentations at regional and national writing center conferences (and a popular discussion thread on a recent Wcenter listserv email), there is relatively little published material on this topic (Mack and Hupp; Dueck). Similarly, Degner et al.’s 2015 article “Opening Closed Doors: A Rationale For Creating a Safe Space for Tutors Struggling with Mental Health Concerns or Illness” calls for more explicit training on self-care and tutor mental health after uncovering that 65% of survey respondents identified the lack of discussion on these subjects in their writing centers’ trainings.

Wellness and self-care, then, while popular topics both in writing center academic conversations, as well as in popular culture, are poised to become a mainstay of tutor preparation and training. Similarly, this topic is becoming monetized through for-pay productivity workshops and trainings. What, then, does the academic writing center community have to say on these subjects? How do we currently integrate wellness and self-care into our practices? How might we want to incorporate these practices into our centers? And what does our desire to do so say about the labor that we preform? We encourage contributors to consider, as starting points, current and local iterations of wellness and self-care trainings in writing centers, as well as potential best practices for developing these kinds of programming for our tutors, our administrators, and our clients. Continue reading “CfP || WLN Special Issue: Wellness and Self-Care in Writing Center Work, with Dr. Genie N. Giaimo”

加入写作中心在中国起步的浪潮 (宋凌珊) (Part 2 of 5, Writing Centers in China)

宋凌珊是密西西比学院写作中心的副主任。她也教授写作课与学生辅导的训练课程。凌珊的研究领域包括写作中心理论与实践、ESL辅导、文化研究与国际合作。她目前的研究项目致力于写作中心在中国的推广与建立。凌珊还同时兼任美国东南部写作中心协会的外事协调员、写作中心基督徒协会的TESOL代表、密西西比写作中心协会秘书、以及2018中国高校英文写作中心国际学术研讨会策划委员会成员。

[Joining the Momentum of Writing Center Establishment in China]

写作中心在美国的学术界已经有长远的历史并具有规模,然而在中国情况却有所不同。在中国的高校中,“写作中心”是过去十余年才开始引进的概念。在过去12年,从2006-2017年,有一小撮中国高校走在了建立写作中心的前沿,开始提供针对于英文写作的辅导。2017年6月9-11日,位于中国苏州的一所中英合办大学­­—西安交通利物浦大学举办了有史以来第一次的中国写作中心会议,这对于在中国的写作中心具有里程碑意义。

宋凌珊

写作中心在中国的建立进程是令人振奋的,可是迄今为止还没有学术研究专门针对中国现有的写作中心,也未开始探讨这些写作中心能够建立起来的关键促成因素。换言之,这些写作中心是如何开始的?关键因素有哪些?2017年9月-11月我开始了一项初始研究,致力于研究在中国内地现有的写作中心:这些写作中心存在哪些共性?考虑了哪些国情和本土因素?这些共性是否可以为将来其他写作中心的建立提供可参照的模型?

尽管每个写作中心有自己的特色,但我发现过去十年中美高校之间合作的蓬勃开展给写作中心在中国的建立提供了历史性的契机。“全球化”、“使中国高等教育与世界接轨”的概念深入人心,敦促中国高校与海外的大学开展两种形式的合作:1)与海外的大学合作成立交换学生项目;2)鼓励教师出国到合作院校访学。

例如,中国第一个写作中心(成立于2006年)就是得益于西安外国语大学与位于美国俄亥俄州的鲍林格林州立大学之间一个长期合作的交换项目。在西安外国语大学教授吴丹的一篇文章中,她介绍了中国第一所写作中心的建立并且强调说“西安外国语大学写作中心是借鉴了鲍林格林州立大学写作中心的模型,但是拥有自身的特色”(139)。另外,根据吴丹教授的研究,“这种模型【借鉴美国写作中心但是针对中国国情和地方特色作出调整】已经开始在全国的范围内被采纳。”北京师范大学珠海分校写作中心也借鉴了同样的模型。这个于2016年9月建立的写作中心就借鉴了几所海外大学的经验,包括波斯顿学院。 Continue reading “加入写作中心在中国起步的浪潮 (宋凌珊) (Part 2 of 5, Writing Centers in China)”

