CFP || 2020 IWCA Collaborative

Milwaukee, WI: Location for 2020 IWCA Collaborative

The deadline to submit proposals for the 2020 IWCA Collaborative has been extended to December 15th 2019. The theme of the collaborative is “Contact Zones in Writing Center Work”. For a list of topics related to the theme, please click ‘here.’

The collaborative will be on March 25th  in Milwaukee, WI. Are you planning to attend? Let us know in the comment box below.

Do you have more CFPs to share? Please email writinglabnewsletterblog@gmail.com. Want your CFP alerts sent directly to your inbox? Please subscribe to our blog!

CFP || Join the Twelfth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia

Osaka University, Suita Campus – the venue for the 12th Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia.

The Writing Centers Association of Japan is now accepting proposals for its twelfth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia. The theme for this year’s symposium is “Opportunities and Challenges for Writing and Writing Centers.” This symposium addresses “the role of writing centers in Asian educational institutions as well as the researching, teaching, and learning of writing.”

The Plenary Speaker will be Judy Noguchi (Kobe Gakuin University) presenting “Thoughts on Professional Writing for Mid 21st Century: ESL, DDL, and STEAM”. For more information, please visit “Writing Center Associations of Japan” or click here to download the symposium flyer.

To submit a proposal, click here. To register for the symposium, click here.

Deadline for submitting proposals: January 10, 2010

Symposium date: Sunday February 23, 2020 at Osaka University.

 

“Writing Centers at Schools”: An Initiative by the Lebanese American University Writing Center

Featured

Newly established High School Writing Center

In this interview with Dr. Amy Hodges (President of the Middle East North Africa Writing Center Alliance), Dr. Paula Abboud Habre and Hala Daouk of the Lebanese American University Writing Center talk about their center’s initiative to grow writing centers across high schools in Lebanon. The interview took place following MENAWCA’s April 2019 conference in Beirut, Lebanon

Continue reading

“The Art of it All:” Thoughts from IWCA 2019 Conference Presenters from Brazil

Members of our Writing Center community in Brazil, Thais Cons, Camila Rezende, Janice Nodari, Daniel Persia and others are running the first Writing Center in Brazil, which opened its doors three years ago at Universidade Federal do Paraná (Federal University of Paraná). They will be presenting at this year’s IWCA conference. In this post, they share their thoughts regarding this year’s conference theme as it relates to writing center work internationally. Continue reading

“The Art of It All:” Thoughts from 2019 IWCA Conference Chairs

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. 
Continue reading

CfP || IWCA/NCPTW Ideas Exchange >> Deadline: Monday, 8 July, 2019

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. (kbell@coloradocollege.edu), with any questions.

*Please note that presenters will be required to provide their own computer/technology.

CfP || Join the International Researcher’s Consortium workshop at CCCC 2020

For the twelfth year, the International Researcher’s Consortium will host a workshop at the annual College Conference on Composition and Communication (CCCC) conference located in the U.S. We are inviting brief proposals for up to twenty-four researcher-participant roles focused on international or transnational research about writing in higher education from all over the world (see details below about what this might include). By research, we mean a project with a focused research question, an identified methodology (qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic, historical, discourse analysis, corpus, etc), and the collection of data in some form. This research can be at any stage and does not need to be final. Your role in the workshop would be to provide a draft text about the research by the end of December 2019, to read the other workshop 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.
 
We know that researchers around the world are interested in finding sites for serious cross-national conversation that includes multiple research traditions. This workshop is designed to make space available for extended time to read, process, think through, and discuss in detail each other’s work at the College Conference on Composition and Communication, March 25-28, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. See the overall conference Call for Proposals theme here. Though your research is not required to connect to conference themes, this year’s theme is about inclusivity, tradition, innovation and the commonplace. We see this kind of workshop as a form of “inclusivity,” a means of articulating the commonplace to become more aware. Making research about writing connect across cultures, higher education systems and languages is an activity that pushes the boundaries of tradition and enables inclusivity. It leads to the creation of many different kinds of texts and informs our future scholarly and praxis-based efforts toward inclusivity.

