Are you planning to attend this year’s IWCA Conference? Check out these quick thoughts from Mike Mattison and Laura Benton, the conference Co-Chairs. They chatted with us about the relevance of the conference theme for international writing center administrators and tutors.
IWCA/NCPTW Ideas Exchange – Call for Proposals
We are pleased to announce the fourth annual Ideas Exchange forum at the 2019 International Writing Centers Association/National Conference on Peer Tutors of Writing (IWCA/NCPTW) Joint Conference in Columbus, Ohio.
This forum is designed to showcase innovative writing center strategies and initiatives and invite conversation about what has “worked” in various writing center contexts. Strategies or initiatives may focus on any aspect of writing center work–tutoring, administration, training, outreach, advocacy, activism, etc. Participants in the Ideas Exchange forum will be listed on the conference program. In addition, Ideas Exchange presenters may also participate in the “Works in Progress” session and have one additional speaking role on the conference program.
The Ideas Exchange forum will follow a resource/orientation fair setup. Each presenter will have their own table space and conference attendees will float through forum. Presenters will determine the best mode* (i.e. poster, PowerPoint, Prezi, short activity) for sharing their writing center strategy or initiative. With this format, presenters should be prepared to repeat their 3-minute or so strategies/initiative and to engage attendees in conversation.
Presenters are required to provide a handout, pamphlet, or link so that exchange presenters and conference attendees leave with a collection of strategies to try in their own centers.
150-200 word proposals should include a working title, a brief overview of the strategy or initiative the presenter(s) will focus on, the mode of delivery that will best communicate the strategy, and at least three keywords that will help the session chair organize the tables/participants thematically.
Please complete this form (https://forms.gle/9CgL1iX2zNLdxN3ZA) to submit your proposal for the 2019 IWCA/NCPTW Ideas Exchange in Columbus, OH. Proposal decisions and presentation invitations will go out by the end of July.
Deadline: Monday, 8 July, 2019
Evaluation of proposals: relevance of strategy, proposed audience, connection to conference theme
Acceptance Notifications: by the end of July (anticipated)
Please contact the IE Chair, Kat Bell, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org), with any questions.
*Please note that presenters will be required to provide their own computer/technology.
Friday, June 28th || 1:00-2:00pm PST
In this third WLN webinar in the workshop series, we’ll talk about how to find ideas for research and publication in the everyday happenings of your writing center. We will focus on how to recognize what you can contribute to the scholarly conversation, and how to frame your contribution in ways that fit WLN and are useful to other writing center practitioners. We will encourage interactive discussion at the end of this workshop and will invite your ideas to test our heuristic questions or strategies for preparing ideas for publication.
This webinar will be recorded. Participants can register up to the day/time of the workshop, but registration is required.
Questions? please contact WLN Associate Editors
Elizabeth Kleinfeld: email@example.com
Sohui Lee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Prebel: email@example.com
WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship is proud to announce our second webinar: “WCA as Hero: A Scholar’s Journey to Publication.”
This event, covering strategies for drafting an article for WLN, including how to find time to write, how to understand the lit review process, and how to find or start a writing group, will be held on Friday, October 26, 2018, 3:00pm to 4:00pm E.S.T. and is hosted by WLN Associate Editors Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Sohui Lee, and Julie Prebel. There will be opportunities for Q & A.
The webinar is FREE but please R.S.V.P. at https://csuci.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_n1vum5cSTgibyetzc6_79A.
We look forward to talking to you!
Elizabeth, Sohui, and Julie
The Canadian Writing Centres Association (CWCA) hosts its fifth annual conference at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) in Toronto, Ontario on May 25th and 26th, 2017. CWCA represents members of writing centres, broadly defined, in colleges, universities, and institutions of all sizes across Canada. It is an affiliate member of the International Writing Centres Association (IWCA).
Clare Bermingham is the Director of the Writing and Communication Centre at the University of Waterloo and is Secretary of CWCA.
WLN Blog: The theme of this year’s CWCA conference is From Far and Wide: Imagining the Futures of Writing Centres. In developing this theme, what were you hoping for?
