BCWCA “Director’s Day Out”: Meaningful Collaboration Online

Screenshot of collaborative Padlet.

Amanda Brobbel, Jenna Goddard, Julia Lane, and Holly Salmon
Vol. 2, No. 1 (Winter 2021)

While the pivot to a remote environment has created significant disconnection and isolation, it has also opened unexpected and creative possibilities for collaboration. Our boundaries are no longer so firmly institutional or geographical.

Previously, our BCWCA “Director’s Day Out” events were planned and hosted by one institution, and often at what was deemed to be a more central geographical location. 2020’s virtual event was necessitated by pandemic restrictions and made possible by our increased familiarity with collaborative writing tools.

During a time when Zoom fatigue, email exhaustion and disconnection characterize our every day, we were able to work across institutions to set the priorities for our gathering and to function as a productive collective of writing and learning professionals.

Our virtual-enabled collaborative approach emerged as particularly helpful for making headway on our 2020 agenda item: our commitments to anti-racism policies and practices. We knew from experience that the challenges are immense and the feelings of overwhelm are real. But, we resolved not to stall out on such important work. So, we did what we encourage students to do: 

      • Define your goal(s).

      • Break. It. Down. 

      • Take the problems step by step. 

      • Focus on the first thing you are able to get clarity on and begin to address. Then, focus on the next thing. 

This approach to collaboration across institutions has the potential to bring structural change to our work. The following account of our collaborative virtual work in 2020 provides a possible road map for virtual-enabled community building between writing and learning centre professionals across institutions. And, as we bring our attention to questions of racism and antiracism, we are aware that structural changes are needed.

The planning

On June 26th, Holly Salmon sent a brief email to colleagues Amanda Brobbel, Julia Lane, and Jenna Goddard: “Do you think we should get together? And, have you checked out  Frankie Condon’s Pedagogue podcast on antiracism in writing centres?”

We did want to get together, and we did want to check out that podcast. We also realized that we were all desperately seeking a space in which to have vulnerable conversations about the issues raised in Condon’s podcast: how to use the positions we have and how to leverage the leadership and collaborative relationships at our own institutions to bring forward antiracist practices. 

This email sparked a flurry of collaborative planning among our impromptu committee: responsibilities were divided, agendas and schedules created, and virtual spaces readied as we planned for our Writing Centre “Directors’ Day Out” on August 14th, which then led to another event in late October.  

As we planned, we focused on the support we can draw from each other, and how to emphasize that in our conversations. This focus came forward in the structure of the gatherings, as well as in the topics we raised and the activities we planned.  

Knowing that some participants might potentially feel depleted as they worked to provide online services to students for fall, we tried to keep both events focused on possibilities for development, and actionable items. We modeled our actions and the sessions on the support we give to students tackling these sorts of big projects. Having defined our goal, we found the first thing we could then tackle together: listen to the wisdom of another (Frankie Condon).  

The gatherings

The first half of the August gathering encouraged participants to share ideas around building community to keep our tutors, learners, and Centres connected; developing our tutors in the online environment; and big ideas we were excited to implement. The second half focused on debriefing the Condon podcast and discussing antiracism in the Writing Centre. Major themes of that discussion included: 

  • Recognizing and grappling with the overlap between racism and notions of Standard Academic English.
  • Acknowledging the role of the writing centre as an “in between space” and working to create change from the source of our power. Condon articulates the tendency of writing centres to say “we think your language is perfectly fine, but we know that that professor over there won’t agree.” She calls this being “functionaries for racism.” We wanted to think about how we can get out of this bind. 
  • Considering how we can centre antiracism in all facets of our work in the writing centre.

We all have different experiences with racism and antiracist work, and we know that these conversations are difficult. We used Padlet, an online brainstorming tool, during this initial discussion of anti-racism to invite everyone to share their ideas and questions anonymously. This was a helpful way to “break the ice” in this necessarily challenging conversation about our own entanglement with systems of racist oppression. 

At the end of the session in August, we realized that we weren’t finished and resolved to gather again. 