Joining the Momentum of Writing Center Establishment in China (Part 2 of 5, Writing Centers in China)

Lingshan Song is the Assistant Director of the Writing Center at Mississippi College (MC). She also teaches freshmen composition courses and the tutor training course at MC. Her research interests include writing center theory and practice, ESL tutoring, cultural studies, and international collaboration. Her ongoing research projects involve advocating for writing centers in China and supporting writing center establishment there. Lingshan also serves as Outreach Coordinator on the Southeastern Writing Center Association (SWCA) board, TESOL Representative for the Association of Christians in Writing Centers (ACWC), Secretary of Mississippi Writing Centers Association, and Member for the International Symposium of English Writing Center in Chinese Universities planning committee.

[加入写作中心在中国起步的浪潮]

While writing centers have a long history in American academia and are well established in the U.S., in the past decade, writing centers have just started revealing their values to higher education institutions in China. In the past twelve years, from 2006-2017, a batch of Chinese higher institutions have started writing centers to provide tutoring for English writing. Another important step in writing center development was the inaugural conference of Writing Center Association of China, held from June 9-11, 2017 in the Sino-British university, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, located in Suzhou, China.

Lingshan Song

With the exciting progress of building writing centers in China, there is yet to be a study about existing writing centers in China and their contributing elements commonly observed. In other words, how did these writing centers get started? What elements are essential to their establishment? I conducted preliminary research from September to November 2017, aiming to investigate existing writing centers in mainland China and discover commonalities among them and explore possible models for future writing center establishments in China, considering local adaptations.

Despite local adaptations, I found that as international partnerships prosper between U.S. universities and Chinese universities in the past decade, it has created a historical timing for writing center establishment in China. The “globalization” concept, bringing China’s education more in line with international practice, urges Chinese higher institutions to form international partnerships with oversea universities in two forms: 1) by developing exchange student programs with partner universities; 2) sending faculty to partner universities as visiting scholars. Continue reading “Joining the Momentum of Writing Center Establishment in China (Part 2 of 5, Writing Centers in China)”

CfP >> Tenth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia: Innovations in Writing Education || March 9th, 2018 || Toyo University

The Writing Centers Association of Japan 第9回

シンポジウム開催「Innovations in Writing Education」
日時:2017年3月9日(金)
主催:東洋大学、The Writing Centers Association of Japan
協賛:政策研究大学院大学
会場:東洋大学(東京都文京区白山5-28-20)
参加登録には、 https://goo.gl/forms/gQAPw2d7nDzLf5cG3 にアクセスしてください。(無料)
発表者募集:ライティングセンターおよびライティング指導/学習に関する研究発表、実践報
告を募集します。
発表時間は質疑応答も含め、25分です。PowerPointなどのプレゼンソフトの使用を是非ご検討
ください。その場合は、ご自分のパソコンやアダプターをご持参ください。
シンポジウムにおける使用言語は英語と日本語です。
応募方法
使用言語:英語または日本語
タイトル: 100英字(スペースを含め)または50和字以内
プログラム掲載用要約:英文100語または和文250字程度
要旨:英文200〜300語または和文500〜800字
氏名、所属、メールアドレス(共同発表の場合は全員)
応募書類を https://goo.gl/forms/qFLoZWh0QWwDwSLy2 で提出してください。
応募期限:2018年2月14日
採否通知:2018年2月19日

The Writing Centers Association of Japan, in conjunction with Toyo University and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), is pleased to announce the Tenth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia to be held on March 9th, 2018. The theme this year is “Innovations in Writing Education.”

This symposium provides opportunities for scholars, teachers, students, university administrators, and other professionals to come together to exchange ideas about the role of writing centers in Asian educational institutions as well as the teaching and learning of writing. The symposium attracts a large number of participants, demonstrating the growing importance
of writing centers and a high level of interest in the role and functions of writing centers and writing in Asian higher education. We welcome a diverse group of participants and presenters
from a variety of contexts to join us. Attendance and participation are free.