Clare: “From Far and Wide” is a phrase pulled from the Canadian national anthem, and it’s connected to the 150th anniversary of the formation of Canada as a political nation. However, rather than simply and uncomplicatedly celebrating this milestone, our theme seeks to recognize the complex, often difficult, history of Canada, which plays out in our institutions today and feeds into the questions that writing centres ask about language and writing. We want to challenge ourselves to take note of this history as we turn and look ahead to what’s next for writing centres. We want to know how our community is engaging in work that is inclusive and equitable. How are we working with both Indigenous and international student populations? How are we responding to questions about power and language in training, in theory, and in our daily practice? In what ways are we opening our centres up to be places of real diversity and inclusion in our respective institutions?
WLN Blog: The keynote, Dr. Frankie Condon, has written a great deal on racism and rhetoric. How does her keynote fit into this year’s conference?
Clare: Dr. Condon’s work challenges us to think more deeply about how we do the work we do. It moves us to face issues of inequity and bias head on, but to do so with generosity and care. Frankie’s work, for me, is a generous conversation that’s grounded in the assumption that we want to act in good faith, that we’re taking these issues seriously, and that we acknowledge the potential harm of not listening to each other, especially to the marginalized voices in our communities. Her work is personal and reflective, and she is always equally responsible for the work she calls others to do.
Today’s post comes courtesy of Dr. Sarah Prince, of Walden University. Together with Beth Nastachowski, MA, Dr. Prince is starting a new discussion group–the OWC email discussion list. Today’s post is about the OWC–stay tuned for part two, coming next week, about best practices for online centers!
The idea for the listserv grew out of a SIG we presented at the 2015 IWCA conference titled “Refocusing the Conversation: Creating Spaces for Online Writing Center Community, Support, and Discussion.” After talking through possibilities for community building during the SIG, many ideas were on the table—an annual conference and/or a possible affiliation group within IWCA (much like the current regional affiliations rooted in specific geographic locations). Post conference, to follow up with these ideas, we sent out a survey to all who attended the conference and others at the conference who signed up to receive more information. Based on the group’s voting, it was decided that we would initially start with a listserv, or discussion list, to promote communication about what centers are doing and how we could all better serve students in a fully-online capacity.
We hope that this listserv does in fact start as a building block that generates wider conversations about the state of current online writing centers, common issues among fully online centers, and possibilities for future collaboration among these centers. We would love to see our group gain the support and membership to work toward a separate affiliation under IWCA one day or even create an academic conference around issues specific to tutoring writing in a virtual environment.
We are advocating for further conversations among staff and tutors that serve students online, so we can, as a group, come up with best practices. Because such a community is still in its infancy, perhaps a better discussion would be how we’ve come to the practices that work for our center– through trial and error, gaps we perceived in our services, ideas for conveying information about writing in new ways, etc. In other words, we can talk about how we have a lot of this stuff, in part, because we don’t really have many discipline-wide best practices and, consequently, we’ve had to experiment. Our guess is that other centers are in the same boat, so we’d like to really advocate for a space where important discussions on innovation and new technologies can take place.
Editor’s Note: We’ve really enjoyed looking at all of your social media posts from International Writing Centers Week! To see what other writing centers were up to, take a look at this tagboard of the #IWCWeek hashtag. If you’re interested in seeing even more posts, #IWCW16 is another great hashtag to check out on Twitter.
[tagboard id=”iwcweek/267682″ postlimit=”15″ mobilelimit=”5″]
Editor’s note: Dr. Laura Greenfield is the founding Director of the Transformative Speaking Program at Hampshire College, where she is a Faculty Associate of Communication and Education in the School of Critical Social Inquiry. I asked her to share with us about Hampshire College’s Transformative Speaking Program and their first “Conference on Communication Centers for Peace and Justice.”
