Writing centres in context: The quick and dirty

Stephanie Bell, Co-Editor, CWCR/RCCR
Vol. 2, No. 1 (Fall 2020)

As this new academic year begins, I find myself putting writing centre praxis into historical context for the team of graduate writing instructors joining us at York. Writing Centre studies is a field of practice with a contentious history and a rich body of research. Because the pedagogical approaches we choose to put into practice are shaped by these discourses, it is useful for all writing centre tutors to know this context. So, in the spirit of orientation at the outset of this new year, I am providing here a “quick and dirty” accounting of this history.

Our current conception of writing centres began to emerge in the 1980s when writing centre professionals set about constructing arguments that writing centres are a part of regular, normative scholarly life. These arguments involve theorizations of writing centres as places in which writers are nurtured, offered access to academic discourse and academic identities, and invited to engage in collaborative talk about writing (Dinitz & Kiedaisch, p. 63). Continue reading “Writing centres in context: The quick and dirty”

“I knew right away I found my niche”: Celebrating the work of Linda McCloud-Bondoc

Interviewed by Brian Hotson, Co-editor, CWCR/RCCR
Vol. 1, No. 11 (Summer 2020)

Linda Bondoc-McCLoud retired from the University of Athabasca writing centre, Write Site, at the end of June 2020. This interview highlights just some of her work and contributions as a way to celebrate her contributions to the field of writing centres and to students and faculty. 


Linda Bondoc-McCLoud, Coordinator, Write Site, University of Athabasca
I started writing centre work as a tutor at the University of Calgary in 1993 when I was still doing my undergrad in communications and continued when I was doing my graduate work in adult education. I started with Athabasca University as Coordinator in 2005. Prior to my career in writing studies, I worked as an RN for 20 years. Over the years, I have been a member of STLHE and CWCA/ACCR and served one year as president of the CWCA/ACCR.


 Brian
Thanks for taking the time for this interview. I first met you in 2011, I think, when I first became involved in CWCA. You were CWCA president then. Can you tell me a bit about the early days for CWCA? Continue reading ““I knew right away I found my niche”: Celebrating the work of Linda McCloud-Bondoc”

Four Feathers Writing Guide: Traditional Coast Salish teachings and approaches to learning to support Indigenous students develop as academic writers

By Theresa Bell, Manager, Blended Learning Success, Royal Roads University
Vol. 1, No. 10 (Spring 2020)

In recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day, I am very pleased to share the Four Feathers Writing Guide with the CWCA/ACCR community.

The Four Feathers Writing Guide respectfully presents Coast Salish Traditional Knowledge to support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students’ development as academic writers. The guide was a collaboration between Elder Shirley THE-LA-ME-YÉ Alphonse, who is from Hul’q’umi’num People of Cowichan Nation and who is a spiritual leader of T’Sou-ke Nation on Vancouver Island; the late Elder D. Nadine TEȺȽIE Charles, who was from Scia’new Nation on Vancouver Island; and me in my role of Manager, Blended Learning Success, at Royal Roads University, which is located on the ancestral lands of the Xwesepsum and Lekwungen families and their ancestors. I am from the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, and I have lived, worked, and learned on the lands of the Xwesepsum and Lekwungen families for 17 years. We also received tremendous support and guidance from the Heron People, who are Elders and Old Ones from Xwsepsum Nation, Lekwungen Nation, Scia’new Nation, T’Sou-ke Nation, Tsawout Nation, and Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. Finally, Indigenous Education and Student Services Manager Asma-na-hi Antoine, who is Nuu-chah-nulth from Toquaht Nation, ensured we moved through the project in a good way.

The guide provides a holistic approach to writing that encourages students to bring their entire selves, traditions, and cultures to their writing processes so they can confidently share their voices in their writing. Structured by the four Traditional stages of learning, which are vision, gathering, knowledge, and sharing, each section of the guide focuses on Traditional Knowledge, including teachings shared by Songhees Elder Elmer Seniemten George, Cowichan Elder Arvid Luschiim Charlie, and T’Sou’ke Nation Chief Gordon HYA-QUATCHA Planes.

The Four Feathers Writing Guide launched on National Indigenous Peoples Day in 2019, and in an interview for a Royal Roads’ news story about the launch, Elder Alphonse encouraged both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to learn from the guide:

“Abide by it. Enjoy the stories that we share. Understand where we’ve come from. Our lives were very different long ago and nothing was ever written. It was just learned from our parents and grand-parents. Nothing was written down. We learned by living and following our parents and grand-parents and other Elders. All Elders in a community always watched over the children. They could correct the children if they saw them doing something wrong,” she says. “Everything was learned by witnessing. We learned by witnessing everything, seeing everything happen and learning through experience.” (Royal Roads University, 2019, para. 7)

When I asked Elder Alphonse if she would like to share any comments for this post, she returned to that quotation as her ongoing message and gave me permission to share it with you here.

Please feel warmly invited to visit the Four Feathers Writing Guide, and if you have any questions, please contact me at Theresa.bell@royalroads.ca.

I raise my hands in gratitude for this opportunity to connect with all of you on National Indigenous Peoples Day. Hay’sxw’qa Si’em!


