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Thursday, December 11, 2003

I am the director of a high school writing center in Florida. While our peer tutor staff constantly trains so that they may provide their classmates with the best assistance possible, we are taking a more active role within our school. With the hopes of dispelling the notion that we are an "assignment center" that "fixes" papers, our staff is attempting to reveal the importance of precision and revision of writing outside of the classroom and the realm of academics. We have created a writing internship program, a visiting writers' series, a student writers' forum and an e-newsletter. We hope these programs will establish a new appreciation within our student body for the writing process. If you would like to see some of our work, click on the link below. If you have any questions about our efforts or if you run similar programs, we would love to hear from you. We are always looking for new perspectives and partnerships.

http://www.berkeleyprep.org/wc
Well it is the end of the semester--the craziness seems to have subsided. Folks here are quietly working on email responses now. It is kind of sad to see all the bustle ending--but quite necessary at this point.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Next week, I found out recently, I'm going to be working the night shift (5-8 p.m.) for one night. We just started evening hours this semester, and I haven't worked them yet.

Which Writing Centers have night hours and which don't? And, at those that do, is the student clientele noticeably different from day users?

Friday, November 21, 2003

wow! I figured out how to post! I just wanted to comment on the directors mtg held last week at UVSC. It was great to get together with people who have the same passions and problems that I do. I wish it were easier to have the heads of regional writing centers get together because I think we have a lot to offer each other. I'm looking forward to becoming an official region of the ICWCA.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

My question for the day: What motivates students to come (or not come) to scheduled meetings?

Three students were supposed to come to a meeting today, but only one of them showed up. And she was several minutes late.

These students always say they want to do well, and always promise they won't miss--and yet they do.

Should we start a chapter of Absentees Anonymous? Would anyone come to the support group meetings?

Oh well--I have another appointment in ten minutes, and this student is almost always here...

Monday, November 17, 2003

We have a few new folks who've joined the blog team, but no one is posting. Basically post anything you want about Writing Center work--it doesn't have to follow any discenable discussion pattern.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I thought I would put the following question which was posed in a comment below into the blog proper so folks can use the comments here to answer:


"Hi. I just found out about this blog, and I thought that I'd pose a question that a couple of the tutors and I are mulling over. When does a session become non student-centered and become assignement sheet centered? Is or can there be a session that is honestly "student-centered"?
Tell me what you folks think...if there is anyone out there...:

Rachel"
I had the honor of going to the University of Utah and talking to the tutor training class there. They were a great group--full of smart questions and interesting discussion. The University has just recently started a writing center. It was great chatting with the tutors as well as hearing how they deal with common writing center issues. It would be nice to have the peer tutors who work here meet up and discuss issues with them. Of course, folks could do that here too.
Oh well, I'm not going to despair over PeerCentered. I will just badger people to death with its existence.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Sometimes I think I am beating a dead horse when it comes to PeerCentered. My presumption that blogging was the "in thing" seems to have been way off the mark. Perhaps peer tutors are just too busy to sit down and journal about it--especially when that journaling is open to anyone and everyone.
Well, I'll give PeerCentered a bit longer, advertise it a little more, and then see what happens. It isn't all that amusing that the majority of the entries here are my machinations about how to get people to write here. Talk about a metablog!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

There is some amount of debate on WCENTER about the combination of IWCA and NCPTW (International Writing Center Association and National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing) Conferences. I think my only concern is that peer tutors would be pushed out of the discussion in favor of director talk. There is nothing wrong with director talk, of course, but if the purpose of a conference is to foster peer tutoring then it should be about that. Directors have other issues to discuss that might preclude any talk about and amongst peer tutors.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Well IWCA/NCPTW was a great experience, as usual. It was good to see folks I mostly only see online, as well as meeting new folks. I took a bunch of pictures.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Hi. I am a peer consultant at the writing center in Syracuse University, NY. I wanted to talk to some international writing consultants if there are any out there. Please get back to me if you are one!! Thanks.
We just recieved the latest issue of Writing Lab Newsletter, and I'm particularly interested in an article from the folks at the College of Chrarleston Writing Center. It seems that their director has been collecting "exit essays" from graduating tutors from their WC. She has been doing it about 10 years now. What a great idea. I think I might start doing something similar at our WC, but I wish I had done so long ago. It looks like it is a great resource for folks currently working in the WC, and would be a great training instrument. As the article says "Having current consultants read and reflect on what their own peers from the last decade have said about working in the Writing Lab demonstrates to the present consultants that they are not alone in their constant, generous, sympathetic efforts to assist other with writing.... They are, indeed, connected to a long line of fellow workers who, like them, have realized the special roles they play as helpers to others" (October 2003, 15). That is what I was hoping Peer Centered could do as well. Oh well--we'll keep on trying.
If I have time, I'm going to make up some flyers for Peer Centered to take to IWCA Conference this week. I leave on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

We've reached a slow spot in the term. Undoubtedly it is due to Fall Break (which starts this afternoon). It is nice to have a bit of a breather since the first half of the term was so busy. The new folks are just about ready to start working on their own, but have suddenly come down with various illnesses. I don't look forward to the round of colds and flus that tend to go around writing centers when the weather starts to turn.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

I am currently at the TYCA-West (Two Year Conference Association of NCTE) up in Rock Springs, Wyoming this weekend. I've been trying to make contact with other WC folks in our region. There are a few of us. It has inspired me, however, when I go to IWCA in PA in two weeks to contact two-year folks.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

There was some discussion on WCENTER a few weeks ago about "active time" of tutors. I think we've reached saturation point right now. 80% active is far too much, I think, and can quickly lead to burn out. Luckilly the two new tutors will be coming into their own soon.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Hi, all! My name is Sylvia Newman, and I manage the Weber State University Writing Center in Ogden, Utah. I'm looking forward to being part of the Blog community.
Someone referred to Plato, which reminded me of a humorous sentence in a student paper: "As far as I'm concerned, plutonic love is just a friendship." We wondered which definition he meant: having to do with the planet Pluto, having to do with plutonium or having to do with dogs with floppy ears.

Just a little humor to end the week with.
OK I decided to advertise again on WCENTER. Howdy WCENTER folks. Want to join? Email me (Clint Gardner at Clint.Gardner@slcc.edu). Include "Peer Centered" in the subject line.
I've had word from Sylvia at Weber State University that she has some folks up there who are interested in joining the blog team. I was thinking of advertising the blog again on WCENTER, but then again it hasn't taken off yet, I don't know that it ever will. I'm a bit surprised by this since blogging has become so hot. Undoubtedly people who blog already have their own sites, so don't think of coming to a place like this.

Anyway, it has been euphorically busy in our Writing Center here at Salt Lake Community College. I've been training some new folks since we are down a few folks our staff. That has been quite invigorating, to say the least, since one always gets a fresh perspective when new folks get involved in Writing Center work. I think this is the busiest we have ever been--and we are generally quite busy. Enrollment is way up. That explains it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

It has been a busy couple of weeks. Between getting the new semester rolling and already meeting with many students, we've been nearly overwhelmed. We're hiring a few new tutors, so fresh perspectives will be very nice.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Fall semester has started quietly, as do most semesters. It is, however, pretty busy for me since I have to coordinate everyone's hours and attend a bunch of meetings on issues that have been stewing all summer. People seem refreshed, however, much different from the walking dead I witnessed last Spring (both in student writers and in faculty.) Summer is good.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Hello! I'm happy to be a member of this blog. This is my first-ever blog, so I'm pretty new to this. I'm curious who all is going to IWCA/NCPTW Conference in Hershey in October?
That was quick--here we are back to the new semester. I am going to advertise PeerCentered, the blog, on WCENTER to see if it will generate more interest. Hopefully the new commenting system will at least generate some interest, even if folks don't want to participate in the blog itself.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Well it is the last day of tutoring for Summer semester for us. It has been an interesting Summer what with all the departures. I'm kind of antsy about the fall and finding new folks to work here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

All pretty quiet in the DBU Writing Center for the past few weeks. I have night shifts alone, so I get a lot of homework done and see only a few people. The atmosphere here is so conducive to good thinking, such an intellectual atmosphere and so good and peaceful...it's great. I have had a lot of visits just from homies. I've been teaching one of my friends (almost) as much as I can about Plato, and I find she's a good learner.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I've been thinking about Fall semester a great deal lately. It should be an exciting time (as I think most Fall semesters are) in the Writing Center. We're going to have quite a few new folks working here, and that always kicks the energy into high gear. It is always good to see new growth and development in both writers and peer writing tutors.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Here are some quick reflections on writing from a theology/philosophy major who is also a UWC employee. Grammar and writing are so important. Truth has to be propositional. Things have to be said in the form a sentence, with a subject and a verb and a direct object or a predicate nominative. If truth is not in this form, it has no practical value, mostly because it is incommunicable. So it's pretty cool that I work for a Writing Center. I get to work with grammar, the vehicle of truth.
I'm still trying to think of various ways to get people to share in the Peer Centered Blog. Perhaps blogs are an acquired taste. I'm not really certain it will ever take off.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Ahah--comments now working. Unfortunately, the ones that were there are now lost, since I had to switch systems. In any case, comment away.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

You know, here I am in the Writing Center, talking to writers about their work, and I just want to note the charge I get out of it. There is something about delving into the process with them--working with a writer to get a sense of it, or learn about something. Anyway responding to writing and fostering a learning situation is a charge and a half. I would hope that writers also have that experience. I think they do based upon their animation in the discussions.

Monday, July 07, 2003

We have 4 day weeks at SLCC in the Summer. While I think tutors and students like it, I think it is taking its toll on learning. I would keep the Writing Center open over the weekend, but the building is locked and the A/C is off.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

I've contacted a few of the participants and some folks are interested in posting again, while others have moved on. We'll see how it goes. I plan on a bigger push for the fall.

In the mean time, I've put on a comment feature, but for some reason the comment count indicator refuses to work. I will look in to it.

Monday, June 30, 2003

It's quiet here on June 30 in Bellingham, Washington. Our little Center is plugging along with two tutors--there is no funding for a director in the summer, so my role is as additional (emergency?) support only. Our WC's open just 8 hours a week this summer, mid-day Monday through Thursday. I was in there a while ago, and we had "no customers." Like I said, it's quiet. That's nice, though, after the hectic pace of the rest of the year! The trick, I guess, is to let the quiet help me make room for some new ideas rather than lull me to sleep.... But of course there's nothing wrong with a nice long nap, either.

Sherri Winans
Whatcom Community College
We had a staff meeting today and talked about methods to get student writers to make follow-up appointments. There were a lot of good suggestions--anywhere from having a "most improved paper" contest to changing our report form to emphasize making new appointments. I think, however, the most valid perception that one of the tutors gave was to make sure one is not in a "one shot" mindset. In other words, if the tutor is thinking that this is the only time that he/she will meet with the student, than that will probably be communicated to the student writer unintentionally. The best thing to do is to go in with the open mindset that the student will be coming back, and that this session is one of many to come.
Welcome to Peer Centered. Hopefully we can stir up enough interest to get folks posting here. We had a fitfull start last fall, but then when the semester hit, people forgot about it. We'll see how it goes for the summer. I have plans to heavily advertise in the fall.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Hello there everyone; I am Mark Jeremiah Boone, Writing Center peer tutor at Dallas Baptist University; I am new to the blog.

I want to talk about postmodernism/premodernism as it pertains to the reading/interpretation of a text. In my own experience here I have noticed little relevance of the issue except when perusing student's papers for English classes.

My knowledge of the subject includes several philosophy courses and the fact that I have read books on postmodernism by premodern authors (Francis Schaeffer), books I would simply describe as "premodern" (for instance, CS Lewis), books I would call "postmodern" (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and a little Heiddegger), and books that have aspects of a Christian postmodernism (Gilbert Keith Chesterton). I have also taken classes with both premodern and postmodern professors.