Location
Toyo University
5-28-20, Hakusan, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo 112-8606, Japan

If you plan to attend, please register online.

Call for Proposals
The Program Committee invites proposals for both research and practice-based presentations in English and Japanese. Presenters will have 25 minutes to present and answer questions.
Presenters are encouraged to use presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint), though they will need to bring their own computers and adapters. We also welcome poster presentations. This
year, reports on newly established writing centers and writing programs are particularly welcome, as well as other topics related to writing education.

Submission Guidelines
Language of proposals and presentations: Either English or Japanese
• Title: Up to 100 letters (including spaces) in English or 50 characters in Japanese
• Summary for the symposium program: About 100 words in English or 250 characters in Japanese
• Abstract: 200 to 300 words in English or 500 to 800 characters in Japanese
• Names, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of all presenters

Proposals are to be submitted online.
Deadline for submissions: February 14, 2018 (Japan Standard Time)
Notification: February 19, 2018

Call for proposals || 2018 Canadian Writing Centres Association Call for Proposals >> due Monday, January 15, 2018

The CWCA/ACCR conference committee invites you to submit proposals for our 2018 conference.

 

Submit your proposals by 11:59pm (EST), Monday, January 15, 2018.
Please note that this is a firm deadline, and will not be extended.

All submissions are to be made online.


Conference details:

Where: University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

When: May 24-25, 2018

Keynote: Dr. Sheelah McLean

Plenary: Jack Saddleback

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

In Canada, a recent focus on reconciliation and Indigenization are revitalizing conversations around anti-oppression pedagogy (Kumashiro, 2000), a series of approaches which focus on how traditional educational systems and practices reinforce existing hierarchies and contribute to the disenfranchisement of marginalized students. Nationally and internationally, post-secondary institutions are seeing students affected by the rising tide of extremist right-wing politics and dubious news sources, calling for renewed attention to social justice and literacy-building.

An International Writing Centres Association (IWCA) position statement states that writing centres are particularly well positioned to “uphold students’ rights, as we work in the everyday-ness of literacy” (as cited in Godbee & Olson, 2014). As Nancy Grimm (2009) said in her IWCA keynote, “Although some might claim that the work of a writing center is ‘just’ to teach writing, the teaching of writing is never a neutral endeavor; it is never devoid of political motivations or outcomes.”

At the 2018 CWCA conference, we invite you to join us to exchange knowledge, share challenges, and ask questions about the ways our teaching and tutoring can and should engage in anti-oppressive educational practices.

Keynote speaker Dr. Sheelah McLean — a founder of the Idle No More movement and recipient of the Carol Gellar Human Rights Award (2013) — will discuss anti-racist, anti-oppressive educational practices. Closing plenary speaker Jack Saddleback will discuss the topic of resilience, drawing on his personal experiences with mental health activism, student politics, and gender and sexual diversity. Continue reading “Call for proposals || 2018 Canadian Writing Centres Association Call for Proposals >> due Monday, January 15, 2018”

“Connecting with Purpose”: 14th Annual Southern California Writing Centers Association Tutor Conference

California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA — Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

The Southern California Writing Centers Association invites proposals for our 2018 Tutor Conference. The theme for this year’s conference is “Connecting with Purpose.” Connections are central to writing center work: between tutor and student, between concept and execution, and across genres, disciplines, and departments. This year’s conference asks us to question and confirm these connections. The conference organizers intend for participants and presenters to leave with new or renewed connections to each other, and to the meaning and value of their writing center work.

Questions you might consider as you develop your proposal; use them to aid, not limit, your thinking:

  •  What is the purpose of a writing center in facilitating connections across campus—connections around service, scholarship, support, learning, advocacy, development, professionalization?
  •  How can tutors help facilitate students in making their own connections between current and future writing projects?
  •  Who are we connecting with when we involve ourselves in supporting writers and promoting literacy education outside the classroom?
  •  Are there types of connections that writing centers should resist fostering? Or seek to promote?

