Framing Versatility as a Positive: Building Institutional Validity at The University of Colorado at Boulder's Writing Center
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One of a writing center’s greatest institutional strengths is its versatility. A common misconception is that all writing centers are alike–indeed, many clients may not notice differences from one kind of organizational structure to another. Admittedly, regardless of a writing center’s actual structure, it always holds to the ideal of providing support for what Muriel Harris calls “collaboration in learning about writing” (370). Yet variations in writing centers do exist, and often for complex reasons including funding, resources, prospective personnel, and the needs of the larger educational institution or community. Writing centers can be differentiated by the kind of people they employ: either what we call an expert/novice model or a peer-tutoring model, and sometimes a combination of the two. Thus, writing centers are spaces that can be tailored to the needs of the larger institution, and this versatility is one of the writing center’s strengths in finding broad applications and implementation across a variety of locales.