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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Becoming Technological & More Involved.

Inspired by Clint and the Writing Center listserv, I realized how much folks are (or were, or do every year) for events like International Writing Center Week. I've been working as a tutor now for a couple of years and I have to admit that the Writing Center of which I've been a part has not been involved in that capacity. In fact, aside from the dreaded (by me) classroom visits we do throughout the semester, there aren't any other ways in which we manage to become more visible to the campus community. Our having begun using WCOnline as of last summer has made it easier for students to make appointments (and cut down significantly on the number of phone calls we've been getting), and while I haven't heard any statistics on a potential increase of sessions, I would like to make us more visible, promote our services, or at least present ourselves and a nifty place to get help. We have such a large student population that I know we couldn't handle becoming inundated (who could?) but I would like to make us more visible in some capacity.

And it's hard to do this, since our Writing Program is in a temporary state of flux. Tutors come and go, too, although many stay for several semesters, eventually even those who left because of scheduling conflicts, or the variety of reasons that tutors leave - eventually they graduate anyway. It can be difficult to get everyone involved when people work as few as one or two hours a week and only come in during one particular part of the week (say, Friday afternoons, which are much less busy than other times).

So what to do? I'd love to get us podcasting, but we don't have a permanent director at the moment; besides which, I myself am graduating in May and would not be able to set up something as comparatively advanced as this. I've set the wheels in motion to see if we could establish a Flickr account - at least the campus community could get a feel for the tutors - but that might be too little, and I worry that once I leave, that will languish.

Activities for International Writing Centers week would have been lovely to do recently, but nothing was even discussed within our center, and that might be something I bring up to our new Writing Program director.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Add-a-line poems for International Writing Centers Week

The folks visiting the Student Writing Center at Salt Lake Community College have crafted several add-a-line poems this week. Basically one person writes one line and then another person adds a new line. Here are some of them:

1.

She reads Popular Mechanics
He reads Cosmo Girl!
But neither understands
The implications of their wild radical ways.

2.

The morning comes with a chance of snow
Then...nothing, so we wait.
The roads are crazy don't cha know?
Ack! The coffee shop is closed!
So I put the pedal to the metal
Stabucks, my corporate God, thank you
For your everlasting constant availability.

3.

Wanted: One thesis statment
Found: Two statements from Thebes
Reward: one lost cat, owner Schrodinger
does not know if animal is alive or dead

4.

What can you say about
Tucson in the Fall?
I'll tell you this
Its nothing like an English Ball
Aristocracy and finery has
No place
In the dry dessert season
Society, an extinct race

5.

The words flowed like hard candy
Clink
Clink
Clink
Into the candy bin
Sugary sweetness of the solilioquy
Melting within
Cupcakes with monkey faces
Placed carelessly on the kitchen counter,
Mold and dessicate slowly.

6.

What would you do if
You were fixed on the rage-pin?
Fixed like a broken
Toaster or fixed like
A stray dog?
Answer me that
Tough guy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

IWCW2007 Happenings

We've made a flickr account here at the Salt Lake Community College Student Writing Center and have been posting both old and new pictures. The old ones have made me quite nostalgic. If your Center or you get a flickr account (or have one) let us all know in a comment with your URL.

I have more posts about our activities, and perhaps the activities of others (if I can find any) later.

Friday, February 09, 2007

International Writing Centers Week 2007

Tomorrow (12 February) is the start of International Writing Centers Week 2007. It will run until the 18th. Here's what I wrote to WCENTER last night:

Given that it is a super-busy time of the semester, it seems like it has come at an opportune time. In between sessions, we are busily making stuff to give out to folks and plan on doing some "instant poetry" boards (just a big piece of paper in the corner where folks can write out whatever they want) and hope to barrage our campuses with information about the Student Writing Center (SWC). The campus TV folks came by and are going to put together a video about the SWC that will be shown on the video system at our 5 main campuses and I'm re-editing a video I made for IWCW2006). Although I've never been much on this sort of thing, the folks I work with are excited and have come up with some good ideas, so it should be interesting. We all decided to take on a project (which has been a tough row to hoe given how busy we've been) to do something that reflects the spirit of the week. Aside from the video (which I consider to be cheating as I did it last year) I was inspired to make a collage wall of all the pictures I've taken since 1991, my first year in the SWC. It was a nostalgic moment for me, I suppose, but I was really surprised how much interest in the history of the SWC it has generated from the Peer Writing Advisers. I've been pleased to recount to them who is who and what contributions they made to the Center. You take those learning moments as they come, I suppose.