I work at a really cool school—cool in the sense that the people are pretty great, but also cool in the sense that it does a remarkably good job at creating conditions for radical social change. Like any institution it still has a lot of work to do, but its unusual history has been a fruitful context in which to pursue my own radically-oriented work. Several years ago, inspired by my work with writing centers, I founded a speaking program as an experiment to push the boundaries of the discipline but also to speak back to writing center work in ways that will hopefully shake things up for the better. As a part of that work I created a new conference this past fall. I want to invite you to join us in the future—but first, a bit of context:
An Experimental College
Hampshire College is an unconventional small private liberal arts school in western Massachusetts. A group of visionaries from nearby Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst founded the school only four decades ago as a radical experiment in higher education. These leaders wanted to push the boundaries of their liberal education ideals otherwise limited by their existing institutional structures. This new school boldly instituted narrative evaluation in place of any letter grades, self-designed concentrations in place of any predetermined majors, large interdisciplinary schools in place of traditional single-subject academic departments, and pay equity and contracts in place of the tenure system, among other strategies. The school recently garnered national attention for happily getting kicked off the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings lists by refusing to accept standardized test scores in its admissions process. Seeking to be an explicitly anti-racist institution, Hampshire was the first in the U.S. to divest from South Africa during Apartheid and this past year officially agreed to change its policies to exclude investment in private prisons also in response to persistent demands by student activists.
In other words, Hampshire’s counter-cultural leanings, expressed commitments to social justice, and beat-of-one’s-own-drum ethos was not just my personal dream place to work/teach/learn but also the ideal place for a writing center enthusiast such as myself to try something different…
An Experimental Program
In fall 2013, an alumn and trustee gave a gift to the college to fund a series of public speaking workshops for students in response to the observed disconnect between the students’ extraordinary ideas and their less-extraordinary oral communication skills. After leading a series of such workshops, I proposed a multi-year pilot plan for launching a sustainable speaking program. The proposal was met with enthusiasm, donors funded its launch, and my visiting faculty position was eventually converted to a regular position with the assumption that the program was here to stay.
Comparable to our writing center cousins, the Transformative Speaking Program (TSP) is home to a vibrant staff of undergraduate peer mentors who work with students in speaking-intensive courses and in a drop-in center in the library, in addition to hosting workshops and faculty pedagogy support across the disciplines. Unlike many writing centers that focus exclusively on student development, the TSP sees its work not only to make individual “better writers” (or in our context “better speakers”) but in fact to be transformative change-makers in the institution and beyond, particularly in resistance to systems of oppression including racism, sexism, imperialism, and so on. The scope of our mission is comprehensive and collective: to promote radical dialogue to change the world.
Friday July 10th and Saturday July 11th, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands
The Nijmegen Centre for Academic Writing would like to invite tutors working at writing centres all over the world for an EWCA peer tutor event this summer. Last year, our tutors were very inspired by the exchange with international colleagues at the EWCA Peer Tutor Day in Frankfurt/Oder. Unfortunately, no Peer Tutor Day was planned for this summer, which would mean that many of our tutors would not have the opportunity to meet with other (foreign) colleagues to exchange ideas. That is why we decided to host the 2015 Peer Tutor Day in Nijmegen!
With this blog post I want to highlight some of the events of The Long Night Against Procrastination Across Germany. When browsing Twitter with hashtag #lndah, I came across a tweet by Dennis Fassing, who mixed tweets, posters and images with his own commentary in a stori-fy compilation. Although the texts are in German, I think that readers from around the globe will appreciate the many faces and forms this event took on this year on or around March 5, 2015.
Although the Long Night Against Procrastination began five years ago at Viadrina University in Frankfurt/Oder (one hour east of Berlin and the location of the 2014 EWCA conference), universities across the pond have also caught on. Julie Nelson Christoph, Director of the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA shares this year’s event with us.
Those of us who procrastinate have a special relationship with our procrastination, in its many varieties and causes. There’s the dreaded procrastination because of fear of the task, there’s joyous procrastination because of more enticing alternatives, and—when we’re smart—there’s what Professor John Perry calls “structured procrastination,” or putting the urge to procrastinate to good use by re-prioritizing our priority lists, so that the truly useful tasks (like major writing projects) become the distractions from the other tasks on the list (like vaguely important emails that seem pressing but have been forgotten by everyone but you).
Stephanie Dreyürst, founder and director of the Writing Center at Frankfurt’s Goethe-University, holds a PhD in Early Modern German Literature. She is interested in everything that has to do with (academic) writing, reading and thinking. Her favorite areas of research include personal learning environments, writing intensive courses, Writing Fellows, and Digital Humanities projects. She’s a proud member of the board of the German Skeptics. Below is her account of the #lnap events this year in Germany.
Like every year, I wrote and read a lot during the Long Night Against Procrastination. Only this time I never left home. My bed, to be precise.
