Well blogging at the Cs was a bit complicated by the spendy internet prices, so I just couldn't justify it. However, I've found a free wireless connection this morning here in Chicago, so I thought I would post what I wrote for WCENTER consumption last night:
More later. The podcast thing really could come together, I think. I didn't really record anything, however, so CCCC stuff is out.
I know many of you were at CCCC and I could say hi to your personally, but for those of you who didn't have the opportunity, I just wanted to say that we've had a great time here in Chicago and we've had quite a few writing-center-related sessions. I've been busy jawing and having meetings with various folks so I haven't been able to attend a whole lot of sessions, but based upon things that folks have told me there were many many excellent sessions here at CCCC about writing centers. We also had a pre-conference workshop put together by Shanti Bruce and Kevin Dvorak which was universally claimed as very useful and engaging. Kevin and Shanti are proposing the session again for next year's CCCC in New York, so if you are interested in getting involved in that, I suggest you contact them. (Sorry I don't have their email addresses handy, but I assume they are just a Google away.)
OK, if I sound enthusiastic, it is because I, indeed, am. While I have many self-criticisms of our Board Meeting on Thursday night, I have none of our focused SIG which occurred right before it. Vice President Michele Eodice pulled together a great session where we could chat amongst ourselves in our special interest groups in the special interest group of writing centers. I, for example, had the opportunity to meet many folks, such as Harry Mosley and Sharon Masturzo, in the two-year scene whom I hadn't met before, as well as to rely on the expertise of WC professionals like Ellen Mohr and Sherri Winans (current Community College Rep for the IWCA Executive Board). Together we talked about the challenges that a two-year institution presents to writing center professionals. From what I could see, the conversations in other groups were likewise fruitful, although I would really enjoy hearing what others who participated in the groups felt.
Now as for the board meeting itself, I most enjoyed presenting the Scholarship award to Laurie Grobman, the late Candace Spigelman, and Anne Ellen Geller. (Forgive any miss-spellings of names as I am on my wacky web-based email access and cannot check them very easily--feel free to correct me). We will have pictures to post on writingcenters.org of the reception of the awards. I honestly felt too rushed by the agenda that I had planned to pay proper respect to the award winners and feel bad about it now. My self-criticism is that I should have slowed it all down and allowed for all of us to congratulate Laurie and Anne and think back on Candace's contributions to our community. Ok--it is one of those things that I learn from in thinking back on it. Thanks to Neal Lerner and Charlene Hirschi for chairing the awards committees and announcing the awards. Anne, Laurie, and Candace(may she rest in peace), really do deserve a hearty round of applause (via email in this case) from our community.
At this time we also honored people who have contributed to IWCA as officers or editors. Most notably I honored past-president Jon Olson whose presidency I attempt to honor by immitating it, as well as the editorship of the IWCA Update of Bill Macauley. Both Jon and Bill received their plaques with surprise and self-effacement, but I was quite honored to give these small tokens of honor (I called them a pound of wood) from a very appreciative organization. I also have plaques for former-Secretary Jill Pennington and former-Vice-President James Inman. Jill served as IWCA secretary (a very tough job indeed). I feel a special connection to Jill as she was, like me, the community college representative and is committed to developing the community college contigent in IWCA.
We had many other important issues to discuss on our agenda at the meeting--, but what was brought to my attention more than any other by the end of the meeting is the idea of getting involved in IWCA. We as an organization (and I do me WE--that's you, dear reader) need to work on inclusion and getting many people involved who are already doing writing center work. I'm going to work to make sure that all IWCA members are aware of our work and the opportunities that are available to all of us (such as research grants and Executive Board at-large positions). I might note, however, that our work is a communal effort. We are all working to develop and enhance writing centers--it is us--US (I capitalize it on purpose). WE (same thing) need to work with each other to develop and understand our community.
On Friday we had the WCENTER breakfast graciously hosted by the University of Illinois at Chicago (sorry if I got the name wrong again). At the breakfast we had the opportunity to talk about various issues. The UIC folks graciously showed us their writing center and informed us of their work with not only their own student body, but also their community outreach. I was happy to join Michele Eodice (IWCA VP) and Michael Pemberton (former IWCA President) and the awesome (sorry to use such an 80's term) Bill Macauley, to field questions from the audience. In the audience were many current luminaries in our field most notably Muriel Harris, Roberta Kjesrud, Harry Denny, Nathalie Singh-Cochran, (all please forgive my mis-spellings) who grilled us about what IWCA does for its members. As Michele, and Michael, and Bill indicated IWCA offers a way of connecting and becoming a part of a community AND to share in the development of that community. I also pointed out that IWCA provides members with those networking opportunities, but also a hearty website full of userful information, support for the Writing Center Journal, research grants, scholarship awards, support for our conference and for the Summer Institute, as well as our continuing connection with the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW).
Today I spent my time talking about how we can make the Association better responsive to the needs of our constituents and how we can have better mechanisms (for want of a better word) to maintain our mission. I have a lot of ideas, but what ideas do you have? Where are we at as an organization? What should we be doing?
I look forward to your response (I really do).
Live from Chicago, Illinois, United States of America,