In the fall, we were keen to follow up on the discussions we started in the summer and get more specific about centring antiracism in our Centres, as Condon suggests. As part of a strategy to bring forward the knowledge already within the group, we scheduled the first part of the day as a silent collaboration of writing and reflection under three prompts that asked participants to centre antiracism in their work, present and future:

  • What’s one way you’d love to see your Writing Centre becoming antiracist?
  • What’s something you’ve done to centre antiracism in your work?
  • What are you planning to do but haven’t found the way into yet?

To encourage concrete next-steps, both events closed with our own commitments to move forward. The first session asked participants to record commitment statements in response to the question: “What is one thing that you can commit to doing when you leave here today?” Similarly, the second session wrapped up with a discussion of specific ideas, such as developing antiracist assignment guidelines for faculty, to build our capacity to support antiracist work on our individual campuses through collaboration among members of the BCWCA. 

Developing a statement

As we all find ways to move forward in our individual Centres, the BCWCA is also solidifying as a regional affiliate of CWCA and taking action. Our first action was committing, as a group, to posting a statement of commitment to antiracism. After our August meeting, John Hill from Vancouver Island University graciously offered to work on a draft to be shared back with the rest of the group for feedback. Based on the feedback received, our impromptu organizing committee, with John’s support, got to work wordsmithing. 

We often reflected to each other what a joy it was to work together on this task. We all felt passionate about the commitments we were making with the document and also all recognized the power of language and the importance of choosing the right words. Of course, there are no words that can erase the violence of racism, but we are aware that being careful and caring with our language can help us to become more conscious of the ways that language shapes our experiences and encounters and can be used to support or to challenge racism. The importance of this writing task presented us with significant challenges in wording, in determining inclusion criteria, and in being thorough and specific without becoming (too) long winded. We appreciated the opportunity to work collaboratively toward those goals together. 

As a result of this work, a new draft of the BCWCA statement of commitment to antiracism was presented to our members prior to our fall meet up. The statement commits the BCWCA to working from an antiracist framework and to supporting our member institutions to do the same. This statement has been presented to our larger professional association, CWCA, at their November Board meeting. We encourage others working on similar statements to feel free to adapt the work we’ve done and to share your ideas our way. 

Writing a statement is never the endpoint for the work. We now must live up to the commitments made in the statement. To that end, we look forward to further strengthening BCWCA as a regional affiliate group because we know that the task of creating antiracist writing centres cannot be accomplished alone. We invite other writing centres who are working on establishing regional affiliate groups and/or writing statements of commitment to antiracism to be in touch with us. When we pull together, we are able to move forward with more ease. 

 

Resources used in planning and meeting

Wood, Shane A., host. “Episode 28: Frankie CondonPedagogue, episode 28, 2020. 

Yousefi, BaharakOn the Disparity Between What We Say and What We Do in Libraries”. Feminists Among Us: Resistance and Advocacy in Library Leadership. by Lew, Shirley, and Baharak Yousefi, 2017. Print.

Inclusive and antiracist writing. Simon Fraser University Library, 2020.

Open Letter to IWCA exec

Additional antiracism resources brought forward at our gatherings

Cole, Desmond. The Freedom to Learn: Confronting Anti-Black Racism with Desmond Cole. Colleges Ontario, 16 Nov. 2019, Webinar. 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Dimensions Pilot Program. Government of Canada, 2019. 

Inoue, Asao B. (2020) Teaching Antiracist Reading, Journal of College Reading and Learning, 50:3, 134-156. 

Inoue, Asao B. Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future. The WAC Clearinghouse; Parlor Press, 2015.

Kendi, Ibram X., How to Be an Antiracist. New York: One World, 2019.

Oluo, Ijeoma. So You Want to Talk About Race.  Seal Press, 2018.

Time Traveler. Merriam-Webster, 2020.

Amanda Brobbel, Senior Manager of Writing and Language Learning Services, UBC-Okanagan
Jenna Goddard, Writing Centre Coordinator, Thompson Rivers University
Julia Lane, Writing Services Coordinator, Simon Fraser University
Holly Salmon, Learning Centre Coordinator and Instructor, Douglas College 

Announcement || CWCA/ACCR 2021 Conference CfP – Transformative Inclusivity: Social Justice and Writing Centres

8th CWCA/ACCR Conference

CWCA 2020 logo

Transformative Inclusivity:
Social Justice and Writing Centres


May 17 – 21, 2021

Virtual Conference


“[A] culture of access is a culture of participation and redesign”
–Elizabeth Brewer, Cynthia L. Selfe, and M. Remi Yergeau


Conference Context

For our 2021 conference, the Canadian Writing Centres Association / association canadienne des centres de rédaction welcomes proposals on any writing centre-related subject, but particularly proposals that consider and/or critique frameworks of inclusion, access, and accessibility. These themes may be related to anti-racist work and Indigenization at writing centres, to our recent experiences arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to writing and writing centre theory, pedagogy, praxis, programming, administration, research, physical and online environments, advocacy, or activism.