Normally, as one of two Directors of the Writing Center at Frankfurt’s Goethe University, I would have been with our peer tutors, supervising the event, watching writers settle into the library’s seats, making sure everybody was fine and happy, drinking the occasional cup of coffee (or three), closing the doors after a really long night, probably around 6:30 in the morning. But not this time.
Both my colleague and I had caught a cold and we just couldn’t be there. A real pity, because it’s such a special night for all of us and we normally have a huge amount of fun with the students and our tutors. But being bed-stricken gave me the opportunity to watch much closer than I normally would have what my colleagues at other Writing Centers were doing and what all the nocturnal writers were saying about their perspective on the Long Night Against Procrastination. Continue reading
This year March 5, 2015 is the day many international writing centers celebrate the Long Night Against Procrastination. Patrick Johnson, Director of the Meijer Center for Writing at Grand Valley State University, shares how his institution has run a #lndah, or how they refer to it, a #NAP event for the last 3 years (this year will be their 4th). Unfortunately, due to the university’s spring break, the Center for Writing has delayed their NAP event until March 12-13. Below is a brief overview about the planned events.
The Night Against Procrastination has become an annual tradition at Grand Valley State University. We started offering the event four years ago after learning about it from Sandra Ballweg (TU Darmstadt). Each year it has grown and we have been able to involve more campus programs in the promotion and organization of the event. The first year we held the event we had roughly 120 students attend, whereas last year we had over 200.
For students, NAP is an opportunity to get started on end-of-semester projects/papers after returning from spring break. For writing consultants, it is an essential form of staff bonding where many consultants participate as students as well as assisting with the running of the event. Traditionally, there are not many public outreach events that writing center’s host, so NAP is our one event where we invite everyone on campus to come to the writing center, learn about services, and surround themselves with productivity. A local pizza restaurant donates pizza for our midnight snack and we also offer desk yoga, brain games, campus walks and sunset viewings, as well as a victor’s breakfast for those who survive the night. We also give out pins to students who participate that say “power napper” and “I went all night.” Continue reading
“More and more conversations I have (and observe other artists having) with engineers and producers is quite similar to conversations between student writers and writing center staffers. Furthermore, every time I go to a conference, I meet someone else who does music (as an at-home hobby, as a weekend player, in a vocal ensemble or choir, or in other kinds of music)…”
With the support of the SWCA Conference, chaired by Stacia Watkins, who helped closely with the project, he put out a call last fall to the writing center community–not to write a paper, or panel another presentation, but to contribute music.
The result was Write It Like Disaster, described as “a compilation of music made by writing center staffers, professionals, and allies.”
Editor’s note: I asked Amber Slater, a former tutor of mine now studying Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse at DePaul University, to talk about how their Writing Center is preparing for International Writing Centers Week.
International Writing Centers Week, running from February 8th-14th, is almost upon us! At DePaul’s University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL), this means a flurry of programming, celebration, and the annual release of the highly coveted UCWbL t-shirt.
The UCWbL is home not only to DePaul’s Writing Center, but also many other writing-related initiatives such as Writing Fellows, Writing Groups, and Workshops, which is the team that I work with directly as a Graduate Assistant. Our team traditionally produces and facilitates in-class workshops at the request of professors on topics ranging from group work to personal statements. During this year’s International Writing Centers Week, though, we are expanding our team’s efforts and offering voluntary, in-house workshops for all DePaul writers.
Katrin Girgensohn, Writing Center Academic Director of the writing center at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder (located on the border with Poland) is currently also the chair of the European Writing Centers Association (EWCA). She and Daniel Spielmann, webmaster for the website “Long Night against Procrastination,” provided information about this event for this blog. The event mirrors the #InternationalWriteIn that successfully took place last December 4-9, 2014. Organized by over 22 small liberal arts college writing programs and the writing centers consortium, these campuses hosted an International Write-In between the end of classes and beginning of exams.
The first writing center event called “Lange Nacht der aufgeschobenen Hausarbeiten” took place at the writing center at European University Viadrina in 2010. In 2011 six more writing centers in Germany joined and in 2012 the event became international, with writing centers in the USA participating. This year organizers are hoping that they might have writing centers from Iceland, Australia and Canada participating, too.