Continue reading

Writing Center Journals Editorial Round Table || IWCA Collaborative @ CCCC 2019, March 13, 4-5pm, Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center

Writing Center Journal Editorial Round Table

Join WLN Co-Editor, Lee Ann Glowzenski, & WLN Blog Editor, Brian Hotson, for an Editorial Round Table with the four major journals in the field of writing center studies: Writing Lab Newsletter, The Peer Review, Writing Centre Journal, and Praxis.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center
Schenley 5-6
4:00 – 5:00 pm

From the conference program:

“This is a roundtable that brings together representatives from the four major journals in the field of writing center studies. Each person will talk for a few minutes about their particular journal’s mission and philosophy and will share recommendations for publication. Attendees will have an opportunity to speak with journal representatives in a Q and A format in the second half of the roundtable. This is a great opportunity for prospective authors to learn about publishing trends in the field of writing center studies and to meet some of the editors who help to shape these academic conversations”

IWCA Collaborative @ CCCC 2019 schedule now available

2019 IWCA @ CCCC Collaborative

Event Details

March 13, 2019

Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center, 9:00am – 5:00pm

 

Download the schedule as a pdf:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LinN2OmnKvQZifcPw-m35qx7lX7q2HaKLzT54qVUJJE/edit?usp=sharing

Contact IWCACollaborative2019@gmail.com with any questions.

 

Registration now open || 7th CWCA/ACCR conference >> Writing Centre Multiverse | Vancouver 2019

Writing Centre Multiverse | Vancouver 2019

Emily Carr University of Art & Design
May 30-31, 2019

> REGISTER TODAY! <

Keynote:
Deanna Reder, Simon Fraser University
Plenary:
Steve Marshall, Simon Fraser University

Conference Fees

Before April 13, 2019, 11:59PM (Early Bird)
Conference registration fee: $125
Conference registration fee for students: $75

After April 13, 2019
Conference registration fee: $150
Conference registration fee for students: $100

CfP & Conference || Pacific Northwest Writing Centers Association / Two-year College English Association of the Pacific Northwest, April 26-27, 2019

Dear Writing Center Colleagues in the Pacific Northwest and Beyond,
Join us April 26-27 in beautiful Yakima, Washington for the 2019 joint conference of the Pacific Northwest Writing Centers Association / Two-year College English Association of the Pacific Northwest.

The extended deadline for proposals is December 21. PNWCA has some scholarship funding for tutors to attend and share their work — check out the www.pnwca.org website for more details.

Please reach out to us with any questions. The Call for Proposals can be found here: http://pnwca.org/joint-conference-2019-cfp.

We’re looking forward to reading your proposals!

Many thanks from your PNWCA Co-Chairs,

Karen Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Director, Writing and Communication Center
Affiliate Faculty, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
University of Washington Bothell
Misty Anne Winzenried, PhD
Director / Odegaard Writing & Research Center
Affiliate Assistant Professor / Department of English
University of Washington Seattle

CfP & Conference || CWCA/ACCR The Writing Centre Multiverse: Vancouver 2019 >> Emily Carr University of Art + Design, May 30 & 31, 2019

6th Annual CWCA/ACCR Conference

The Writing Centre Multiverse: Vancouver 2019

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

May 30 & 31, 2019

We are excited to share the CFP for our annual Canadian Writing Centres Association Conference, which will take place at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design on May 30 and 31, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Our theme this year is “The Writing Centre Multiverse,” and we welcome proposals that explore how Writing Centres navigate, respond to, and negotiate the multiverse we all inhabit – in our spaces, our practices, and our research.

