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.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Muriel Harris (email@example.com). 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.
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.
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?
Priority Submission Date: August 15, 2016 (priority), September 15, 2016 (regular)
Contact Amber Jensen, President of the Capital Area Peer Tutoring Association, at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 ):
Planning and Proposal (planning documents, committee descriptions and roles, proposed budgets, administrative proposals, three or five year plans, etc.)
Initial Tutor Training (training agendas, resource lists, materials designed for tutors to learn about tutoring and/or writing, etc.)
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.)
Tutor Course Curriculum (syllabi for tutor training courses, writing assignments for tutors, assessment criteria, etc.)
Schoolwide Writing Initiatives (partnership programs with departments, clubs, activities in the schools, special workshops or outreach initiatives, etc.)
Gathering Evidence of Success: Data and Evaluation (monthly reports, quantitative and/or qualitative data on tutoring, etc.)
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.
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?
Dr. Katie Manthey, Director
Shannon Henesy, Intern, Assistant Director
The 2016-2017 Staff of the Salem College Writing Center
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.
Guest 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.
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.
Research 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.
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.
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.
The remainder of the members on the MENAWCA Executive Board are as follows:
Vice President: Maimoonah Al Khalil (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
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.
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.
Janet 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.
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).
Still, 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.”
The following call for papers might be interesting to those who also work with L2 learners in their writing centers or learning commons.
The Language Center of the Technische Universität München cordially invites you to contribute to the Third Annual Symposium Supporting L2 Writing Competencies at German-Speaking Universities on April 7 + 8, 2016 in Munich. We are looking forward to discussions of the latest developments in the field, exchanges between practitioners and researchers, and opportunities to network and gain inspiration for our work.
October 28th and 29th of 2015-Universidad de los Andes-Bogotá, Colombia
A student ́s admission to a university represents an immersion into a context filled with new objectives, goals, rules, and methods. As part of this process, it is fundamental to be able to understand the ideas of others as well as be able to transmit one ́s own. This allows students to actively engage in an academic community through an intellectual discussion that is based on specific criteria. In this scenario, writing becomes a privileged tool in order to learn and evidence the central comprehensions in every academic discipline. Thus, the role of writing centers and programs is focused on assisting the communicative processes of the university community, so that its members can effectively participate in academic life. Within this purpose, the support that can be provided in order to aid student retention at the college level is essential.
With the intention of generating a space that fosters sharing and discussion with respect to the role of writing in the academic development of university students, the Latin American Network of Writing Centers and Programs (Red Latinoamericana de Centros y Programas de Escritura) invites all involved in this type of initiatives at the college level to participate in its second conference, which will take place October 28th and 29th at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. In particular, we are interested in discussing retention strategies that arise from writing centers and programs. Thus, we seek proposals directly related to this issue or to the following topics:
Given the drumbeat about the need for assessment, we’re asking for your thoughts on Neal Lerner’s “Counting Beans and Making Beans Count,” Vol. 22.1 (September 1997), and if appropriate to what is on your mind, also his later “Choosing Beans Wisely” Vol. 26.1 (September, 2001). Both articles are available in the open access Archives on the WLN website. We look forward to reading your thoughts about this topic and sharing them with other WLN readers.
As part of our 40th anniversary celebration of the Writing Lab Newsletter (scheduled to become WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship with the beginning of Vol. 40 in Sept.), we also extend a broader invitation for you to reflect on an article that has appeared at some point during all those years. How has some particular article influenced writing center scholarship and work? How has this topic changed directions since the time in which it was written? Why? What relevance does the article have?
The National Peer Tutoring in Writing Conference announces its conference and call for proposals
The theme of the 2015 National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW) and Rocky Mountain Peer Tutor Conference is “(De)Center: Testing Assumptions about Peer Tutoring and Writing Centers.” Throughout its history, peer tutoring has often operated on a set of sometimes untested assumptions, such as that peer-to-peer tutoring is an effective way of learning, that peers can collaborate in non-hierarchical relationships, that a writer’s role in the tutoring session is different than the tutor’s, and that best methodologies are known and easily practiced. As the assumed divide between the classroom, writing center and community shifts, peer tutors are challenged to find a place for themselves within dynamic rhetorical situations. By (de)centering traditional notions of peer tutoring, we can re-imagine the idea of a center as a place and a praxis.
Religion in the Writing Center, May/June 2016 Special Issue
Although a robust conversation around race, class, gender, and sexual identity has emerged within writing center studies, religion as a category of identity remains under-theorized in our field, perhaps because of its characterization as intimate, personal, and almost irreproachably private. Harry Denny’s consideration of the “politics attendant” to sex and gender in Facing the Center draws attention to the way in which “private” aspects of identity are performed in social contexts and how they shape and are shaped by political discourse.
Likewise, within composition studies, the obfuscation of religious belief in the academy has been noted. According to Anne Gere “because discussions of religion have been essentially off-limits in higher education, we have failed to develop sophisticated and nuanced theoretical discourses to articulate spirituality” (Brandt et al. 46). Elizabeth Vander Lei and bonnie kyburz’s Negotiating Religious Faith in the Composition Classroom represents an important move towards developing such a language around religion and writing. However, as Vander Lei and Lauren Fitzgerald observe in “What in God’s Name? Administering the Conflicts of Religious Belief in Writing Programs,” this scholarship has a rather limited focus on the role of religious belief on the composing practices of students. Vander Lei and Fitzgerald challenge “WPAs, as campus leaders with a vested interest in writing and public discourse…to work with students, instructors, and administrators to develop practices that address religious belief ethically and effectively” (185).
TheWriting 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: