A request from WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship
In recent years, an increasing number of writing centers have moved into learning centers (or Student Success Centers or Academic Skills Centers, or various other names), but how are they faring? This complex question needs to be explored from numerous perspectives and by numerous voices. Given this new configuration for many writing centers, there needs to be more information about how?and how well?these writing centers are working. We at WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship want to spark a conversation about how these changes affect the work we do, so we are soliciting your responses for future publication.
For inclusion in a future issue, WLN is soliciting short responses from writing center professionals and working tutors that explore the good and the bad of learning centers. If your center is part of a larger student service, what wisdom, insights, solutions can you pass along to others? What have you learned from this transition, and are there specific actions or conditions that could prove to be problematic?
Consider your audience as other writing center directors who are wondering how to fit in or improve their writing center and want to learn from colleagues who have clarified problems and found solutions. This will be a collaborative effort to generate a conversation by including as many voices as we have space to fit into WLN.
We are asking writers to focus on some keywords and potential questions that come up often in discussions about learning centers.
- How does a writing center maintain its identity within a learning center?
- Are there specific power conflicts or situations that affect writing centers in learning centers more than writing centers not consolidated into larger student services.
- In what ways are the philosophies/missions/cultures of learning centers different from those of writing centers?
- How can these similarities and differences be potentially constructive or destructive?
- If there are administrative plans to move a writing center into a learning center and the writing center administrator prefers to avoid that move, are there successful arguments for the center to stay where it is?
- What operational advantages and disadvantages come with being part of a learning center?
- What resources (space, expertise, budget, administrative support, institutional ethos) might be gained, lost, or shared through such an arrangement?
- What staffing concerns, such as status, need to be identified? Why?
- How can the writing center fit into the hierarchy of a learning center that is advantageous to the writing center?
- What are conditions to avoid because they are disadvantageous?
When you write a response, we encourage you to focus on concrete solutions and strategies. While data from studies or surveys aren’t needed, share with colleagues what works, not what might work. Why? Under what conditions? What larger framework can you put this in?
Because each institutional context is different, the specifics of one center aren’t transferable to others; avoid narratives for the sake of narrative and think more broadly about applicability outside your own center.
Please send your 1500-word responses to the WLN editors by October 31, 2016:
Kim Ballard: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee Ann Glowzenski: email@example.com
Muriel Harris: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that 1500 words is an absolute upper limit, with the Works Cited included in that word count, in MLA, 8th ed. format.
If you envision this response as potentially leading to an article for WLN later on, please let us know. Also, please indicate whether you would be interested in being interviewed for our blog, Connecting Writing Centers Across Borders, or providing a tour of your space for blog readers.