Proposals are due by January 10, 2019

For more information, or to submit a proposal, please visit our website: https://cwcaaccr.com/2019-cwca-accr-conference/

“Pastel Watercolour” Created by Kjpargeter – Freepik.com

CfP and Conference || 2019 CWWTC/RMWCA Tutor Con >> February 15-16, 2019 Auraria Campus, Denver, CO

2019 CWWTC/RMWCA Tutor Con

February 15-16, 2019

Auraria Campus

Denver, CO

CFP ends 12/7/18.

The University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Community College of Denver are pleased to host the 2019 Tutor Con, a joint conference of the Colorado and Wyoming Writing Tutors Conference (CWWTC) and the Rocky Mountain Writing Centers Association (RMWCA).

The theme for the 2019 Tutor Con is “Interdisciplinarity, Diversity, and Collaboration.” The conference begins on February 15, 2019, with interactive workshops both for tutors/consultants and professionals/administrators. On February 16, 2019, Dr. Tobi Jacobi, Director of the Center for Community Literacy, Research and Outreach in the Department of English at Colorado State University, will deliver the keynote address before a full day of presentations and special sessions.

The deadline for registration is January 18, 2019. Learn more at either cwwtc.org or rmwca.org. Contact the conference chair at Justin.Bain@ucdenver.edu.

CfP || CWCA/ACCR conference — The Writing Centre Multiverse: Vancouver May 30-31, 2019

The Writing Centre Multiverse: Vancouver May 30-31, 2019

For our 2019 conference, the Canadian Writing Centres Association/L’Association canadienne des centres de rédaction welcomes proposals on any writing-centre-related subject, but particularly invites proposals that explore how Writing Centres navigate, respond to, and negotiate the “multiverse” we all inhabit—in our spaces, our practices, and our research.

How, for example, do any of the following multis inform, enrich, and/or limit our work in the context of our own institutions? How do they intersect or overlap with practical, political, and/or personal concerns around training, pedagogy, administration, decolonization, or wellness? How do we as writing centre practitioners respond to, negotiate, or resist, any or all of these?

Continue reading

Music || Stamp+Ink: Writing Center fundraiser, IWCA Conference, Friday, October 12, 7-8pm

A few years ago, Scott Whiddon (Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication, Transylvania University) and Graham Stowe (Assistant Professor of English, Canisius College) became friends because of writing centers and a shared love of music.  Both are songwriters, guitar players, active musicians, and writing center directors. For the past few years, they’ve played various writing center gatherings as Stamp+Ink, performing at spaces such as The Carson McCullers Center (Columbus, GA), the Burns-Belfry Museum (Oxford, MS), and Gallery 5 (Richmond, VA).  Along the way, Whiddon and Stowe recorded a digital album called Beautiful Scenes and are releasing it as a fundraiser for undergraduate and graduate student scholarships.

Continue reading

加入写作中心在中国起步的浪潮 (宋凌珊) (Part 2 of 5, Writing Centers in China)

宋凌珊是密西西比学院写作中心的副主任。她也教授写作课与学生辅导的训练课程。凌珊的研究领域包括写作中心理论与实践、ESL辅导、文化研究与国际合作。她目前的研究项目致力于写作中心在中国的推广与建立。凌珊还同时兼任美国东南部写作中心协会的外事协调员、写作中心基督徒协会的TESOL代表、密西西比写作中心协会秘书、以及2018中国高校英文写作中心国际学术研讨会策划委员会成员。

[Joining the Momentum of Writing Center Establishment in China]

写作中心在美国的学术界已经有长远的历史并具有规模,然而在中国情况却有所不同。在中国的高校中,“写作中心”是过去十余年才开始引进的概念。在过去12年,从2006-2017年,有一小撮中国高校走在了建立写作中心的前沿,开始提供针对于英文写作的辅导。2017年6月9-11日,位于中国苏州的一所中英合办大学­­—西安交通利物浦大学举办了有史以来第一次的中国写作中心会议,这对于在中国的写作中心具有里程碑意义。

宋凌珊

写作中心在中国的建立进程是令人振奋的,可是迄今为止还没有学术研究专门针对中国现有的写作中心,也未开始探讨这些写作中心能够建立起来的关键促成因素。换言之,这些写作中心是如何开始的?关键因素有哪些?2017年9月-11月我开始了一项初始研究,致力于研究在中国内地现有的写作中心:这些写作中心存在哪些共性?考虑了哪些国情和本土因素?这些共性是否可以为将来其他写作中心的建立提供可参照的模型?