As always, this conference is by tutors, for tutors. Therefore, we seek proposals for highly interactive 50-minute conference sessions (10 minutes of presentation, 40 minutes of interaction) that seek to investigate, reimagine, and/or rediscover the purpose(s) of writing center work. After giving a short framing presentation (approx. 10 minutes) on research or ideas related to the theme, presenters will engage the audience in activities or discussion to collaboratively explore the issue. The conference will close with a community hour for further sharing and conversation.

Proposals due November 1, 2017 via http://sandbox.socalwritingcenters.org/2018-tutor-conference/

Writing Center Administrators: During the tutor conference, SoCal writing center administrators will engage in a parallel meeting featuring presentations by and discussions with other writing center professionals. Registration, lunch, and community hour will offer opportunities to connect back with tutors.

 

WLN Announcements!

Interested in Joining the WLN Editorial Staff?
Because of an ever-increasing work load and an interest in adding someone with new ideas and approaches to engage our readers, the editorial staff of WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship is in need of another staff member to join our team for the print journal. We envision this person as being an Associate Editor with some development work as well.

Interested in applying? If so, send us your CV, a short statement about any editorial experience you’ve had, and another short statement about what skills and ideas you would bring to WLN. Also, please let us know if you regularly use email and if you are available to work all year long, including summers.

Please send your CV and the requested additional information to us: Lee Ann Glowzenksi (laglowzenski@gmail.com) and Muriel Harris (harrism@purdue.edu). The position will remain open until filled.

An Invitation to Add Your Voice to WLN Conversations

We recognize that articles in WLN should be two-way conversations between authors and readers. And so, we want to provide space (when we can) in WLN issues to hear from you as readers responding to articles you’ve read in WLN. Because page space is always a problem with any journal trying to stay brief enough to actually allow you to read all articles, please keep your comments brief too. It’s difficult to predict when we will have space to include your responses, but we’ll do our best.

Please send your comments through the submission page on the WLN website.

Call for Proposals: Special Issue of WLN  

Submitted by Susan DeRosa and Stephen Ferruci, Associate Professors of English Eastern CT State University

Susan DeRosa and Stephen Ferruci are Associate Professors of English at Eastern Connecticut State University. They co-authored the textbook, Choices Writers Make: A Guide (Pearson, 2011), and they have collaborated lately on scholarly articles and conference papers on multimodal writing in the writing center and writing classroom. Their research laid the groundwork for the creation of Eastern’s Writing Center in 2008.

Title: Multimodal Writing in the Writing Center: Relationships, Roles, and Responsibilities

Students are increasingly composing and designing multimodal texts that combine sound, visual, performative, and textual components. Takayoshi and Selfe (2007) argue that students need to be versed in both critically reading and producing multimodal texts “if they hope to communicate successfully within the digital communication networks that characterize workplaces, schools, civic life, and span traditional cultural, national, and geopolitical borders” (3). As writers produce multimodal texts to respond to different rhetorical situations and assignments, writing centers need to find ways to work with students and the texts they design. While writing centers may have experience helping writers who include visual elements in their texts, (photos, graphs, charts, etc.), they may be less familiar with other modes with which writers choose to compose. Recent scholarship suggests a focus on these changing roles and the relationships between writing centers and writing classrooms as we engage with multimodal composers and their choices.

Continue reading “Call for Proposals: Special Issue of WLN  “

CFP: Special Issue of WLN–What We Believe and Why: Educating Writing Tutors

Guest editors Karen Johnson and Ted Roggenbuck share their call for proposals, below.

Key to our success in the important work of writing centers is our effectiveness in providing tutor education. Our field has over three decades of scholarship on how to educate writing tutors in a multitude of settings, but the wealth and variety of resources can create challenges for those seeking guidance. However, that we also have a number of excellent and popular (though not universally used) resources such as The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors, The Longman Guide to Peer Tutoring, and The Oxford Guide for Writing Tutors does suggest at least some consistency in how we educate tutors. But to what degree do we share core beliefs about tutor education, how do we know what aspects of our programs to prepare writing tutors are most effective, and to what areas are we not paying adequate attention? Moreover, what are effective contexts for educating tutors? Although credit-bearing courses appear to be ideal contexts for tutor education, what particular aspects of a course make it effective? And for directors who are unable to offer a course or even paid time for educating tutors, how can they effectively prepare tutors for the different rhetorical situations and writers they will encounter?