Writing centres have committed to making their spaces and services accessible, inclusive, and democratic, not least to students and tutors from marginalized backgrounds (Geller et al., 2007; Greenfield & Rowan, 2011; Hitt, 2012; Lang, 2017; Martini & Webster, 2017). Even as COVID-19 has inflected, sharpened, and foregrounded systemic inequities, the Black Lives Matter movement, Indigenous movements for social justice such as 1492 Land Back Lane and Idle No More, and the Disability Rights Movement have called upon us, with greater urgency than ever before, to expand the definition and the scope of access, and revitalize writing centres as social justice projects. Continue reading “Announcement || CWCA/ACCR 2021 Conference CfP – Transformative Inclusivity: Social Justice and Writing Centres”

Asynchronous Affordances: WriteAway’s Pandemic Experience

Megan Robertson
Vol. 2, No. 5 (Fall 2020)

Megan is a BC ELN (British Columbia Electronic Library Network) Coordinator providing support for tutors and coordinators throughout BC and Alberta.

While the rush to emergency remote teaching occurred out of necessity due to the COVID-19 disruption, writing supports already operating only online have an opportunity to reflect on their existing approaches. WriteAway, British Columbia and Alberta’s online asynchronous writing support consortium of post-secondary students, was first piloted in 2012. Through a series of cautious expansions over several years, the service enters this new reality of online tutoring firmly in its operating stage with eighteen participating institutions. Continue reading “Asynchronous Affordances: WriteAway’s Pandemic Experience”

Honest Discussions in Graduate Writing Cafés

Visual representation of the program described in the text.

Keith O’Regan
Vol. 2 No. 4 (Fall 2020)

Keith O’Regan is the Graduate Writing Specialist at the York University Writing Centre. He has published on disparate fields such as Post-Graduate Writing Education, Film and Aesthetic Theory, and the Poetics of Escapism. His monograph, a comparative analysis of the poetic and theatrical work of Bertolt Brecht and William Blake will be published with Brill in the Spring of 2021.

Whether it be in the nature of the workshops offered, the limitations of a typical 60-minute appointment, or in the attention to the concrete tasks associated with short essays, current forms of writing centre support are not always best attuned to the needs of graduate student writers working on longer form projects  such as masters’ theses or doctoral dissertations.

With increasingly stretched supervisory faculty, the writing mentorship graduate students receive beyond the writing centre can be limited, slow and delayed. This mentorship is sometimes structured as top-down paternalistic programs often organized around bureaucratic or financial incentives. Continue reading “Honest Discussions in Graduate Writing Cafés”

Infographic | Writing (and students) throughout history: A timeline of complaints about students and their ills

Brian Hotson, Co-Editor, CWCR/RCCR
Vol. 2, No. 3 (Fall 2020)

Click to access the infographic.

GIF featuring historical complaints about writing technologies.Robert Zaretsky’s piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Our students can’t write. We have ourselves to blame, still rubs me the wrong way, and it was published in 2019. Not only does he belittle his students who are learning to write, but he also quotes from one of their papers, outing the student and their work as “a tad less coherent than others.” It may be safe to assume he’s quoting the student without consent and breaking confidentiality rules (as they are in most HE institutions in Canada). It’s also in the literature and the media that making fun of students leads to humiliation, shame, poor grades, and dropouts (see here, here, and here).

Continue reading “Infographic | Writing (and students) throughout history: A timeline of complaints about students and their ills”

Writing: It’s an outdoor vibe

Lauren Mckenzie, Language Specialist
Saint Mary’s University Writing Centre and Academic Communication
Vol. 2, No. 2 (Fall 2020)

Lauren Mckenzie lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and works at the Writing Centre and Academic Communications at Saint Mary’s University. Lauren is currently completing her MA TESOL and research interests include critical and social justice pedagogy, rebellious thinking, fascination and distraction.

