Internationalization, Massification, and the Knowledge Economy: A Comparison of International Writing Center Trends

Tomoyo Okuda graduated with a Ph.D. in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Her research interests include second language writing, writing center studies, internationalization of higher education, and language policy.

 

Christiane Donahue (2009) once praised the writing center community as having the “strongest development in terms of exchange of teaching practice and pedagogical framing, always explored in context” (p. 222). This is evident from the fact that we can find writing centers in 63 countries, according to the St. Cloud State University’s Writing Center Directory.

I was always interested in why writing centers became so popular around the world and started collecting literature written about writing centers in different countries (as a side note, I focused on writing center development in Japan for my dissertation research, “The Writing Center as a Global Pedagogy: A Case Study of a Japanese University Seeking Internationalization”). A common topic found in international writing center literature was how the idea of the writing center needed adjustments to suit the cultural, religion, existing literacy practices of each country or institution. But I was more interested in the bigger picture—the socio-political/economic imperatives of writing center initiation, namely, the political landscape of higher education discourses and reforms fed into the decision to initiate or sustain a writing center (Salem, 2014). In this blog post, I would like to discuss three imperatives identified from my reading of international writing center literature (book chapters, articles, reports, websites).

Internationalization has become a powerful agenda for many universities around the world, and for non-English speaking countries, this means internationalizing higher education through the medium of English. Thus, we can see English-medium instruction programs (courses and programs taught in English) in what Harbord (2010) calls US-style universities: universities with “US accreditation, US charter, US-style curriculum, US grading system, a liberal arts approach, and some faculty from the US” (para. 9). Examples of US-style universities would be liberal arts colleges in Hungary, India, and Japan, and American branch universities such as in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, France, Bulgaria, where the writing center is usually managed in conjunction with first year composition courses. Another internationalization initiative for universities is scholarly publications in English and for this purpose, some writing centers in East Asia offer services to help scholars write research manuscripts in English. For instance, according to Kim (2017), the government-supported globalization initiative called ‘Brain Korea 21’, which aims to foster international scholars, led to a wave of new writing centers in South Korean universities. Continue reading “Internationalization, Massification, and the Knowledge Economy: A Comparison of International Writing Center Trends”

Tutoring with an International Background

Editor’s note: I recently put out a call to hear the stories and perspective of those that work in our centers who come from a multi-lingual, multi-national, multi-cultural background. I hope you enjoy the following stories from Claudia and Kumar as much as I do, and the way they highlight the important, fostering work writing centers do.

And read part two, now posted!

CLAUDIA QUEZADA GARRIDO
Pursuing a MA in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan-Flint

Currently I am one of only 3 international students in the English Language and Literature program. I come from Chile, where I got my B.A. in English and Education. As you may have guessed, my first language is Spanish. I learned English at University. While I was in my junior year I was awarded a scholarship to work as a language assistant in the UK. I lived in South Wales for a year, helping High School seniors develop their language skills in Spanish. Until that point in my life, my contact with English had been limited to the classroom setting. Living in a country where the language is actually is spoken is very different.

Continue reading “Tutoring with an International Background”