The issue, as I understand it, is this: premodernism's creed regarding hermeneutics (of Scripture or any other text) is that there is one interpretation. Whereas postmodernism's creed is that there is one text, and many interpretations. The particular reader is isolated above the universal text. As far as our work in a Writing Center setting goes, the question is how our thinking should be, for instance, when a reader (a student) of a poem by, say, Robert Frost, has written in his/her paper an interpretation of the poem that probably has nothing to do with what Rober Frost meant when he wrote the poem.

In other words, is the author's intention more important or is what the reader gets out of it more important? When I think about my most distinctly premodern professor, who says that there is "one interpretation, many applications," and my most distinctly postmodern professor, who says that logical limits must be placed on the interpretation (EG, "Alice in Wonderland" will never be a manual for constructing spaceships), it seems to me that the problem is smaller than it looks. If the student's interpretation of Robert Frost is an absurd one when compared to the author's intention when writing the poem, I will try to explain the correct meaning of the poem. If the interpretation is certainly not what Robert Frost intended but is not in contradiction with the his intention either, I would consider the student's insight to be a legitimate application of the poem and may or may not suggest to them that it is such rather than an interpretation. The bottom line is, my proposed compromise/alloy of premodern and postmodern text theory is that the most important thing is the application any reader gets from the author's intention, that is: the many applications the various readers will get from the single correct interpretation.
I advertised PeerCentered on WCENTER the other day. Let's hope that more folks take interest in it. I suppose it didn't garner that much interest initially because of the shifting nature of writing center work.

The summer has been relatively quiet so far. We started a few weeks back, and things have finally started to pick up. People get antsy when there are few students to meet with, so we've been doing things for the web site.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

I had the opportunity to go up to the University of Utah the other day. They are starting up a writing center. Even in our tight budget times, they managed to swing fundingr. My friend and colleague Tif spent time talking to Raul Sanches, the person organizing it, discussing issues that tend to come up with writing centers at their inception, and, in general, discussing the prospects of a University Writing Center. We then went over to where the new writing center will be, and I will have to say I'm jealous. It is in the former card catalog room of the old part of the Marriott Library--a big old atrium that goes up 5 floors and (now) has a huge skylight at the top. The space borders on a big computer lab/reading room, as well as general reference--seemingly the center of that part of the library. I told them I was jealous of their set up, but then again, as Tif said, we have a pretty good set up as well. No marble, mind you, but we've worked hard with what we were given.



Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Blech summer is getting off to a rotten start--budget cuts--combative student writers--a general feeling of angst.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Well another year in the Writing Center is over. It has been a tough year, in all, having to face down a shrinking budget which means fewer students to work with more and more student writers. Ah well, I survived. Sad news at the end of it all--our new Community Writing Center (a service for out-of-school adults) is facing the budget ax. There are good folks here who are working to save it.

Peer Centered the blog hasn't been extraordinarilly successful, but I think i am going to let it continue and really advertise it next fall. In the meantime, dear reader, I hope your summer goes well.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Ah what an interesting day in the Center. Aside from the normal number of bustling students, we had an impromtu gathering of faculty who sat on the couch and talked about comp/rhet pedagogical theory. This used to happen quite a bit my early history here, but had died off over the past few years. We recently hired three new faculty, and they are having a good effect on our overall faculty. All this was inspired from a movement in our WC to start weekly discussion on teaching/comp/rhet theory.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I guess we've all neglected poor PeerCentered. Time to rectify. It has been a busy semester--I am always intrigued by those posts on WCENTER about drops in usage for Spring semester at other institutions. I've never had that experience here at Salt Lake Community College. I sometimes think we are even busier in the Spring than in the fall. I am sure that is due to the nature of our institution.

Last week was Spring Break, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Right before SB we were getting some "cranky" students. This of course put the tutoring staff on edge. The break was nice.

Right now I look out across the Writing Center and see groups of writers chatting away and working on pieces. There is an discussion about the war in the corner on the couches. Outside there is a gentle desert rain.