Writing can be a challenging process that takes time, thought, revision, and mental focus. Students are challenged more than ever to find or recreate writing spaces as traditional venues such as the library or student lounges have limited or no availability. However, it is possible to create the mental and environmental conditions that will help you to enjoy the writing process and increase productivity as you adjust to studying from home.

Imagine sitting under a shady tree with your hair blowing gently in the breeze — the sound of leaves rustling and songbirds above. You are ready to make a dent in that essay and have everything a human could possibly need to do it. Phone, laptop, earbuds, water, sunblock, hat, healthy snack, unhealthy snack, etc… You shift your weight from side to side, legs stretched out, then folded, then stretched out again. Your laptop balances precariously on your lap as your iced coffee begins to sweat. The trackpad becomes moist and unresponsive. Just then, a bug the size of your thumb disappears beneath you.

You may not be the outdoor type, and perhaps in this scenario writing doesn’t seem possible. However, writing outdoors is good for you. It can decrease mental fatigue and stimulate new ways of thinking. These were the findings of Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, whose environmental psychology research examined the effects of nature on academic performance and personal wellbeing. Their research in the 1970’s helped shape a movement of inquiry into nature and how it affects thinking. Their findings suggest that our brain pays attention in two different ways, and an imbalance creates problems.

“Directed attention fatigues people through overuse,” Stephen Kaplan explains. “If you can find an environment where the attention is automatic, you allow directed attention to rest. And that means an environment that’s strong on fascination” (As qtd. in Clay, 2001). The Kaplans emphasize that a room with a view works as well – so don’t worry if you can’t find an outdoor space to write. If you can find an outdoor setting for your work, a patio or deck, that’s great – consider a desk in the shade, a wireless speaker, and paper weights. Consider a portable tray that helps you set up anywhere the writing feeling strikes. A proximity to nature provides moments of delight and inspiration — to see something different, and that’s refreshing when you are pumping out the work.

Being creative is a big part of academic life and the big questions are meant to be contemplated while lounging under a tree or out for a walk. However, when it is time to produce a written response, you may want to consider a slightly different approach. This is not meant to limit your comfort or creativity, but to increase the efficiency of your process. Set yourself up properly outdoors – even if it is temporary and be prepared with the necessities to limit unfascinating distractions–like bugs.

University has become more and less accessible at the same time.  People who couldn’t access campuses are now offered many more options via distance learning.  For those who planned for the traditional on-campus delivery of courses, a new framework is emerging.  Use what space is available to you in a way that creates opportunities for more high impact stimulation, so that when you look up from your writing, there is a possibility for joy.  Above my desk is a bulletin board that I recently gave a makeover.  I took down the bills and random notices and replaced them with pictures and handwritten notes from past students. When I look up from my screen, I reflect on relationships and successes.  What do you see when you look up?

 

____________________

Sources

Clay, R. (2001). Green is good for you. American Psychological Association. Vol 32 (4) https://www.apa.org/monitor/apr01/greengood.html

Kaufman, C. (2013, September 16). Time to write? Go outside. The New York Times. https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/16/time-to-write-go-outside/

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).

At their core, Stephen North contended in 1984, writing centres are places where students, teachers, and researchers come to talk about writing;  it is on this basis that Wingate (2001) and Kinkead and Harris (2000) reasoned that they contribute to the academic culture of the university. Persuading students, faculty, and administrators of this vision of writing centres is our ongoing work as we counter the stigmatization of learning supports that occurred in the post-war era with open admissions.

From the centre to the margins

The history of writing centre pedagogy is as old as higher education itself, though it has been under-reported and under-studied. Arendale’s (2010) history of “learning assistance,” a broad category of learning support programming, shows that the model of one-to-one tutoring prominent in today’s writing centres was a fixture in the earliest American institutions, from 1600 through 1800.