尽管每个写作中心有自己的特色,但我发现过去十年中美高校之间合作的蓬勃开展给写作中心在中国的建立提供了历史性的契机。“全球化”、“使中国高等教育与世界接轨”的概念深入人心,敦促中国高校与海外的大学开展两种形式的合作:1)与海外的大学合作成立交换学生项目;2)鼓励教师出国到合作院校访学。

例如,中国第一个写作中心(成立于2006年)就是得益于西安外国语大学与位于美国俄亥俄州的鲍林格林州立大学之间一个长期合作的交换项目。在西安外国语大学教授吴丹的一篇文章中,她介绍了中国第一所写作中心的建立并且强调说“西安外国语大学写作中心是借鉴了鲍林格林州立大学写作中心的模型,但是拥有自身的特色”(139)。另外,根据吴丹教授的研究,“这种模型【借鉴美国写作中心但是针对中国国情和地方特色作出调整】已经开始在全国的范围内被采纳。”北京师范大学珠海分校写作中心也借鉴了同样的模型。这个于2016年9月建立的写作中心就借鉴了几所海外大学的经验,包括波斯顿学院。 Continue reading

Joining the Momentum of Writing Center Establishment in China (Part 2 of 5, Writing Centers in China)

Lingshan Song is the Assistant Director of the Writing Center at Mississippi College (MC). She also teaches freshmen composition courses and the tutor training course at MC. Her research interests include writing center theory and practice, ESL tutoring, cultural studies, and international collaboration. Her ongoing research projects involve advocating for writing centers in China and supporting writing center establishment there. Lingshan also serves as Outreach Coordinator on the Southeastern Writing Center Association (SWCA) board, TESOL Representative for the Association of Christians in Writing Centers (ACWC), Secretary of Mississippi Writing Centers Association, and Member for the International Symposium of English Writing Center in Chinese Universities planning committee.

[加入写作中心在中国起步的浪潮]

While writing centers have a long history in American academia and are well established in the U.S., in the past decade, writing centers have just started revealing their values to higher education institutions in China. In the past twelve years, from 2006-2017, a batch of Chinese higher institutions have started writing centers to provide tutoring for English writing. Another important step in writing center development was the inaugural conference of Writing Center Association of China, held from June 9-11, 2017 in the Sino-British university, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, located in Suzhou, China.

Lingshan Song

With the exciting progress of building writing centers in China, there is yet to be a study about existing writing centers in China and their contributing elements commonly observed. In other words, how did these writing centers get started? What elements are essential to their establishment? I conducted preliminary research from September to November 2017, aiming to investigate existing writing centers in mainland China and discover commonalities among them and explore possible models for future writing center establishments in China, considering local adaptations.

Despite local adaptations, I found that as international partnerships prosper between U.S. universities and Chinese universities in the past decade, it has created a historical timing for writing center establishment in China. The “globalization” concept, bringing China’s education more in line with international practice, urges Chinese higher institutions to form international partnerships with oversea universities in two forms: 1) by developing exchange student programs with partner universities; 2) sending faculty to partner universities as visiting scholars. Continue reading

CfP >> Tenth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia: Innovations in Writing Education || March 9th, 2018 || Toyo University

