Happy New Year to our writing center friends and colleagues around the world!
As we enter the new year and a new semester, we wanted to take this opportunity to formally introduce ourselves as the new editors of Connecting Writing Centers across Borders, a blog of the Writing Lab Newsletter: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship. As many of you know from the announcement on the wcenter listserv last Fall, Brian Hotson stepped down as the Editor in the beginning of the Fall semester to work on a book project and launch a digital writing project journal. I served as his Associate Editor for a semester and was honored that he asked me to step in as the Editor. I have since invited Esther Namubiru to join me as Associate Editor. Both of us are based out of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, and our specialization is in teaching writing to multilingual writers. In this work, we collaborate with the writing center at George Mason where we used to work as tutors (both) and as director (Anna). As multilingual international and immigrant students, tutors, and now faculty members ourselves, we have a personal and professional passion in connecting with writing studies and writing center colleagues globally and in supporting multilingual student writers in the North American context as well as in global contexts.
The CWCAB goal remains constant.
Our goal for the blog is to honor and support Muriel “Mickey” Harris’ initial vision that the blog be “a space that allows writing center specialists to transcend borders and share, learn, collaborate, and meet each other.” And, in the words of Josh Ambrose, who served as the Blog Editor beginning in 2014 after Harris established it in 2012, to “explore writing center-minded narratives/approaches [that reach] across borders.”
We took the Fall semester to familiarize ourselves with the site, to do some back-end design and organization, and to make plans for the Spring. Our aim this semester, and this coming year, is to actively solicit pieces from our international colleagues that profile new writing centers emerging in global contexts and specific opportunities/challenges WC directors/coordinators/tutors have been faced within these local contexts.
We’re asking several questions this year.
In the spirit of crossing borders and learning from each other, we’re curious about what is happening internationally, especially in corners of the world we don’t hear much about in our field’s conversations (African countries, S. Korea, Eastern Europe, etc.?) What might those of us in the North American context learn from our colleagues in different parts of the world about writing center theory and practice? How might practices/histories/approaches outside of the North American context inform the work many of us here in the U.S. do with our multilingual and international student-writers? Given our globalized educational contexts and institutional missions for internationalization and diversity, how might writing center work with writers in/from different parts of the world enrich our theories/tutoring approaches/ways of doing? What can we all offer each other in terms of perspective, ideas, techniques, support, and community?
We also intend to share tips/tools/ideas from writing center scholars and practitioners that compliment the scholarship published WLN Journal and that can support our international community as they establish, grow, and run writing centers–big or small, traditional or makeshift, online or face-to-face, operating in English or in multiple languages.
We need you to help accomplish this work.
As you can see, we’re full of questions and eager to enhance our global virtual conversation on this blog, ideally both in English and in other languages. But, we can’t do all that on our own! Please join us by subscribing to the blog if you aren’t already registered. You can do so on the front page of the blog in the right hand column. We’d love to grow our readership and participants and to hear from our colleagues who are directing or working in writing centers internationally.
As a way to begin our interactions and conversations, you’ll notice that we have an invitation for our readers to contribute a short comment about a writing-center-related success (big or small) from this year/decade on our main page. Click here and if you have a few minutes, do share your news. Our goal is to hear from our global network and to celebrate each other’s accomplishments.
If you have ideas for blog posts you’d like to see or even one you’d like to write, please do let us know. We’re eager to hear from you!
All the best for the new year and happy writing, tutoring, and teaching this Spring!
-Anna & Esther