The WLN editorial staff happily announces a call for submissions for a special issue we’re looking forward to publishing:
CPF: Sharing Common Ground? Writing Centers and Learning Commons
Guest edited by Stephen Corbett and Hillory Oakes
As schools look to develop students as sophisticated communicators across disciplines and media, more and more writing centers are becoming—or considering becoming—part of multiliteracy-focused learning commons enterprises (Koehler; Deans and Roby). In fact, the success of writing center programming has on many campuses contributed to the emergence of the learning commons model. Writing center directors and tutors have a wealth of knowledge to bring to these endeavors: we are natural collaborators and have developed skills and practices that put us in a perfect position to lead conversations about the learning commons at our institutions (Harris, “Preparing”; Lunsford and Ede).
Still, the history of our field has taught us that we must pay attention to names and titles, definitions of purpose and mission statements, institutional hierarchies and physical locations (Macauley and Mauriello; Mauriello, Macauley, and Koch; McKinney; Salem). These are not niceties but necessities for developing successful programs. Just as defining what a writing center is and is not has historically been problematic (Boquet and Lerner; Lerner; McKinney; Corbett), the definition of “learning commons” currently varies widely between institutions (Oblinger) and at times revisits all-too-familiar territory.
For example, writing centers have long rejected being cast as “fix-it shops,” yet now it is common for the learning commons to be touted as a place for “one-stop shopping.”
How might we draw on our past and present attention to writing center studies to help shape the future of the learning commons? In many ways, tough questions about what a writing center can or should