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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Semester, New Ideas

Today is my second day of classes, and our WC doesn't officially open until Monday, Sept 1. This year we didn't have too much turnover, and we have a very strong group of tutors, so we've been talking about doing some new programs this fall. I wanted to briefly outline two of them and hopefully get some feedback from all of you.

Program One: Creative Writing Workshops. We've been holding weekly creative writing sessions for two semesters now. A number of our tutors (myself included) have a focus on creative writing. While we are technically always open for poetry and fiction, we rarely if ever saw creative writing in the WC. So we began holding specific weekly sessions, advertised just for creative writers. We've had mild success before. By far, our most popular thing was having the poetry faculty come in and give special workshops during National Poetry Month (each prof. held a workshop for a different kind of poem). I'm wondering, how do your WCs typically handle creative writers? Any special outreach or programs? What's been effective, and what's not?

Program Two: Continued Tutor Training - Since a number of our tutors have worked for 2, 3,or 4 years, we have been talking about having an informal tutor training this fall. When we begin working in the WC, we take a semester-long course in WC theory and practice, so we all know the fundamentals. And the tutors we have are great; no one doubts their skill at what we do. But we have been talking about informally reading current theory, trying to see what we can do to help improve the work we already do. Hopefully not too heavy a load (we're already full-time students!), but something extra to keep us intellectually and academically engaged. Have any of you had continued training? If so, what was it like (ie, how often did you meet, what level of work/reading)? Also, if you were designing such a program, what would you just have to include?

Thanks in advance!

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. That creative writing workshop idea is a great one!

    Sometimes, I wonder how many writers don't bring their poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, whatever into the center because they assume that there's no audience for it.

    The most commom references to "The Boise State Writing Center" usually appear on syllabi or in the margins of student's papers, and perhaps that leads students to believe the writing center is for academic writings, only. I did.

    I've written poetry for years, and before actually working in the center, I would've never thought of bringing one of my difficult poems into the writing center. I figured the writing center was for research papers and 102 essays.

    Think of all the wisdom I missed out on! Durf...

    Good luck with the creative workshops. It's important that students know that all types of writing will be warmly welcomed.

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  3. It sounds like you guys have great projects going on, Andrew! One thing that isn't exactly continued 'training' but does prompt many experienced consultants to discuss writing center theory more than they might otherwise is involvement in PeerCentered. Could your veteran tutors be asked to bring up/respond to questions right here? (This is a funny comment for me to leave, I feel like I'm saying 'Will you come play with me, pretty please?) :)

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  4. Alisha - Another benefit of the workshops is that not all of our tutors necessarily feel comfortable discussing poetry. They may not be creative writers themselves, or never read poetry. So a few have come to the workshops simply to observe and then discuss ways to discuss poetry in the WC.

    Elizabeth - Nothing wrong with coming out to play! I will definitely invite them over.

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  5. I never thought of the consultant side of it. Sounds like the workshops are beneficial, all the way around...

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