We see its prevalence in early Canadian institutions, as well; in 1838, Thomas McCulloch, the first principal of Dalhousie, held “special night classes in composition and logic,” with a “practical emphasis on both writing and oratory” (Hubert, 1994, 31). McCulloch’s impetus:

Thomas McCulloch, first Principal of Dalhousie College, 1838 (Dalhousie, 2018)

Instead of enabling [students] to display their pedantry by interlarding Latin and Greek phrases with the chit chat of life, it would be more profitable to give them an accurate acquaintance with the operation of their own minds, to teach them to classify their knowledge and communicate their sentiments, and to furnish them with those duties, and that knowledge of mathematical and physical science, which would be every day useful to the community and honourable to themselves. (McCulloch as quoted in Hubert, 1994, p. 52)

During this period, tutoring was a central and highly regarded aspect of higher education, which was accessible only to privileged families.

It was with the post-war opening of education to “nontraditional” students of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds that learning supports became stigmatized and caught up in dog whistles about who belongs at university.

Perception of stigma leads some to argue that the presence of students who are academically under-prepared for some academic areas undermine the entire education enterprise. The natural extension of this perception leads critics to argue that some students do not belong in college and that therefore learning assistance is unnecessary (Arendale, 2010, p. 10).

With their missions of access and advocacy, costly programs, and institution-controlled funding, writing centres are caught up in contentious policy battles around admissions, retention, and systemic exclusion. This marginalized positioning has informed the development of writing centre pedagogy and policy.

Apologist policy & pedagogy

Accusations of helping students cheat was one of the ways the racially and socioeconomically driven stigma of learning assistance challenged writing centres after open admissions in the 1970s and 80s.

During this period, writing labs or clinics were sometimes dubbed “plagiarism centres” because of concerns that tutors took heavy-handed approaches to fixing grammatical and content issues in student papers (see Waller, 2002), colluding with remedial students to help them achieve what they did not earn on their own.

Writing centres have endeavoured to counter this negative perception and their marginalization, with much effort:

    • moving away from the metaphor of the “lab” or “clinic”—which participated in the stigma by implying a corrective approach to diagnosing and fixing ailments— toward the label “centre,” and more recently variations on “studio”;
    • developing policies that forebode heavy-handedness and theorized non-directive or less-directive tutoring approaches centred on empowering student writers to recognize, weigh, and (independently) make rhetorical choices;
    • shifting away (though not entirely) from “tutor” to seemingly more professional terms, such as consultants, assistants, mentors, coaches, advisors, fellows (data source);
    • fighting to define themselves as academic units rather than service units, some with tenure-line academic staff and sometimes within academic departments;
    • establishing scholarly literature, where an early emphasis on theories of collaborative learning worked to counter the myth of solitary genius (which served to obscure privilege and render the long history of learning assistance invisible).

How many of these reactions against stigma and marginalization are evident in the writing centre at your institution?

At York’s  Liberal Arts & Professional Studies’ Writing Centre where I am situated, most of these are present. They’re evident in everything from the Centre’s location in an academic unit and its faculty writing instructors to its long-standing mission– to “assist students from across the University to become effective independent critical thinkers and writers”–and the collaborative learning approach to describing itself.

Identity in context

It is within this historical context that today’s writing tutors are instructed that their role is to support students as they develop the skills, strategies, tactics, and disciplinary awareness required of advanced writing tasks. Writing centres are in the business of mentoring writers, not producing better writing.

We now train tutors to perform a careful  balancing act between guidance and mentorship and respect for the authority of student writers. Elizabeth Kleinfeld, director of the Metro State Writing Centre, captures this well in her advice for writing tutors: “We should not make decisions for students, but we should make explicit for them that they have choices and every choice has consequences.”

Putting into practice an approach of talking with students about writing can be challenging. This is especially true for tutors  who are not equipped with an understanding of the ongoing need to resist stigmatizing perspectives of writing and writing tutoring. These negative perspectives are prevalent in the pressures from students and faculty to provide transactional and remedial writing, proofreading, and editing services.

It is a difficult task for writing tutors to reframe the narrative for both student writers and, ideally, the wider university community—What are writing centres? Equally so, the question, “Why writing centres?” is connected to the history accounted for here, as well as the now rich and diverse writing studies’ scholarship on writing as process, as epistemological tool, as communication, as culture.

This is an academic year like no other in our memories. Providing context helps frame what we are doing now; we can find direction and stability by looking to where we’ve come, especially given the uncertainty and confusion of our current context and absence of available models on which to base our future. While our “special night classes” are now zoom classes, much of what we are experiencing with our students is based on models we know and that have been developed through experience and study. Our praxis has always been shifting, COVID or not.