Continue reading “CFP: Special Issue of WLN–What We Believe and Why: Educating Writing Tutors”

Call for Submissions: Digital Resource Toolkit for Secondary School Writing Center Directors

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 11.15.11 AMPriority Submission Date: August 15, 2016 (priority), September 15, 2016 (regular)

Contact Amber Jensen, President of the Capital Area Peer Tutoring Association, at capta.connects@gmail.com with questions. The call for submissions is as follows:

 

We invite secondary school writing center directors to contribute to an exciting, updated, an digital new version of the Capital Area Peer Tutoring Association’s Resource Toolkit for Secondary School Writing Center Directors.

The first versions of this resource, assembled in 2011 and 2012 by a team of four SSWC directors in Northern Virginia, were designed to support new SSWC directors by sharing artifacts from our centers and exemplars of the kinds of documents and materials we created to support our work and our tutors’ work. More than a theory-­based description of writing center pedagogy (which has been widely published elsewhere), we envisioned this resource as a toolkit, which is what we named it, with practical examples, accompanied by explanations, of various documents and materials throughout the phases of establishing and maintaining our writing centers.

For the past five years, distribution of this resource has been in high demand, but unfortunately limited due to printing and shipping costs. This summer, with funding from George Mason University, we are developing a new digital edition of the toolkit which will be distributed this fall; it will be available in PDF and e­book formats, and we plan to make it downloadable for free. Not only does a digital edition allow for wider and more equitable distribution of the materials, but it also allows for more frequent revisions and updates, which is very exciting.

We are reaching out to the wider community of SSWC directors to invite your contributions to this resource. We invite you to consider the kinds of documents and products you are willing to share with other SSWC directors, including materials you have designed as a program administrator for tutors, teachers, administrators, and other audiences. These artifacts might fit into any of the following categories (described more in detail here ):

  1. Planning and Proposal (planning documents, committee descriptions and roles, proposed budgets, administrative proposals, three­ or five­ year plans, etc.)
  2. Tutor Recruitment and Selection (nomination letters, tutor application materials, tutor selection criteria, selection committee roles, interview materials, etc.)
  3. Initial Tutor Training (training agendas, resource lists, materials designed for tutors to learn about tutoring and/or writing, etc.)
  4. Program Implementation (informational flyers or advertisements, teacher­ or tutor­created PSAs for students, teachers, administrators, methods for keeping records on tutoring sessions, tutor reflection logs, tutor evaluation mechanisms, administration meeting agendas, etc.)
  5. Tutor Course Curriculum (syllabi for tutor training courses, writing assignments for tutors, assessment criteria, etc.)
  6. School­wide Writing Initiatives (partnership programs with departments, clubs, activities in the schools, special workshops or outreach initiatives, etc.)
  7. Gathering Evidence of Success: Data and Evaluation (monthly reports, quantitative and/or qualitative data on tutoring, etc.)

Continue reading “Call for Submissions: Digital Resource Toolkit for Secondary School Writing Center Directors”

“Transfer of Learning in the Writing Center” CFP: Special Issue of WLN

Guest Editors: Dana Lynn Driscoll (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) and Bonnie Devet (College of Charleston)

A vital topic in higher education is transfer of learning, or what is generally known as students’ ability to adapt, apply, or remix prior knowledge and skills in new contexts, including educational, civic, personal, and professional.  As recent writing center scholarship attests, transfer of learning is of key importance to the work we do in writing centers, both with our work with clients but also with our tutors themselves.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.39.05 AM

For this special issue of the WLN, we encourage contributors to consider, as starting points, some of the following questions related to transfer and centers:

  • How might transfer be defined and considered in a writing center context?
  • How does transfer help characterize the development of consultants, both novice and expert?
  • How do consultants transfer knowledge between settings?
  • What strategies can consultants use to support and encourage clients’ transfer of prior knowledge and skills during sessions?
  • How do clients use the writing center to transfer writing knowledge between courses?
  • What role do dispositions play in transfer in a writing center context?
  • What can writing center directors do to help prepare tutors to better support transfer?
  • How can transfer of learning be a primary mission for writing centers?