The Writing Centers Association of Japan 第9回

シンポジウム開催「Innovations in Writing Education」
日時:2017年3月9日(金)
主催:東洋大学、The Writing Centers Association of Japan
協賛:政策研究大学院大学
会場:東洋大学(東京都文京区白山5-28-20)
参加登録には、 https://goo.gl/forms/gQAPw2d7nDzLf5cG3 にアクセスしてください。(無料)
発表者募集:ライティングセンターおよびライティング指導/学習に関する研究発表、実践報
告を募集します。
発表時間は質疑応答も含め、25分です。PowerPointなどのプレゼンソフトの使用を是非ご検討
ください。その場合は、ご自分のパソコンやアダプターをご持参ください。
シンポジウムにおける使用言語は英語と日本語です。
応募方法
使用言語:英語または日本語
タイトル: 100英字(スペースを含め)または50和字以内
プログラム掲載用要約:英文100語または和文250字程度
要旨:英文200〜300語または和文500〜800字
氏名、所属、メールアドレス(共同発表の場合は全員)
応募書類を https://goo.gl/forms/qFLoZWh0QWwDwSLy2 で提出してください。
応募期限:2018年2月14日
採否通知:2018年2月19日

The Writing Centers Association of Japan, in conjunction with Toyo University and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), is pleased to announce the Tenth Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia to be held on March 9th, 2018. The theme this year is “Innovations in Writing Education.”

This symposium provides opportunities for scholars, teachers, students, university administrators, and other professionals to come together to exchange ideas about the role of writing centers in Asian educational institutions as well as the teaching and learning of writing. The symposium attracts a large number of participants, demonstrating the growing importance
of writing centers and a high level of interest in the role and functions of writing centers and writing in Asian higher education. We welcome a diverse group of participants and presenters
from a variety of contexts to join us. Attendance and participation are free.

Location
Toyo University
5-28-20, Hakusan, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo 112-8606, Japan

If you plan to attend, please register online.

Call for Proposals
The Program Committee invites proposals for both research and practice-based presentations in English and Japanese. Presenters will have 25 minutes to present and answer questions.
Presenters are encouraged to use presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint), though they will need to bring their own computers and adapters. We also welcome poster presentations. This
year, reports on newly established writing centers and writing programs are particularly welcome, as well as other topics related to writing education.

Submission Guidelines
Language of proposals and presentations: Either English or Japanese
• Title: Up to 100 letters (including spaces) in English or 50 characters in Japanese
• Summary for the symposium program: About 100 words in English or 250 characters in Japanese
• Abstract: 200 to 300 words in English or 500 to 800 characters in Japanese
• Names, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of all presenters

Proposals are to be submitted online.
Deadline for submissions: February 14, 2018 (Japan Standard Time)
Notification: February 19, 2018

Call for proposals || 2018 Canadian Writing Centres Association Call for Proposals >> due Monday, January 15, 2018

The CWCA/ACCR conference committee invites you to submit proposals for our 2018 conference.

 

Submit your proposals by 11:59pm (EST), Monday, January 15, 2018.
Please note that this is a firm deadline, and will not be extended.

All submissions are to be made online.


Conference details:

Where: University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

When: May 24-25, 2018

Keynote: Dr. Sheelah McLean

Plenary: Jack Saddleback

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

In Canada, a recent focus on reconciliation and Indigenization are revitalizing conversations around anti-oppression pedagogy (Kumashiro, 2000), a series of approaches which focus on how traditional educational systems and practices reinforce existing hierarchies and contribute to the disenfranchisement of marginalized students. Nationally and internationally, post-secondary institutions are seeing students affected by the rising tide of extremist right-wing politics and dubious news sources, calling for renewed attention to social justice and literacy-building.

An International Writing Centres Association (IWCA) position statement states that writing centres are particularly well positioned to “uphold students’ rights, as we work in the everyday-ness of literacy” (as cited in Godbee & Olson, 2014). As Nancy Grimm (2009) said in her IWCA keynote, “Although some might claim that the work of a writing center is ‘just’ to teach writing, the teaching of writing is never a neutral endeavor; it is never devoid of political motivations or outcomes.”

