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Thursday, February 24, 2005

"Celebration of Writing"

Stanford University Writing Center has an interesting way to get involved in their University's annual Parents' Weekend:

“The students speak in their own voices and you get a real feel for their interests and concerns,” [Writing Center Assistant Director Wendy] Goldberg said. “You get a real cross-section of students and interests.”

The "Celebration of Writing" sounds like a great way for a writing center to reach out to its community.

"Friends to all!"

There is something about how this article about writing fellows at the University of Wisconsin--Madison starts:

They are a rare breed who love the complex process of thesis development, the endless variety of sentence structure and the art of the perfect transition. Their majors range anywhere from psychology to women's studies. They feel no student should conquer writer's block alone, and their lust for writing has put drive and passion back in UW students' pens. They are the writing fellows.

'Sometimes, students are more comfortable coming to someone who is on a peer level"

Austin Peay State University has started up a new writing center staffed exclusively by peer tutors.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

"Tutor's Column"

In the latest Writing Lab Newsletter "Tutor's Column" (February, 2005; Volume 29, Number 6), Paula Braun, Courtney Patterson, and Sarah Abst of the University of Toledo write about their experience "post-processing" a session they lead at the last NCPTW/IWCA conference entitled "Talking back to Training Manuals: Real Tutoring in a Post-Process Writing Cetner." The trio's main question of concern was "'How do you determine the line between directivenes and non-directiveness? When do you cross it'" (10)? The answers participants in the workshop provide are frank and explore the problems that non-directive theory can present in a writing center setting. Braun, Patterson, and Abst in presenting the explorations from their workshop hope that it sparks "as lively an exploration in your setting" (10).

In a bonus "Tutor's Column," Kelly Wisecup of the College of the Ozarks reports on an interesting experiment in writing center outreach. The program, entitled "Tutors in the Classroom" (TIC) (11), allowed the tutors to work with students in their classroom setting. The program not only allowed Wisecup to learn about instructor expectations but seemed to allow the tutors to model the benefits of individual consultations to the instructor.

"The Write Stuff"

NBC 25 out of Hagerstown, Maryland (USA) has an oblique success-story reference to a writing center in a recent news report aimed at high school student preparing for college:

College sophomore Sammy Magzoub spends a couple of hours a week in the writing help lab at his university. Before he got to college, Sammy didn’t realize that English isn’t the only class where a good paper can mean the difference between passing and failing. (Sinclair, Carla. "The Write Stuff", 2)

and then

Back in the college writing lab, Sammy says it wasn’t too difficult to improve his writing.

Magzoub said, "it didn’t take me long to realize that if you even change a word in your sentence, it could make a huge difference, or if you even change the order of the words, it makes a huge difference." (12-13)


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Raison d'etre

I've been thinking a bit about PeerCentered since the exchange below about why it is not working, and have decided that it might be a good thing to expand on the mission by making it not just a response/reflection kind of journal but also a "regulation" blog that links to (and perhaps comments on) news or other just items found on the Internet that relate directly to peer tutoring specifically and writing centers in general. That is the reason behind the post about Chaffey College's difficulties.

Over the next while I will also be paring down the contributers list to those who actually post items. I know this will change over time, so I'm arbitrarily assigning a six month rule: if a contributer doesn't post in a six month time span, they may be deleted from the role.
I feel a bit silly making such pronouncements since PeerCentered is so stagnant, but I am going to start advertising on WCENTER again the opportunity that we have to share our ideas with others.

So the modified purpose/mission is posted above.

Monday, February 07, 2005

"State Cuts May Doom Campus Success Centers"

The Chaffey Breeze of Chaffey College in Cucamonga, California reports a potentially disturbing action (free registration required to access story) by their state's funding agencies:
The state recently cut all funding starting next semester for the hours that students were spending in the Success Centers on campus.

According to the Vice President of Instruction, Dr. Linda Howdyshell, the cut came because the state was questioning the idea that students were getting "something for nothing" from the success centers and labs. (Cangialosi, Mark. "State Cuts May Doom Campus Success Centers", 3-4)
Apparantly the Success Centers include writing centers on campus as the story later offers a quotation by Robert Rundquist, Writing Center Instructional Specialist:
"'The college is very committed to the centers....I have no concern about it'" (20). Students at Chaffey, however, don't seem to share Rundquist's optimism.
Our friends at Writing Center Journal have started a blog: http://writingcenterjournal.blogspot.com/