Continue reading ““Transfer of Learning in the Writing Center” CFP: Special Issue of WLN”

CFP–Tensions in Professionalism: Dress Codes in the Writing Center

Dr. Katie Manthey, Director
Katie.manthey@salem.edu

Shannon Henesy, Intern, Assistant Director
shannon.henesy@salem.edu

The 2016-2017 Staff of the Salem College Writing Center
writingcenter@salem.edu

Tensions in Professionalism: Dress Codes in the Writing Center

Writing centers serve clients as whole people. As Harry Denny explains in his piece “Queering the Writing Center,” “In supporting writers, we never just sit side by side with them as purely writers; they come to us as an intricately woven tapestry, rich in authenticity and texture of identities. But this cloth often requires something extra to be legitimated in the academy” (103). Going one step further, we propose that the “cloth” of identity could be taken literally. After all, when clients and consultants come into the writing center, they are always wearing the “woven tapestry” of their own clothes and displaying their identities, at least in part, through what Joanne Eicher calls “dress practices,” which can include clothing, make up, hairstyle, body odor, and more (4). Returning to Denny, because writing centers exist within institutional structures where what it means to dress professionally can be both explicitly and implicitly defined, they are uniquely positioned to do the “extra” work of “legitimating” the cloth of identity not just for clients, but also for consultants and directors.

Continue reading “CFP–Tensions in Professionalism: Dress Codes in the Writing Center”

“Reading in the Writing Center” CFP: Special Issue of WLN

carillo_e-150x150Guest editor Ellen C. Carillo is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut and the Writing Program Coordinator at its Waterbury Campus. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in composition and literature, and is the author of Securing a Place for Reading in Composition: The Importance of Teaching for Transfer (Utah State UP, 2015). Her scholarship has been published in WLN; Rhetoric Review; Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture; Reader: Essays in Reader-Oriented Theory, Criticism, and Pedagogy; Feminist Teacher; Currents in Teaching and Learning; and in several edited collections. Ellen is co-founder of the Role of Reading in Composition Studies Special Interest Group of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) and has presented her scholarship at many conferences including IWCA, CCCC, and MLA. She was recently awarded a research grant from CWPA for a project on transfer in writing centers.

Prior to a 2012 change in the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s (CCCC) call for proposals, Mariolina Salvatori and Patricia Donahue found that it had been almost two decades since composition’s professional organization encouraged panels and presentations on reading at their annual convention. Despite the long silence surrounding reading in composition, in the last five years or so many compositionists have returned to crucial questions related to reading, writing’s counterpart in the construction of meaning. For example, compositionists have been conducting studies that explore how instructors attend to reading in first-year writing courses (Bunn) and how focusing on reading early in students’ academic careers can affect their success in their majors (Lockhart and Soliday). Others seek to expose the false print-digital binary that overemphasizes the differences between print-based and digital reading (Horning; Morris).

Because writing centers are rich interdisciplinary sites that challenge both physical and conceptual boundaries among disciplines and between novices and experts, writing center studies is positioned to expand current discussions about reading. Writing center professionals’ perspectives have the potential to enrich these theoretical discussions, and their work on the ground has the potential to support more comprehensive literacy tutoring. Still, writing center studies has yet to join the conversation.

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CFP: Special Issue of WLN- The Affective Dimension of Writing Center Work

Guest editors: Kathy Evertz and Renata Fitzgerald for The WLN Journal

During any given conference, writing center consultants and writers may experience feelings that range from joy and satisfaction to anger and frustration, any of which can foster or impede a writer’s development or performance.  Yet in a literature rich with examinations of the cognitive, pedagogical, political, and ethical dimensions of interacting with writers, the affective dimension of writing centers often goes unaddressed or is deemed secondary to other concerns.  We invite writing center workers to help spark a conversation that foregrounds how emotions, motivations, values, and attitudes can influence what does or does not happen in writing conferences, both for those who visit and those who staff our centers.