At the 2018 CWCA conference, we invite you to join us to exchange knowledge, share challenges, and ask questions about the ways our teaching and tutoring can and should engage in anti-oppressive educational practices.

Keynote speaker Dr. Sheelah McLean — a founder of the Idle No More movement and recipient of the Carol Gellar Human Rights Award (2013) — will discuss anti-racist, anti-oppressive educational practices. Closing plenary speaker Jack Saddleback will discuss the topic of resilience, drawing on his personal experiences with mental health activism, student politics, and gender and sexual diversity. Continue reading

Why good academic writers perform poorly in the workplace: Teaching for transfer across contexts of writing (Part 2 of 2)

This post is the second of two posts on transference and academic writing from the 10th Anniversary Symposium on Writing, held at the Regional Writing Centre, University Limerick, Ireland in June 2017.

Lawrence Cleary is an Educational Developer and Co-Director, Regional Writing Centre at the University Limerick, Ireland

(post one)

Many questioned how this year’s 10th Anniversary Symposium on Writing, Why good academic writers perform poorly in the workplace: Teaching for transfer across contexts of writing, differed from our 2012 symposium. The simple answer is that the second symposium was asking whether it was our job to prepare students for workplace writing, even though no strong arguments were made challenging the notion. It was largely assumed that we should prepare students for the writing that they would do in their professional fields. Our 10th Anniversary Symposium on Writing, on the other hand, was asking if it was even possible to prepare students situated in an academic context for the writing they would do in a completely different context, the workplace.

My scepticism resulted from an interest in Rhetorical Genre Studies and, in particular, the implications of Activity Theory[1] that commenced in earnest after attending Genre 2012 conference in Ottawa. If “genres are part of how individuals participate in complex relations with one another in order to get things done, and how newcomers learn to construct themselves and participate effectively within activity systems”, then “how [can we] teach genres in ways that honor their complexity and their status as more than just typified rhetorical features”?[2] How could workplace activities that are mediated through language be replicated in academic contexts if the goal of the replication did not match the goal of the activity it was about to replicate? As Dias et al.[3] so aptly put it, the contexts are worlds apart. The conditions that motivate the occasion, the features of the rhetorical situation, the nature of the process, the role of author, the rules and the conventions…are all likely to be starkly different. This symposium would contest the notion that writing well in an academic context necessarily prepares graduates for the writing they will do in workplace contexts, a topic skirted around in our last symposium.

Too often, in the literature[4],[5],[6] and in my conversations with employers in many of the transferable skills seminars that I attended in the years since the last symposium, employers have maintained that graduates do not assess the new writing situation, but remain reliant on the values, purposes, conventions and forms, etc., of academic writing.  Graduates’ sense of authorship, audience and purpose, industry representatives have told me, are often completely off the mark of what the corporate context requires. With this in mind, I wanted our symposium to initiate a conversation between representatives from industry and academics about how graduates perform in workplace writing situations, the baggage that they bring along from academic writing contexts, and the process they go through in learning to write for this new workplace context. Because of my own strong belief that the role of ‘situation’ in writing pedagogy is undervalued and, therefore, ineffectively covered or considered in conversations on writing, I wanted both academics and business communication managers to explore the limits of replicating workplace writing situations in academic contexts and to discuss ways in which third-level educational institutions could better prepare third-level graduates for future workplace writing situations.

