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

Interviewed by Brian Hotson, CWCR/RCCR co-editor
Vol 1, No. 3 (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.

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

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!


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. 2 (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”

CWCR/RCCR 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

Vol. 1, No. 1 (Winter 2020)

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 “CWCR/RCCR Video Chat || Programming, technology, and resource development during the COVID-19 disruption”

Canadian writing centres respond to COVID-19 – final instalment

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

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. 1 (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”

A deeper understanding of writing: A reflection on advocacy

By Stephanie Bell
Vol. 1, No. 1 (Winter 2020)

GIF of Stephanie Bell saying cheers with her coffee mug.
Stephanie Bell

Stephanie Bell is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University, and a co-editor of the CWCR/RCCR

With guest editor,
Holly Salmon, CWCA/ACCR board member, Coordinator and Instructor, Learning Centre Instructor, English Department, Douglas College

How do you describe the role of writing centres in higher education? I find that my efforts to articulate a narrative that moves beyond descriptions of programming and pedagogy are centred on advocacy and education about the nature of writing. What is good writing? This question has high stakes for higher education, and writing specialists located in writing centres have the expertise required to shape the answer. Continue reading “A deeper understanding of writing: A reflection on advocacy”

How Ryerson is leading Canadian universities in multimodal writing support

By Stephanie Bell & Brian Hotson
Vol. 1, No. 1 (Winter 2020)

An interview with John Hannah and Tesni Ellis from Ryerson University’s Student Affairs Special Projects & Storytelling team

Animated GIF that reads "creators welcome"
Animation made on iPad with Procreate

Despite a dramatic rise of plug-and-play applications for producing and publishing multimodal web content, their migration into higher education classrooms has been slow. Likewise, support from Canada’s writing centres has remained fixed on traditional genres of writing, such as the research paper, lab report, and literature review. While researching for our forthcoming book on the future of multimodal digital writing support for students by Canadian writing centres/programs, we’ve been unable to find many programs of tutoring multimodal writing and production in university writing centre contexts. A noteworthy outlier is the Multiliteracy Support Appointments program listed on Ryerson’s Writing Support website.

We contacted John Hannah and Tesni Ellis at Ryerson to chat about their multimedia supports. John is Director, Special Projects in Student Affairs and former director of the Writing Centre, English Language support, and Graduate Student Support. Tesni is Coordinator, Student Affairs Storytelling within Student Affairs, and a former Writing Consultant at Ryerson’s Writing Centre herself.

Stephanie: Hi John and Tesni – thanks for agreeing to talk with us. Given that there seems to be slow uptake on this front, we’re interested in how your program got started. Can you tell us that story?  Continue reading “How Ryerson is leading Canadian universities in multimodal writing support”

Some free pizza sealed the deal: Founding the Millwood High School Writing Centre

By Kristin Welbourn
Vol. 1, No. 2 (Winter 2020)

Kristin Welbourn is the Millwood High School Librarian in Middle Sackville, Nova Scotia. Millwood High School has 800 students.

Millwood High School is a fairly typical school for the area, an area of mostly working-class families. It might seem an odd place for what appears to be the only high school writing centre in Atlantic Canada to originate.

Kristin Wellbourn

About two years ago, I was invited to a high school staff meeting where teachers were reviewing the Grade 10 provincial exam results from the previous three years. As the school Librarian, I don’t usually attend that type of meeting, but the head of the English Department was kind enough to include me in this one. Even to my non-English teacher eyes, it quickly became apparent that when it came to writing, our students’ scores were slipping. Continue reading “Some free pizza sealed the deal: Founding the Millwood High School Writing Centre”