Reference

Royal Roads University. (2019, June 19). New writing guide bridges academic and Traditional Knowledge. https://www.royalroads.ca/news-releases/new-writing-guide-bridges-academic-and-traditional-knowledge

Slouching toward virtual spaces: Reflections on writing support during COVID-19

By Patty A. Kelly
Vol. 1, No. 9 (Spring 2020)

Patty A. Kelly’s research focuses on scientific, medical, and psychiatric discourse from rhetorical and discourse analytic perspectives. Her recent article, “The Development of American Psychiatry’s Professional Style: DSM-III’s ‘Common Language’,” is published in Rhetoric of Health & Medicine.

As Program Manager of the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, she designs evidence-based programming for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members.

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre”

Why do I keep thinking of that opening line from the W. B. Yeats[1] poem “The Second Coming”? Each time I click on a link to join a meeting or start a workshop, my English literature past returns to haunt the rhetorician in me with fragments from the poem. Each day, my fatigue with physical distancing builds, and the at-home workplace finds me slouching toward virtual spaces.

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” Continue reading “Slouching toward virtual spaces: Reflections on writing support during COVID-19”

Video Chat || Programming, technology, and resource development during the COVID-19 disruption

A Writing Centre Directors’ & Managers’ Roundtable

Clare Bermingham, University of Waterloo, Guest editor
Stephanie Bell, York University, Co-editor
Brian Hotson, Saint Mary’s University, Co-editor

With all the changes to writing centres due to the COVID-19 disruption, many directors and managers are asking questions, wanting to know, “What is everybody doing to manage this change?” To help with this, we organized the blog’s first Video Chat (hopefully the first of many). These Video Chats are moderated text-based and video-based discussions. The blog editors invite proposals for Video Chat topics and guest editors to moderate them.

Below are the elements from the Video Chat, including:

  • Topics, discussion questions, and agenda
  • Recording of the video-based discussion
  • Transcript of the text-based discussion
  • A google spreadsheet of topics, questions, and ideas from the Video Chat

We hope that you find this useful for your writing centre. Continue reading “Video Chat || Programming, technology, and resource development during the COVID-19 disruption”

Video Chat || Writing Centre Directors’ and Managers’ Roundtable

Programming, Technology, & Resource Development during COVID-19

Directors’ and Managers’ Roundtable
Tuesday, April 7th
1:00 – 2:30 pm EST

Registration limited
Click to Register


Come together with other writing centre directors and managers to discuss programming, technology, and resource development during the COVID-19 disruption. Learn from each other, and provide your own strategies, failures and successes.

Registration limited to 7 participants
One participant per writing centre

Facilitators:
Clare Bermingham (University of Waterloo) and Brian Hotson (Saint Mary’s University)

Notetaker:
Stephanie Bell (York University)


Canadian writing centres respond to COVID-19 – final instalment

CWCR/RCCR editorial team
Liv Marken, Stephanie Bell, & Brian Hotson
Vol. 1, No. 8 (Winter 2020)

Now that we’re all a week into this new reality of writing centre work, and university life in general, here are two final submissions from our colleagues at UBC and UOttawa, and their responses to COVID-19.

We continue to want to hear from you. If you have related stories, please contact us at cwcr.rccr@gmail.com. Continue reading “Canadian writing centres respond to COVID-19 – final instalment”

Canadian writing centres respond to COVID-19 – March 19, 2020

CWCR/RCCR editorial team
Liv Marken, Stephanie Bell, & Brian Hotson

Over the previous two posts, our colleagues spoke to the adaptation and changes they’ve made due to COVID-19. In this third instalment, writing centres from northern Manitoba, Québec, Ontario, and Alberta speak to their experiences.

If you have a story you want to tell about your experience responding to COIVD-19, please send 2-3 paragraphs to cwcr.rccr@gmail.com. Enter “COVID-19 response” in the subject line. Thanks.
Continue reading “Canadian writing centres respond to COVID-19 – March 19, 2020”

Canadian writing centres respond to COVID-19 – March 18, 2020

CWCR/RCCR editorial team
Liv Marken, Stephanie Bell, & Brian Hotson
Vol. 1, No. 7 (Winter 2020)

From the previous post, there are common themes and processes centres are following. What is apparent is the ability to adapt and pull together programming quickly. With so much uncertainty, we’re all planning for the best while looking at all the unknowns.

We asked twenty writing centres from coast to coast to coast to provide a short description of their centre’s response to COVID-19. We will publish these responses in parts by the day they were received, from March 17th to March 19th.

Below is a snapshot of our colleagues’ writing centres from March 18, 2020. Continue reading “Canadian writing centres respond to COVID-19 – March 18, 2020”

Canadian writing centres respond to COVID-19 – March 17, 2020

CWCR/RCCR editorial team
Liv Marken, Stephanie Bell, & Brian Hotson
Vol. 1, No. 6 (Winter 2020)

As Heraclitus continually reminds us, everything changes, constantly, but the tempo and severity of change from COVID-19 has overwhelmed and challenged us all in our writing centres. We wondered how other institutions around the country are coping with the fallout from COVID-19.

We asked twenty writing centres from coast to coast to coast to provide a short description of their centre’s response to COVID-19. We will publish these responses in parts by the day they were received, from March 17th to March 19th.

Below is a snapshot of our colleagues’ writing centres from March 17, 2020. Continue reading “Canadian writing centres respond to COVID-19 – March 17, 2020”