“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.

 

Middle East and North Africa Writing Center Alliance conference: Transfer and Transform

Elizabeth Whitehouse (Ewhitehouse@uaeu.ac.ae) is the Executive Secretary of the Middle East and North Africa Writing Center Alliance (MENAWCA) and the Supervisor of the Student Academic Success Program (SASP) Writing Centers at United Arab Emirates University.

Following up on our first post about MENAWCA in 2015, Elizabeth Whitehouse provides an update here and talks about their 6th biennial conference in February 2018, Transfer and Transform.

WLN Blog: Tell us about MENAWCA. What does it stand for? How did it begin?  How do you communicate with each other?
Elizabeth: MENAWCA stands for the Middle East and North Africa Writing Center Alliance; we are a regional affiliate of the IWCA. The alliance was established by some teachers at my own institution, UAEU, in 2007. They saw a need for a network to connect writing center directors, tutors and staff in the Middle East and North Africa region. Since then, MENAWCA has worked to foster best practice in MENA writing centers, provide professional development and networking opportunities, raise awareness of the value of writing centers as an educational resource and promote research into MENA writing center activities. We pursue these goals in various ways, such as our website, newsletters, listserve and social media (Facebook; Twitter) but most importantly, we hold biennial conferences for our membership and the wider community.

WLN Blog: You are organizing an upcoming conference. Does the conference have a theme? What do you hope participants will get out of the experience and what do you hope to achieve by organizing this conference?
Elizabeth: Yes, work is underway for our 6th biennial conference, which we are convening in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). The conference will be held in the beautiful, historic oasis town of Al Ain, in the UAE, in February 2018. Our conference theme is ‘Transfer and Transform,’ which we hope will act as a springboard for engaging discussions and critical reflections on our work with student writers in the Arab world.  Participants will have an opportunity to share insights, raise questions, hopefully get some answers, and leave with refreshing new ideas and perspectives that will help them advance the work of their centers.  We are particularly excited to be welcoming Dr. Chris Anson, Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Campus Writing and Speaking Program at North Carolina State University, as our keynote speaker; his wide-ranging scholarly expertise encompasses areas of key importance to our work with student writers (http://www.ansonica.net/).

WLN Blog: Can you tell us about opportunities and challenges you see for the MENAWCA and for writing centers in the region?
Elizabeth: MENAWCA is in a position to offer professional development opportunities for anyone involved in writing center work in the region. Whether someone attends our conferences, reads our newsletters, uses our website, or seeks advice by posting a question on our listserve, MENAWCA should help them get an answer to a writing center related question. It is not uncommon for teachers in the region (such as myself) to find themselves tasked with starting or managing a writing center, with little or possibly no prior writing center experience. Being able to visit an established center or link up with a more experienced peer can be a great help. I see a lot of potential for MENAWCA to expand its work, particularly in encouraging discussion about the work of writing centers in ESOL academic communities. That brings us directly to the challenges!  While institutions in the region often use higher education models established in the US, the academic support services that go with those models are not always in place, or secure. Center directors can find themselves expending a lot of time and effort explaining and justifying their work, and trying to secure appropriate resources. Of course, this challenge is not unique to our region. Continue reading “Middle East and North Africa Writing Center Alliance conference: Transfer and Transform”

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

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

Ann Gardiner

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

Brian Hotson

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

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

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

Continue reading “Our new WLN Blog co-editors: Ann Gardiner and Brian Hotson”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you! Please write with any questions at all.

Cinthia Gannett and Tiane (Christiane) Donahue

Job Posting: Full-time Teaching Stream Position for ELL Specialist

The Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre at the University of Toronto Mississauga is hiring an English Language Learning (ELL) specialist. This is a full-time Teaching Stream position beginning July 1, 2014.

For more details, see the attached posting or CLICK HERE TO APPLY ONLINE

Please note, the deadline for applications is March 7, 2014.

Feel free to contact me at tyler.tokaryk@utoronto.ca for more information.

Two new publications of interest across borders

Colleagues,

I’m pleased to announce that the collection I co-edited with Michelle Cox—WAC and Second-Language Writers: Research Towards Linguistically and Culturally Inclusive Programs and Practices—is now available online at http://wac.colostate.edu/books/l2/. Among the 18 chapters are articles written by authors from China, Lebanon, and Sweden, along with a rich array of articles co-authored by TESL and composition scholar-practitioners.  The book will also come out in print from Parlor Press in March.