The symposium was held on June 1st, as the Irish Network for the Enhancement of Writing (INEW) were bringing in Kathleen Blake Yancey, Kellogg Hunt Professor of English and Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University (FSU), earlier in the week to talk about the role of reflection in peer review as a tool for learning and writing transfer, and the two co-Chairs, Íde O’Sullivan (UL) and Alison Farrell (NUI Maynooth) graciously asked Kathy if she would mind presenting at our symposium while she was in town. Kathy, generously, agreed to speak to our audience about things that they should consider when framing their conversations on writing and transfer and teaching writing transfer. I thought that some writing developers in Ireland might have some sense of how people in Rhetoric and Composition Studies talk about the writing, or rhetorical, situation and about metacognitive awareness about one’s own process and practices, but those concepts might be somewhat new to many here who teach writing either in the discipline or as ancillary support. Kathy[7] described, for our audience, the components of the Teaching for Transfer (TFT) curriculum that she facilitates in FSU and how each of those components worked with each other in the teaching and learning dynamic. She also identified and defended what she believes to be the conditions necessary for transfer to occur.

By the time that I spoke to Kathy, Anthony Paré was already on board. Anthony agreed to talk a bit about the historical theoretical evolution in our approach to teaching writing at third level and to emphasise the role of context in transitioning from one writing situation to another. Anthony, in his talk, elaborated on the seemingly endless functions that text can perform and emphasised how a shift in context can impact on the form that ‘text’ takes in order to mean and function. Anthony advocated for an increase in the number and variety of rhetorical challenges faced by students, replication of situations and processes that are specific to actual

Anthony Paré, Professor and Head of Language and Literacy Education Department, University of British Columbia, speaking at the Regional Writing Centre’s 10th Anniversary Symposium on Writing, June 1st, 2017, University of Limerick, Ireland.

situations they may face later in their academic careers or in the workplace or in life in general, opportunities for addressing a variety of audiences, chain or series assignments and an increase in the modes by which knowledge is communicated, arguments made. Anthony also brought to the table discussions about the role of industry, their responsibility for easing the transition for incoming graduate employees.

Much more difficult was it to find representatives from industry, and even more so finding third-level writing and/or subject specialists willing to present on their own attempts to facilitate writing transfer across contexts. Originally, I had approximately six or seven people that wrote to me to say that they would like to present on a curriculum designed to assist students in their transition to workplace writing. I envisaged a one-hour breakout of seven or eight twenty-minute presentations on pedagogical practices, but only two people responded to the call for abstracts; one of those two, sadly, had to bow out for personal reasons. Susan Norton, DIT School of Languages, Law & Social Sciences was our lone practitioner. Sue took the stage to deliver a thirty-minute talk about how Reader Response Theory helps developing writers to become more aware of the conventions of the texts that they and their audiences read so that they are more astute about how their audience makes meaning.

I had more success attracting representatives from industry, though the process was somewhat stressful. Maria-Jose Gonzalez, coordinator of Dublin Institute of Technology’s recently formed Academic Writing Centre, tipped me toward Tony Donohoe, Head of Education and Social Policy for the Irish Business and Employer Confederation (Ibec). She had heard Tony speak in the past and found him very supportive of initiatives like our symposium. It was Tony who found Barry McLoughlin, Senior Training Consultant for The Communication Clinic in Dublin. Though The Communication Clinic is usually thought of as one of Ireland’s most visible public relations firms, they also provide industries with consultants like Barry to either train staff to write texts that achieve corporate goals or else consultants write those texts themselves. Our third speaker from industry was much more difficult to come by. I was looking for a corporate-level communications manager, preferably one responsible for external communications. I wanted this person to describe the corporate culture, the kinds of texts that were produced, the process of production, and how the process differed from the writing they had done at university or at the IT.

I researched the top ten indigenous companies, either highest employment numbers or highest revenue turnover. I had originally written to a woman who produced quarterly financial reports for CRH plc, The International Building Materials Group, rated Ireland’s top industry with the highest turnover, but I received no response. I then began searching LinkedIn for Communication Managers. I had written to one person who was a University Limerick graduate working for Twitter, but again received no response. Finally, after making a few other contacts that did not pan out, I came across Edel Clancy, Director of Communication & Corporate Affairs, Musgrave Group, Ireland’s sixth largest employer[8].