WLNResearch shows that positive mood enhances feelings of self-efficacy, while negativity can be corrosive (Tillema, et al.).  One way the affective dimension can overwhelm the cognitive in writing centers is when a writer is uncomfortable with the demands of academic discourse. Ivanic explains, “Students often face a crisis of identity, feeling that they have to become a different sort of person in order to participate in these context-specific and culture-specific knowledge-making practices of academic institutions” (344). Challenges to writers’ and/or consultants’ identities can lead to feelings of anxiety and vulnerability.

We encourage contributors to consider, as starting points, moments when the emotional can overwhelm the cognitive in a writing conference; whether disregarding a writer’s and/or one’s values, motivations, and attitudes impedes or enhances a writer’s growth; whether consultants should strive to balance the affective and cognitive; and what is gained or lost by addressing the affective dimension in writing conferences.

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CFP–Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia

The Eighth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan. It will be hosted this year by Tsuda College in conjunction with the Writing Centers Association of Japan (WCAJ) and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS). The theme this year is Writing Centers Across Languages and Cultures.

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While many writing centers in Japan started as university programs that either taught English as a foreign language or offered degree programs taught in English, recently more universities in Japan have been setting up writing centers to help students write in Japanese, either as a second language or, more often, as their first language. Tsuda College started its Japanese writing center in 2008, being one of the pioneers in Japan, and added sessions for English writing in 2013. Although the methodologies and approaches for conducting Japanese sessions are similar to those in English, we wonder if the role of the writing centers changes in different languages and cultures. This is one of the interesting questions we would like to explore in this symposium.

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Meet MENAWCA

Editor’s note: I was excited when Kelly Wilson of the Texas A&M University in Qatar agreed to share more with us about the Middle East – North Africa Writing Centers Alliance. Read about their valuable work below!

2014 MENAWCA Conference
2014 MENAWCA Conference

MENAWCA (Middle East – North Africa Writing Centers Alliance) was founded in 2007 to foster communication among existing writing centers in the region and to promote the work/practice/pedagogy of WCs in hopes that other institutions would be interested in starting them. Currently, our board has nine members.

I serve as President. My term began in May 2015 when the president at the time learned that she would be leaving the region. The expat world can be quite transient and some of us come and go without much notice. But, I was happy to take the role on as I love writing center work and I see it as an opportunity not only to serve the field, but to learn and develop new skills. My term will end in March 2017.

I have worked at Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) for 5 years, both as a writing consultant and now as the Program Coordinator of Tutorial Services in our Academic Success Center. I oversee the training and supervision of tutors for writing as well as some math and sciene courses. TAMUQ is an engineering college – we offer bachelor’s degrees in mechanical, electrical and computing, petroleum and chemical engineering. We also offer an MEng or MS in chemical engineering.

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The remainder of the members on the MENAWCA Executive Board are as follows:

  • Vice President: Maimoonah Al Khalil (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
  • Past President: Molly McHarg (Washington DC)
  • Secretary: Elizabeth Whitehouse (Al Ain, UAE)
  • Treasurer/IWCA Representative: Sherry Ward (Doha, Qatar)
  • Public Relations Officer: Paula Habre (Beirut, Lebanon)
  • Conference Co-Chairs: Ryan McDonald and Susan Finlay (Muscat, Oman)
  • Webmaster: Amy Zenger (Beirut, Lebanon)
  • Member at Large: Jodi Lefort (Muscat, Oman)

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CFP: The 3rd International Conference on Academic Writing

Dr. Michael Dickel shares a CFP for the conference hosted by the Israel Forum for Academic Writing (IFAW).

The 3rd International Conference on Academic Writing is pleased to feature the following keynote speakers:

The deadline for abstracts has been extended until 22 November. While there will be presentations in Hebrew and Arabic (with a select few having simultaneous translation into English), if it follows the pattern of the last two conferences, most will be in English. Writing Center presentations are explicitly included, and have done well in the past conferences.

Download the IFAW Call for Proposals 2016 here!