To connect all participating writing centers, the wordpress blog Long Night against Procrastination (Schreibnacht) was created in 2012. The hashtag: #lndah (lange nacht der aufgeschobenen hausarbeiten, which means “Long Night of Postponed Papers” but many writing centers use “Long Night against Procrastination” to advertise this event) initially linked posts on various social media.Starting this year, organizers are also promoting the hashtag #writein for especially international participants. Continue reading
From Brandon Hardy, an instructor in the English Department of Middle Tennessee State University and a Peer Mentor in the University Writing Center:
My writing center colleagues and I would like to invite you to participate in our first Academic Text Talk (#actexttalk) at the end of January 2015, a monthly online event in which we will read and discuss important academic texts related to peer tutoring and the teaching of writing. Below you’ll find the link to the text we would like to discuss starting January 28th, within our Google+ Community called “International Peer Tutoring.” The link to the community is also provided below. For more information, please read the official announcement below the links for details. We look forward to chatting with you about scholarship that continues to revitalize the writing center field! Quick links:
Here is how it works:
Announcement of the first Academic Text Talk (#actexttalk) We are really glad to announce to you the start of the Academic Text Talk, which promotes the reading of academic texts, discussing them together, and benefiting from this process with new experiences and knowledge. This project also advocates connecting across borders and developing an international community of people who are interested in writing theory and especially peer tutoring (everyone interested in or working with this concept is welcome).
Dr. Lucie Moussu writes:
I have been Director of the University of Alberta’s Centre for Writers (C4W) for almost six years, now, after getting a PhD in ESL at Purdue University and working as ESL Coordinator and Writing Centre Director at Ryerson University, in Toronto, for three years. The C4W is growing very quickly, with more than 40 graduate and undergraduate tutors (trained in a course I teach every fall). We served about 7000 students, faculty members, and staff last year, and we would like to help more people but we are running out of space. Most writing centre directors in Canada have administrative positions and I am one of the very few, if not the only one in Canada, who has a tenured faculty/Writing Centre Director position.
The Canadian Writing Centres’ Association (CWCA) used to be the “daughter” of a larger Canadian conference but seceded about three years ago, just as I was joining it. It had its very first independent conference in Victoria, in 2013, and a second conference near Toronto, last spring. Its next conference will be in Ottawa, in May. First, I was its francophone representative and now I am its Vice-Chair. Since I became involved in this association, I have tried to get tutors involved in research and presentations at our conferences. Historically, only writing centre administrators and directors have presented, since tutor research and involvement has not been something that is done in Canada, but I am trying to change this. To encourage tutors to attend and present at our conferences, I am trying to put together some kind of tutor bursary and create a “tutors interest section.” My C4W tutors have been the only ones presenting at the CWCA conferences so far, and I hope that the bursary and my efforts will pay off one day and we’ll have more directors getting their tutors involved in small projects and attending the conference and presenting together.
FROM THE CALL FOR PAPERS
Ideas connect us to the world and reconnect us to our lives and our professional practice, and theories and research can reconfirm what we do, or can provide us with fresh perspectives. We invite you to present a paper, conduct a workshop, or suggest a panel or roundtable on one of the following “capital ideas”:
- The politics of location and funding in the Writing Centre
- Perceptions of the Writing Centre in the community: Debunking myths.
- Inclusive practices in the Writing Centre: Focusing on indigenous populations and bilingualism.
- Opportunities for self-reflection in the Writing Centre.
- The theory and practice of tutor training for the Writing Centre.
- Technology and the Writing Centre.
- Facilitating collaborative practices between Faculty and the Writing Centre.
The Seventh Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan. It will be hosted this year by Tokyo International 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. The submission deadline is January 15, 2015. To register to attend or to submit a proposal for a presentation, visit the WCAJ website.
This week, from December 4-9, over 22 small liberal arts college writing programs and writing centers consortium are hosting an International Write-In between the end of classes and beginning of exams. 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.
Selected tweets from the event are displayed below. Add your own, using the hashtag #nationalwritein!
— Swarthmore WAs (@Swarthmore_WAs) December 16, 2014
— Amherst Writing Ctr (@ACWritingCenter) December 12, 2014
— The WRC at CWRU (@CWRU_WRC) December 10, 2014
The first #NationalWriteIn is coming to a close. Thank you to all of the schools and students who participated.
— Jill Gladstein (@jgladst1) December 11, 2014