“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”

Interview with Dr. Julie Christoph about NCPTW

Editor’s Note: I chatted with Dr. Julie Christoph, the chair of this year’s National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW), about her work, the theme of this year’s NCPTW, and what we can expect from the conference. The NCPTW will take place November 4-6 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Interested in submitting a proposal? You can find a link to the CFP at the bottom of this post!

Hi Julie! Can you tell us about yourself and your work?

julie christophI’m currently Professor of English and Director of the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching at the University of Puget Sound, which is a small liberal arts college in Tacoma, Washington. I developed my love for writing centers as an undergraduate writing center tutor at Carleton College, and I later went on to do my doctoral work in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I taught in the writing center and also served as an early assistant director of the Undergraduate Writing Fellows Program. Though writing centers are what brought me to the field of writing studies, my position as writing center director is relatively new. I have spent most of my career teaching courses in writing, rhetoric, and culture in the English department; consequently, my research agenda is eclectic. My primary area of research explores what is personal to writers about their argumentative writing: how does a writer as a living, breathing person appear on the pages of academic writing? How do writers’ personal histories, predilections, and prejudices enter into their academic writing? To what extent are writers able to be transparent about their personal history and biases in their writing—and to what extent do readers’ responses to writing exceed the limits of what writers have knowingly represented about themselves? As my teaching load has evolved into the writing center, I’ve increasingly moved toward thinking about writer identity in the writing center, and I’m going to be spending part of my sabbatical next year in at Goethe University in Germany doing a contrastive study with some writing center colleagues there.

The theme for this year’s conference is “It’s for Everyone: The Inclusive Writing Center.”  Can you tell us about how this theme was chosen?

The theme of this year’s NCPTW is an extension of work we’ve been doing at the University of Puget Sound’s writing center (or, more accurately, the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching). As is the case throughout higher education, our enrollment demographics are changing. Our campus is becoming more racially, economically, and neurologically diverse, and we’ve been making concerted efforts to adapt and change our writing center to meet the needs and interests of our students.

In the last four years, we have refocused our mission around anti-racist and inclusive practices. We’ve had some tremendously useful conversations around concepts like Claude Steele’s “stereotype threat,” and the ideas in the collection Writing Centers and the New Racism. We’d love to continue the conversation with a wider circle of people, so it seemed natural to extend these themes to the conference itself. Continue reading “Interview with Dr. Julie Christoph about NCPTW”

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

Invitation to EWCA conference 2014 in Germany

Dear colleagues,
We cordially invite you to the 2014 EWCA conference at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder)/Germany. Proposals are due by January 15!

Let’s peer across borders – writing centers in motion

July 19th-22nd 2014

–          Directly on the Polish border

–          One hour train ride from Berlin

postcard ewca 2014 conferenceWe would like to invite you to peer into the future of writing centers in Europe and worldwide. During the last years, many things came into motion with regards to writing centers and writing pedagogies: New centers opened, new literacies became vital, new research areas became important, new collaborations started. Our 2014 conference aims to offer a space for peering into the work of others and for starting new collaborations in research and practices. The verb “to peer” indicates that we invite everybody to consider our everyday work and to take a scholarly stance. It also reminds us of peer learning and a truly collaborative learning experience. To ensure exciting and lasting networking across borders we invite research-based presentations, workshops, and poster presentations, but will also offer an open space session and possibilities to meet with special interest group

The conference lingua franca will be English. However, please feel free to offer your sessions also in Polish, French or German.

Please find  the call for papers at the conference homepage: www.ewca14.eu.

We are looking forward to meeting you in July 2014!

Best wishes,

Katrin Girgensohn

CFP: Symposium Supporting English Writing Competencies, March 27-28, 2014 (Lueneburg, Germany)

The one and a half day symposium “Supporting English Writing Competencies: The Role of Writing Centers in Second Language Learning” at Leuphana University, Lüneburg, March 27-28, 2014, focuses on different organizational structures for L2 writing support within European universities and provides the opportunity for professionals to exchange L2, and particularly English composition teaching practices.
 
We will provide a forum for writing center personnel (professional staff and students tutors/consultants), lecturers and faculty in foreign language departments, lecturers and faculty who teach in English or other languages in an L2 context, non-university affiliated second language specialists, university administrators and staff, and those interested starting a writing center. We particularly invite colleagues who address writing competencies in L2 contexts other than English.
There are two ways to present your work at the symposium:
 
1. Poster Session
We welcome 250-300-word poster proposals for an interactive poster and networking session on Friday afternoon. Possible topics include:
·      Program development at your ESL/L2 writing center
·      The role of ESL/L2 writing competencies within your institution and department
·      Research projects on writing competencies in an ESL/L2 context
·      Teaching strategies/techniques that emphasize academic writing in ESL/L2 contexts
·      Composition support for discipline-specific genres
·      Interdisciplinary academic writing
2. Presentations
We invite proposals (500 words maximum) for 15 minute presentations with 10 minute questions and answer sessions on best practices for L2 composition support. Possible topics include:
·      Writing Center pedagogies
·      Writing Across the Curriculum Initiatives
·   Navigating discipline-specific writing conventions such as those found in the natural sciences, social sciences, business, etc.
·   Integrating writing in foreign language classrooms/centers Using online tools for in-class peer feedback and opportunities for teaching ESL/L2 writing online
·   Writing skills in English for Academic Purposes
Deadline for Submission: January 24, 2014, midnight (CET), to writingcompetencies@leuphana.de

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”

2013 NEWCA Call for Proposals!

Writing Enriched, Writing Enhanced:
Writing Centers and Writing Across the Curriculum
as Partners and Agents for Change

Call for Proposals – NEWCA 2013
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH
April 13-14, 2013
Proposals due by January 4, 2013

Keynote Speakers: Susanmarie Harrington & Sue Dinitz, University of Vermont

Call for Proposals
Throughout the Northeast, writing centers are emerging from the Great Recession as leaner and more innovative units. Our realities vary by geography and institutions, but we share a bond of helping writers and learners whose needs often exceed the historical boundaries of English composition and rhetoric courses. We also embrace a common set of values around mentoring writers in ways that help them better understand process, particularly in how meta-awareness creates possibilities to scaffold between assignments, courses and experiences. Writing centers exist as powerful sites from which the competing and complementing demands of discourses, disciplines and conventions become legible and actionable as students move across and within curricula. Writing across the Curriculum Programs, often partners with writing centers, work with students and faculty alike to challenge received ways and genres of writing in the disciplines, to reinvigorate the nexus of writing to learn/learning to write, and to foster awareness of communities of practice and local conventions of expressions. Most importantly, these partners can enact change through vital conversations about teaching, learning, and writing. Continue reading “2013 NEWCA Call for Proposals!”