If anything it will give us an opportunity to show off to the rest of the Community College (which is not necessarily a bad thing) and will allow us yet again to reflect on our practice and what a writing center means to an institution.
to which Chloe Diepenbrock replied

We have been having a great time planning activities for next week.

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we are making custom-made valentines, which has required lots of cutting out of poetry. On Thursday we'll play word-games, and on Friday evening we will host a poetry reading featuring our very own faculty poet.

Our monthly newsletter also featured a writing center time-line beginning with good old Philo Buck and ending with our own Writing Center's latest achievement.

Here's to IWCW!!

And earlier some other folks reported the following:

Although it's late, I thought I would share the activities we'll be conducting to celebrate International Writing Centers Week. We are happily stealing the "Let us be your Cyrano" Valentine's Day card idea, and we are sponsoring a "Name our New Fish (and Frog)" contest. But we're most excited about another idea that the tutors came up with. We will be conducting a donation drive for an area homeless shelter.
Throughout the week, we will have collection boxes at various locations throughout campus, where people can donate books, coloring books, crayons, children's mittens, food, and other needed items. In addition, several Writing Center tutors will be volunteering a few hours at the shelter to tutor children and adults working on their GEDs. The most exciting part is that many other St. Louis area writing centers, who are members of our local consortium, are also collecting items for the shelter and offering tutoring hours. What better way to celebrate International Writing Centers week than by extending our philosophy of one writer helping another beyond our campuses and out into the larger community.

Fran [Hooker]

and

Hi All!

When Clint posted this query about IWCA Week many weeks ago, I thought to myself, "Gee, I really need to plan something for IWCA Week." So I'd like to share now, if that's okay.

Four students in my Peer Writing Consultation course this semester are putting together a Poetry Slam, to be held at the writing center, in celebration of IWCA Week on February 16. I've been nondirectively advising the students throughout the process, but they have taken the initiative to touch base with our resident poet, design marketing materials, and comb various businesses in the city to come up with some nice prizes. (In fact, they've done so well, I think every participant will get something.) The effort has grown, and now we are looking at the slam as an event inaugurating the start of a creative writer's workshop group to meet at the writing center every Friday afternoon.

In fact, check out the blogspot they designed -- http://writingcenterslam.blogspot.com/

I like a writing center that's "by the people and for the people."

Noreen [Lape]

and

We are doing Valentines. We set up in the library main floor (we are located on the second floor) and help students and staff make (and
write) Valentines. We got the idea from this list last year, and we made a couple of hundred last year! That was without publicity--this year we plan some publicity.

Valerie M. Balester

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Everyday Writing Center

I just received a copy of Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice from Utah State Press and can't wait to get into it. I suspect that Anne Ellen Geller, Michele Eodice, Frankie Condon, Meg Carroll, and Elizabeth Boquet have put together something that will have a great deal of influence on the future of writing center practice and theory. Harvey Kail summarizes what intrigues me most about the text:

What impresses me most about their argument is not that writing centers need to stop being so rigid and time-bound and apolitical, but that writing centers occupy a unique space in the academy that might encourage authentic communities of learners, writers, peer tutors, faculty, and staff. The Everyday Writing Center provides a way to think about this ambition. (ibid.)
I hope to have a review here later. Michele Eodice will also be the keynote The Rocky Mountain Peer Tutoring Conference at Weber State University on March 2-3, so I hope to have a chance to discuss the book with her and, perhaps, record that discussion for the podcast. It seems that Michele is also going to discuss the text with Rocky Mountain Region directors, so I might record that as well, or in place of a more formal interview.

CSU Writing Center Poetry Slam

To celebrate International Writing Centers Week 2007, Columbia State University has put together a
CSU Writing Center Poetry Slam on February 16. They are also using a blog to spread the word about it.