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Showing posts from February, 2009

Don't Let the Love Die!

Here at the ol' BSU WC, times are a gonna change. The director and a few of the key grad students are heading off for new programs elsewhere at the end of this semester. As I think back over my time spent in the WC, and the people I have met there, I have come to realize that I am blessed to be a part of something both special to me, and special at our school. At the WC, I can drop by just to relax, join in on amazing and sometimes rediculous conversations, and get more than a few willing comments on anything I may be working on at the time. The people there are tryly caring, open, and professional in every way. And, as Big E mentioned, there is a lot of love between the consultants. But what is really cool is how this spirit extends to the writers that come in to the center. I have had more than a few writers comment on how much they enjoy thier visits, and not just because of the help they get. Our WC is a haven, and they can feel it. When I found out that we will be missing so…

"Biggest Loser"

Some of the ideas mentioned in recent posts, particularly the winter blues and WC cliques/communities, have gotten me to thinking, and now I want to share a new development in our WC with everyone here.

This semester, our campus Fitness Center decided to hold a "Biggest Loser" weight-loss program. I haven't seen it, but I guess it is modeled after a tv show of the same name. Anyways, we sign up in teams and spend the next three months trying to lose weight, to become the "Biggest Loser." So, in the spirit of WC community, I asked if tutors would want to form a team, and what do you know - seven of us are now signed up! (We're a small WC, so seven is about half our staff.) Our WC slogan is "Engaged on Paper, Engaged in Life," so this weight-loss program is a natural fit. Plus, it has tutors now going to the gym together, some for the first time. Although there are always problematics to weight-loss programs, it has been a pretty positive exp…

Red Pens

It was a typical Tuesday afternoon... or so I thought.
3 appointments in a row, coffee in my cup, and smiley faces on all the consultants.

Then it happened...
A young enthusiastic man entered the room. My 11 o'clock.
He had not been in before--so I gave him the paper work and we got started.
I asked him what he wanted to focus on and he replied,
"just grammar and punctuation. You can use my red pen and circle whatever you find."

A red pen?! Red pens scare me! What if I circle the wrong thing? What if I make him cry?
I am not qualified to use a red pen. Pencil maybe--but not the deadly red ink.

Plus, it goes against what the BSU Writing Center is all about.
This is supposed to be collaborative work! I replied,
"Haha... we work with you to help fix things. Let's read through some stuff you have questions on and I can see if I can come up with an answer!"
He was confused. "I thought you would be mean and mark my paper all up!" he said, looking at me.
"Nope.…

Work/work load.

Hi, this is Katherine over at Boise State. I'm having the semester that will define my college career: six classes, a fellynship, an internship, and my beloved WC work.

I'm curious about how other people feel about their WC work when they are busy with other commitments. Does it feel like a burden, like "work" you "have" to do, or is it a welcome break from other kinds of school activities? Nine times out of ten, I find it my escape from the pounding "input" from other classes - I feel like a a clean page just walking in the door. I even like to go and hang out there - it feels so peaceful. I find myself puttering about at the busywork of washing coffee cups and such, clearing my mind and readying myself for the rest of my classes. When I'm there, I feel like I'm re-centering (ha) myself, becoming quieter, kinder, slowing down, getting organized. I smiled at E's post earlier about the abundance of "love" in our Center;…

trickling in...

Hello All,

We've had little bit of the Winter blues at our Writing Center so far. We've had some no-shows, canceled appointments at the last moment, and a few open slots. We are starting to get a little busier though, and I suspect business will continue to pick up because 101 and 102 students are beginning work on their portfolio assignments. I look forward to these because I find that the vast majority of 101 and 102 professors are creative in their attempts to engage newer students in writing. Many students seem to gain even more confidence in their writing after coming in to work with us. Do other consultants/tutors enjoy this? Do other schools work with a lot of 101/102 (or the equivalent to) in their centers? Are their portfolio assignments creative? How responsive are they?
All the best,
Phillip Bode, Boise State Writing Center.

too much love?

So with Valentine's Day right around the corner, love is in the air. Especially in our Writing Center air. At our school, the Writing Center consultants could be mistaken for some of REM's Shiny Happy People (holding hands). I feel really lucky to be working in this environment. Consultants regularly come to the Center to do homework or hang out when they aren't scheduled to consult. We are one another's special Valentines...

It's a lot of fun, but I wonder...how might this appear to writers? If students are apprehensive to come to the Writing Center, could our (perhaps seemingly exclusive) camaraderie make these students even more apprehensive to stop in? How can we balance our shiny happy friendships and our writer-centered philosophies?

A Quarter-Century of the "Idea"

It's been pretty quiet around here this semester! Is everyone else as buried under snow as we are here in Ohio?

Anyways, it's my last semester as an undergrad (yaay!), so I'll be leaving my writing center at the end of this semester. A number of other tutors are leaving this semester or next, which means we'll have a definite change in leadership. And with that, a change in the attitude and focus of our center as well. Graduation has me thinking a lot about transition, and metamorphosis, and how this is going to apply to our center.

I say in this to build-up to what this post is really about: Stephen North's (in)famous essay "The Idea of a Writing Center." You may have heard of it; it's kind of a big deal. It was published in 1984, the same year I was born, so we've both turned 25 this year. Twenty-five years of one big idea. It's been revisited, contested, looked at through a post-colonial lens, collaborated and controlled. But wha…