More about the conference: About 9 years ago, a group of academics who taught Academic Writing in Higher Education (mostly in English, at the time) decided to start a professional organization in Israel. I happened onto the scene and joined up with them shortly after—the result of our efforts was the Israel Forum on Academic Writing (the name came a bit later). After a couple of very successful initial meetings, we applied to the MOFET Institute, which supports pedagogical research and teacher education in Israel. They have provided support to the organization as one of its “Forums,” which is where the name came from, although we call ourselves IFAW (pronounced here as ee-FAW).

The organization quickly expanded from mostly English-writing faculty to include faculty who teach writing in Hebrew and Arabic. There are a few members who teach secondary schools, but writing is not a regular part of the usual high school curriculum here. It is also not typically taught in universities or colleges, although some individual majors do require writing. In this way, the context is very different.

The organization meets a few times each semester, usually sharing research in progress or praxis presentations. Sometimes, there is a guest speaker (such as an international visitor or someone from another field). Some of us presented at a 4Cs Panel in St. Louis. Many members of IFAW present our work internationally.

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CFP: Special Issue of WLN–The Work of the Writing Center Director

Mueller-SusanSusan Mueller has been the Writing Center Director at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy since 2003, where she also teaches first year writing courses and literature courses. Her work has appeared in WLN and in PRAXIS:  A Writing Center Journal. Susan has often presented at MWCA and and IWCA, particularly on tutor training and on the intersections of WAC and writing centers. 

JAutengifphotoJanet G. Auten was the associate editor of WLN for seven years. She directs the Writing Center and teaches the graduate seminar in composition pedagogy in the Department of Literature at American University. Current research and publication center on pedagogy education, teaching information literacy, and the work of literacy narratives in both of those contexts. Her recent work has appeared in Composition Studies, Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, and Teaching and Learning Inquiry, and in many presentations for 4C’s, IWCA, and MAWCA. 

As recent discussions on WCenter demonstrate, the way writing center directors and writing centers are perceived outside our walls is critical to our survival and growth both as organizations and as vital components of our schools. Yet these perceptions are often determined by fleeting, incomplete, and/or too-often inaccurate impressions of what we do rather than conclusions based on solid facts. Our daily work is important and influences our students and tutors beyond our writing centers. What tools do we have at our disposal that can provide our stakeholders with accurate information about our professional stature, our gravitas as members of the academy, and our status? What substantive evidence of our value and importance, both to our students’ success and to our institutions themselves, is available for us to present and promote?

For this special issue on “The Work of the Writing Center Director,” we invite proposals, of 300-350 words, for articles up to 3000 words (including Works Cited) that consider the broader impact of our work and the specific mechanisms available to us for establishing value in the eyes of those who matter—administrators, faculty, staff (such as advisors, student success coordinators, and others who matter), and students. Proposals should also identify how those mechanisms will enable directors to convey that information to stakeholders in light of local politics.

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CFP: Sharing Common Ground? Writing Centers and Learning Commons

Guest Editors: Hillory Oakes and Steven J. Corbett for the WLN Journal

As schools look to develop students as sophisticated communicators across disciplines and media, more and more writing centers are becoming—or considering becoming—part of multiliteracy-focused learning commons enterprises (Koehler; Deans and Roby). In fact, the success of writing center programming has on many campuses contributed to the emergence of the learning commons model. Writing center directors and tutors have a wealth of knowledge to bring to these endeavors: we are natural collaborators and have developed skills and practices that put us in a perfect position to lead conversations about the learning commons at our institutions (Harris, “Preparing”; Lunsford and Ede).

11800171_902887463119022_7738110525106617949_nStill, the history of our field has taught us that we must pay attention to names and titles, definitions of purpose and mission statements, institutional hierarchies and physical locations (Macauley and Mauriello; Mauriello, Macauley, and Koch; McKinney; Salem). These are not niceties but necessities for developing successful programs. Just as defining what a writing center is and is not has historically been problematic (Boquet and Lerner; Lerner; McKinney; Corbett), the definition of “learning commons” currently varies widely between institutions (Oblinger) and at times revisits all-too-familiar territory. For example, writing centers have long rejected being cast as “fix-it shops,” yet now it is common for the learning commons to be touted as a place for “one-stop shopping.”

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