The Wonderful World of Writing Centers

On October 30 through November 1, five undergraduate students who work in the Center for Writing Excellence and their director, Alan Benson, presented research at the International Writing Centers Association/National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing conference in Orlando, Florida. As part of their work in the CWE, these students – Hannah Brandel, Alexandria Herrera, Bailey Hoffmann, Anthony Letourneau, and Hannah Zidon – engaged in conversations with writing center directors and writing assistants through roundtable discussions and panel presentations at The Wonderful World of Writing Centers conference.

In the roundtable discussion, “Imagining a ‘Hoop that Never Ends’: Building Connections Between College and High School Writing Centers,” Benson, Brandel, and Letourneau described the process, challenges, and value of working with local schools in the Eau Claire area in order to set up writing centers at the high school level. Input was gained through conversation with other writing center directors, writing assistants, program assistants, and high school writing assistants from the area. Furthermore, through the discussion, support was garnered for the project and other similar projects around the country, as well.

Herrera, Hoffmann, and Zidon presented research based off of the ethnographic studies that they created in English 397, Writing Center Theory and Practice. Their presentation, “Part of Your World: Collaborative Conversation in the Writing Center,” explored the value of pronoun usage, language choice, and question-asking related to successful writing center conversations. These concepts were found to be prevalent in other centers, as well, and members of the audience shared valuable insights, too.

For both groups, the opportunity to present and engage with scholarly research in preparation for the conference as well as at the conference itself was a valuable learning experience. If you see them, be sure to congratulate them and ask them about their research! We look forward to supporting more CWE writing assistants as they work toward making the UWEC writing center as helpful and successful as it can be, and we encourage our students to continue engaging with all the learning opportunities available to them!

Writing Center conference

More information, including an online program with abstracts, from the conference can be found at http://www.iwcancptw2014.com