The History of US Writing Centers and the Emergence of Writing Centers in Latin America: An Interview with Neal Lerner
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Especially in the last five years, writing centers have begun to emerge in Latin America. They resemble the sense and philosophy of writing centers in the United States but with an identity that is still developing. As part of the summer course “Writing Center History, Theory, Research, and Administration,” led by Dr. Rebecca Babcock at the University of Texas of Permian Basin, I interviewed Professor Neal Lerner, one of the leading scholars of writing center theory, history, and administration. My aim in conducting this interview was to consult Prof. Lerner’s expertise to try and understand the development of this field in the United States and compare it with recent trends in Latin America. Dr. Lerner is associate professor at Northeastern University, where he is the director of the Writing Program. He has won the International Writing Centers Association Outstanding Scholarship Award five times. Two of his books have also won awards. The Idea of a Writing Laboratory won the NCTE David Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English in 2011. Also, along with his coauthors Mya Poe and Jennifer Craig, he won the CCCC Advancement of Knowledge Award in 2012 with the book Learning to Communicate as a Scientist and Engineer: Case Studies from MIT. He is co-author with Paula Gillespie of The Longman Guide to Peer Tutoring, a recognized book for training writing tutors. He was editor of Writing Center Journal from 2002 to 2008 with Beth Boquet. Currently he is working with Michele Eodice and Anne Ellen Geller in a cross-institutional study of undergraduates’ most meaningful writing projects (http://meaningfulwritingproject.net). This interview took place via Skype on June of 2016 and was recorded for transcription. It has been edited for clarity and readability.