____________________

Suggestions for further reading:

Arendale, D. R. (2010). Access at the Crossroads–Learning Assistance in Higher Education. ASHE Higher Education Report, 35(6), 1-145.

Bell, S. (24 Feb 2020). A deeper understanding of writing: A reflection on advocacy. Canadian Writing Centre Review, 1(1). https://cwcaaccr.com/2020/02/24/writing-is-the-classroom/

Bruffee, K. A. (1984). Collaborative learning and the” conversation of mankind”. College English, 46(7), 635-652.

Butts, J. (2017). The more writing process, the better. In C.E. Ball & D.M. Loewe (Eds.), Bad Ideas about Writing (pp. 109-114). West Virginia University Libraries Digital Publishing Institute Morgantown, WV. https://textbooks.lib.wvu.edu/badideas/badideasaboutwriting-book.pdf

Carr, A.D. (2017). Failure is not an option. In C.E. Ball & D.M. Loewe (Eds.), Bad Ideas about Writing (p. 76). West Virginia University Libraries Digital Publishing Institute Morgantown, WV. https://textbooks.lib.wvu.edu/badideas/badideasaboutwriting-book.pdf

Clark, I. (2001). Perspectives on the directive/non-directive continuum in the writing center. The Writing Center Journal, 22(1), 33-58.

Dinitz, S. & Kiedaishc, J. (2003). Creating theory: Moving tutors to the center. The Writing Center Journal Online, 23(2), 63-76.

Giovanelli, L. (2017). Strong writing and writers don’t need revision. In C.E. Ball & D.M. Loewe (Eds.), Bad Ideas about Writing (pp. 104-108). West Virginia University Libraries Digital Publishing Institute Morgantown, WV. https://textbooks.lib.wvu.edu/badideas/badideasaboutwriting-book.pdf

Hubert, Henry (1994). Harmonious Perfection: The Development of English Studies in Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Canadian Colleges. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Press.

Kinkead, J., & Harris, J. (2000). What’s next for writing centres? The Writing Center Journal, 20(2), 23-24.

Kleinfeld, E. (n.d). Writing Centres, Ethics, and Excessive Research. http://www.bgsu.edu/departments/english/cconline/ethics_special_issue/Kleinfeld/index.html

North, S. (1984). The idea of a writing center. College English, 46(5), 433-446.

Oatley, K., & Djikic, M. (2008). Writing as thinking. Review of General Psychology, 12(1), 9-27. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1037/1089-2680.12.1.9

Pattanayak, A. (2017). There is one correct way of writing and speaking. In C.E. Ball & D.M. Loewe (Eds.), Bad Ideas about Writing (pp. 82-87). West Virginia University Libraries Digital Publishing Institute Morgantown, WV. https://textbooks.lib.wvu.edu/badideas/badideasaboutwriting-book.pdf

Paré, A. (2009). What we know about writing, and why it matters. Compendium2, 2(1), 1-7. https://ojs.library.dal.ca/C2/article/viewFile/3720/3408

Rodriguez, R.J. (2017). Leave yourself out of your writing. In C.E. Ball & D.M. Loewe (Eds.), Bad Ideas about Writing (p. 131). West Virginia University Libraries Digital Publishing Institute Morgantown, WV. https://textbooks.lib.wvu.edu/badideas/badideasaboutwriting-book.pdf

Thompson, I. (2009). Scaffolding in the writing center: A microanalysis of an experienced tutor’s verbal and nonverbal tutoring strategies. Written Communication, 26(4), 417-453.

Waller, S. (2002). A brief history of university writing centres: Variety and diversity. New Foundations Available online here: http://www.newfoundations.com/History/WritingCtr.html

Wardle, E. (2017). You can learn to write in general. In C.E. Ball & D.M. Loewe (Eds.), Bad Ideas about Writing (p. 30-33). West Virginia University Libraries Digital Publishing Institute Morgantown, WV. https://textbooks.lib.wvu.edu/badideas/badideasaboutwriting-book.pdf

Wingate, M. (2001). Writing centers as sites of academic culture. The Writing Center Journal, 21(2).

“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”

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”