I also want to let folks know that the Fall 2013 issue of The WAC Journal is available at http://wac.colostate.edu/journal/. The issue includes a review of Wu Dan’s book Introducing Writing Across the Curriculum into China: Feasibility and Adaptation as well as an article Marty Townsend (Univ. of Missouri) and I co-authored “Conversations in Process: An Observational Report on WAC in China.”

–Terry Myers Zawacki, George Mason University, tzawacki@gmu.edu

CFP: Sixth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia

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

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

For more information, visit the conference site.

CFP for MENAWCA 2014 Conference

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

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

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

Deadline for Submissions: April 15th, 2014

Continue reading “CFP for MENAWCA 2014 Conference”

Three Professors In English Discuss Effective Writing

We just uploaded interviews with three professors in our English Department:

http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/english/  (see left hand menu for links to videos).

Our Writing Consultants conducted these interviews. They may load slowly, as they are locally hosted. We have about 30 more in various fields. See the handbooks linked from this page:

http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/disciplines.html

Our long-term goal is to compile interviews for each handbook, as well as sample papers with commentary by the professors and writers (including some reflective “what if” remarks).

New Blog: The Writing Centre @ UWC

If you were previously following the University of Western Cape’s blog, it’s time to update your blogrolls! They’ve migrated to a new wordpress site, The Writing Centre @ UWC.  They’ve been maintaining an active web presence, with weekly posts on topics ranging from the position of the writing centre in the university to tutor training techniques. Check them out!

Writing Center News You Can Use, May 2013

News You Can Use is a selection of articles that concern language and writing in an international context. Have an interesting article to share? Post it in the comments below or on Facebook!

It’s summer reading time! The summer 2013 issue of Kairos includes several articles of interest to the international community.

The latest issue of Praxis is also filled with great articles, including Tzu-Shan Chang’s “The Idea of a Writing Center in Asian Countries: A Preliminary Search of Models in Taiwan.” 

And just for fun, a look at “Words that Last,” “‘ultraconserved words’ that have remained largely unchanged for 15,000 years.”

Writing Center News You Can Use, March 2013

News You Can Use is a selection of articles, taken from Writing Lab Newsletter‘s Facebook page, that concern language and writing in an international context. Have an interesting article to share? Post it in the comments below or on Facebook!

 

“It’s almost as though somebody with a giant eraser is literally trying to erase punctuation from our consciousness.” Read about the “war on apostrophes” in one British town.

A Japanese publisher has printed what may be the “world’s tiniest book.”  I wonder how students would feel to see that one on a syllabus.

And finally, do we need to ™ this post? Sweden rows with Google over term ‘ungoogleable’

Writing Center News You Can Use, February 2013

Over on the Michigan State University Writing Center blog, Ruth Shillair tells us “How to have the best. appointment. ever.”

The Writing Center at Passaic County Community College has been celebrating National Translation Month. Check out some translations of Bulgarian poetry as well as other translation posts on their blog.

The Marian E. Wright Writing Center at UM-Flint has created an International Writing Centers Week project to connect writing centers across borders. Scroll through their “Twitter Writing Center Love” post to see if you can spot any familiar WCs!

Fifth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia: April 20, 2013

The Fifth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2013, in Tokyo, Japan. It will be hosted again this year by the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS).

Proposals are sought in all areas of research and practice related to writing centers as well as the teaching and learning of writing. Both research- and practice-based presentations are welcome. The submission deadline is April 1, 2013.

For more information, please visit the Web site of the Writing Centers Association of Japan.

Please forward this message to anyone who might be interested.

Tom Gally
Associate Professor
Department of Language and Information Sciences
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Managing Director, ALESS Program, College of Arts and Sciences
The University of Tokyo

From Local Center to Global OWL: An Interview with Muriel Harris

The PCCC Writing Center Blog welcomes Muriel Harris, founder of the Purdue OWL. Muriel Harris is professor emerita of English, Writing Lab Founder and Director (retired), founder and current editor of the Writing Lab Newsletter and founder of Purdue’s award-winning Online Writing Lab (OWL). She has published books, including The Prentice Hall Reference Guide and The Writer’s FAQs through Pearson. In this interview, Harris talks about the Purdue OWL best practices, its humble beginnings, and what’s next for the online lab.

