Night Against Procrastination 2015 at Grand Valley State University

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

“Write it Like Disaster”–a writing center music project

Last year, something caught the attention of Scott Whiddon, musician and director of the Transylvania University Writing Center and member of the Southeast Writing Center Association.

“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.”

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A Preview of International Writing Centers Week

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.

IMG_2201[1]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.

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Count-down to next “Long Night Against Procrastination” on March 5, 2015 is on #lndah #writein

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 twitter #lndahhave 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

International Peer Tutor Reading Group Announces Academic Text Talk #actexttalk

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:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 12.59.31 PM“International Peer Tutoring,” a Google+ Community

Annett, Nancy: “Collaboration and the Peer Tutor: Characteristics, Constraints, and Ethical Considerations”

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).

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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. PrintTo 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.

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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.

For more, visit the CWCA website today!

Symposium on Writing Centers in Asia

TIU campus

TIU campus

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.

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International Write-In: #nationalwritein

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!

International Write-In, Dec. 4-7, 2014

Last week Pam Bromley mentioned that the small liberal arts college writing programs and writing centers consortium is hosting an International Write-In from December 4-December 9,2014 with most schools hosting a write-in the evening of December 7.  As many of you already do, Swarthmore for the past few years has been hosting what we call a write-in between the end of classes and beginning of exams.  Here is a document we put together on the event.

This year the coordinators at Swarthmore thought it would be interesting to see how many schools also held or would be interested in holding a write-in the same evening.  We have two goals in making this a national event:

1) We want to let people on and off campus know the value of a writing community. Our program’s mantra is, “You’re not alone,” and we think the write-ins have been another way of showing students the meaning behind the mantra.  By having more schools host write-ins, we can send this message even louder.

2) We want to increase our use of social media. During the days and evenings of the write-in we can communicate with each other via Facebook, Skype, Twitter, etc.  The hashtag for the event is #nationalwritein

We currently have 21 schools from three countries participating in the event.  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.

You don’t need to be at a small college to join the festivities.  If your school is already hosting a similar event, and you want to be included as part of the International Write-In just let me know.  You can e-mail me at

During those six days we hope to build a social media buzz around writingcenters and the work we do to build writing communities on our campuses. Send photos from your centers. Post the number of conferences held in a given day or night. Let’s make the work we do visible to those on and off of our campuses.

Be well,


Schools hosting a write-in December 4-9,2014.

Bates College

Bucknell University

Claremont McKenna College

Denison University

Franklin and Marshall College

Harvey Mudd College

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Kenyon College

NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Shanghai

Oberlin College

Occidental College

Pitzer College

Pomona College

Rhodes College

Swarthmore College

University of Puget Sound

Wellesley College

Westminster College

Wittenberg University

Wofford College

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.

Social Media Link-Up

Does your writing center have a blog? How about a Facebook page or a Twitter account? Post your social media and blog links in the comments, and we’ll get to work on creating a social media directory here on the CWCAB blog! And don’t forget that you can connect with Writing Lab Newsletter via Twitter and Facebook!

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

Writing and Communication Center at the New Economic School, Moscow

My name is Kara Bollinger, and I am the Assistant Director of the Writing and Communication Center at the New Economic School (NES) in Moscow, Russia. Our writing center is just now turning one-year-old and is one of only two writing centers in Russia. So, the Director of the WCC, Olga Aksakalova, and I are excited to join the conversation on CWCAB. We’re sure to have questions (and hopefully insights) in the coming months, but for now we want to say “hey.”

Students at our school are enrolled in one of three programs: Bachelor’s in Economics (a joint program with the Higher School of Economics), Master’s in Economics, and Master’s in Finance. Students write and give presentations in both English and Russian. The WCC offers one-on-one writing consultations in both English and Russian. We also hold workshops on a variety of writing and communication topics (again some workshops are in English and some are in Russian). Our students read in English, attend courses in English, and listen to presentations in English, but they often want more practice speaking; because of this, we also offer one-on-one English conversation sessions.  In addition to Olga and me, the WCC employs four part-time professional consultants who work with students.

Though most of our time is dedicated to students, we also work with faculty. First, we are active collaborators with the English department in helping develop curriculum and providing guidance on aspects of courses like writing assignments, rubrics, and peer review questions. Second, we are beginning to work with Economics faculty on effectively teaching and incorporating writing in their courses.

As a recent transplant to Moscow (I’ve been here for a little over a month) what I’ve noticed most (in the WCC, that is) is that the writing pedagogy and the writing center theory that are commonplace in the US are new ideas here. Though students come to the WCC expecting help with their writing or speaking, they often show up for a session, sit down at the table and say “So, what is this place?” It’s quite rewarding to explain the writing center to students and makes the goal-setting portion of the session crucial. In the future, Olga hopes to write more about her experiences starting the WCC here last year, which illustrate the idea of Rhet/Comp being new in Russia.

Note boardOne way we’re working to increase our school’s understanding of the WCC is through Open Houses. The WCC got a new home this year, so we hope that once students actually visit the space, we can say “Okay—here’s what we do here.” To help root our writing center, our Open Houses include a discussion of other writing centers. We hope this will help students understand the context in which the WCC exists. Additionally, we want students to feel like the WCC is “theirs.” So, we’re encouraging them to provide artwork, photos, creative writing, and/or favorite quotes to decorate the WCC. To start, we’ve asked students to write their writing and/or communication goals for the year on a Post-It note and to post those goals in the WCC. So far, the Open Houses seem to be working. Students have been active in engaging us with questions about the WCC and excited about continuing to participate.

That’s all for now. We look forward to sharing and collaborating with you all soon.


National Day on Writing in Qatar


This gallery contains 2 photos.

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 … Continue reading