Edel is native to Limerick and a graduate of UL, and one of our tutors was a good friend of hers. It couldn’t get better. I had written to her, but again did not receive a response. I was beginning to think I would have to give up on the idea of a having a representative from a large industry who could take our audience through the production of a text, step by step through its complicated, and potentially long, process. Then, Edel wrote back. I gave her the date, and she agreed to speak. She called me a few weeks before the symposium from a train travelling from Cork to Dublin. She was worried about the fifty-minute slot. She thought she would not have enough to talk about. Despite being disconnected several times as the train passed through areas without a signal, we spoke for over an hour about writing and how writing functioned at Musgrave Group. It became clear, even to her, that she’d have no trouble talking about writing for fifty minutes.

Speakers and RWC staff: (from the left) Anthony Paré, Íde O’Sullivan, Kathleen Blake Yancey, Edel Clancy, Lawrence Cleary, Aoife Lenihan, Fiona Farr, UL Dean of Teaching and Learning, Barry McLoughlin and Tony Donohoe (Picture Credit: Brian Gavin Press 22)

The symposium was brilliant. Our audience was not as large as I’d have hoped, but it is already a tricky time of year, only madeworse by the abundance of relevant events that had been scheduled for the preceding two days. By Thursday, June 1st, many people were already tuckered out and not up to the long drives to Limerick from far-flung quarters of Ireland. Nevertheless, people from as far away as the US, the UK and Germany were in attendance. Many people had written to ask if we could video-record the talks. We couldn’t afford a professional outfit to do the job, but we did manage to get hold of a video recorder and a stand. The recordings are available on our website. I hope those who contacted me find value in the recordings. The symposium finished with a panel conversation with the audience. Barry McLoughlin left us with a sense of the importance of writing knowledge to efficacy, asserting that people who feel confident about their writing skills feel more prepared to accept more demanding roles. Edel expressed the hope that the Regional Writing Centre step outside of the university to engage with a wider society, an idea with which the rest of the panel strongly concurred. Kathy and Anthony both advocated for more student engagement with industry through internship and apprenticeship programmes, Anthony speaking a bit more philosophically about the way the academic project views its place in society. Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, UL’s Associate Vice President Academic, was asked to join the panel. Sarah brought the conversation back to the Graduate Attributes spoken of earlier in this piece. Sarah views the attributes as the link between a student’s academic experience and the future that awaits them. If one follows Kathy’s talk, they might consider this link made by Sarah and the link to the future that Kathy tells us is so important as a condition for transfer.

I hope the readers of this report on our symposium and its context will link into our website to view and listen to the conversations that took place on June 1st, at our 10th Anniversary Symposium on Writing. At the RWC, we are preparing now for a new semester, but we are also looking ahead to engaging an increasingly diverse society in the ongoing conversation on writing.

Thank you for reading along.

 

Notes

[1] Russell, D. (1997) “Rethinking Genre in School and Society: An Activity Theory Analysis.” Written Communication 14(4), pp. 504-54.

[2] Barwarshi, A. S. and Reiff, M. J. (2010) Genre: An Introduction to History, Theory, Research, and Pedagogy, West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press, p. 104.

[3] Dias, P. et al. (1999/2009) Worlds Apart: Acting and Writing in Academic and Workplace Contexts. New York and London: Routledge, p. 5.

[4] thejournal.ie (2016) ‘Lots of jobs out there for graduates – but employers say they don’t have the communication skills’, http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/graduates-opportunities-employers-ruairi-kavanagh-2861634-Jul2016/

[5] Forbes (2016) ‘These Are The Skills Bosses Say New College Grads Do Not Have’, https://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2016/05/17/these-are-the-skills-bosses-say-new-college-grads-do-not-have/#234e34125491

[6] Ibid, p. 5.

[7]  Visit the RWCUL’s website to see video-recordings of each of the speaker’s talks: http://ulsites.ul.ie/rwc/keynote-speakers

[8] The Irish Times (2017) ‘Top 1000: Results 2017’, https://www.irishtimes.com/top1000