PCCC Writing Center: The OWL at Purdue is known as the oldest online writing lab but also one of the most comprehensive. How did the OWL get its start? Can you talk about the process of establishing an OWL?
Muriel Harris: The Purdue OWL started as a small e-mail service and morphed into a huge website along with the technology that was available at each stage of its growth. Way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and there was no Internet, most writing centers had cabinets filled with paper handouts to use in tutorials. When the earliest e-mail became available (before web browsers), I decided it would be helpful for students writing their papers at night (especially on Sundays) if we could make the handouts available online. Somehow, by securing small bits of funding, I managed to find students who could type those handouts in ASCII characters and upload them so that they’d be available 24/7 by e-mail request. The attempts at formatting were minimal in that limited online environment. But a student with programming skills was able to set up the service so that a user could send an e-mail requesting the index and get an instant response. Then, the student could browse through the index and request specific handouts listed there, send off the e-mail request for them, and again get an instant response.

National Day on Writing in Qatar

On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, the Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) Writing Center celebrated the National Day on Writing for the second year in a row.

Everyone at VCUQatar (students, faculty, and staff) was invited to write a note to Her Highness Sheikah Mozah, telling Her Highness how her dream of creating Education City has changed their lives and thanking her.  Participants were also welcome to write a note of any kind to anyone of their choosing.  Cards written to Her Highness will be delivered in a special box with a cover letter from the Dean.

Refreshments were available throughout the day.  Additionally, the video “Writing Across Borders” ran in a continuous loop for participants to view.  The VCUQatar Writing Center staff hopes to continue this as an annual tradition.

News from the WAC Clearinghouse

Recently, Mike Palmquist published the following information on the WPA-list and I was thinking it might be of interest also to some of readers of this blog.  /Magnus

I am pleased to announce that two new books series supported by the WAC Clearinghouse are now accepting proposals for manuscripts. These series represent a great deal of generosity of time, effort, and intellectual leadership by their editors, and I hope you’ll join me in thanking them for the contributions to our community. I would also like to call your attention to the Sustainable Publishing Initiative, which the Clearinghouse has launched to explore new approaches to scholarly publishing. The Initiative invites participation, donations, and other forms of support. The two new series and the Initiative are described below.

International Studies of Writing
Series Editors: Terry Myers Zawacki, George Mason University; Magnus Gustafsson, Chalmers University of Technology; Joan Mullin, Illinois State University; and Susan Thomas, University of Sydney

The International Studies of Writing Series publishes book-length manuscripts that address worldwide perspectives on writing, writers, teaching with writing, and scholarly writing practices, specifically those that draw on scholarship across national and disciplinary borders to challenge parochial understandings of all of the above. The series aims to examine writing activities in 21st-century contexts, particularly how they are informed by globalization, national identity, social networking, and increased cross-cultural communication and awareness. As such, the series strives to investigate how both the local and the international inform writing research and the facilitation of writing development. To learn more, visit http://wac.colostate.edu/books/international.cfm.

Excellence in K-12 WAC
Series Editor: Pamela B. Childers, The McCallie School

The Excellence in K-12 WAC Series addresses cross-disciplinary writing studies in K-12. Consistent with the more general Perspectives on Writing Series in its wide-ranging approaches characteristic of teaching and scholarship in writing across the curriculum, this K-12 series will include works that focus on writing in a variety of disciplines, the teaching of writing at the primary, middle or secondary level across disciplines, WAC partnerships, the administration of a WAC program in K-12 schools, and the study of writing in relation to curriculum, ESL, writing/learning centers, NWP, other literacies, or standardized assessments. This recently announced series is now accepting proposals. To learn more, visit http://wac.colostate.edu/books/k12.cfm.

The Sustainable Publishing Initiative
The Initiative is an ambitious effort to study, develop, and assess sustainable alternatives to the scholarly publishing model that has long dominated the production of scholarly books and journals. The goal is of the Initiative to carry out demonstration projects, convene study groups, and consider and test potential new models for scholarly publishing. The first projects associated with the Initiative include the 25 Collective, a project that intends to publish 25 books for a total cash investment of $50,000 or less. To learn more, visit http://wac.colostate.edu/sustain/.

To learn more about these new books series and the Sustainable Publishing Initiative, please visit the WAC Clearinghouse at http://wac.colostate.edu.