"Not Alone in the Process": Designing Equitable Support for First-Year Writers in the Writing Center
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Collaboration across college and university programs is key to expanding educational access and equity. One such collaboration can occur between first-year writing programs and writing centers. Specifically, a pilot program in a small liberal arts college shows how writing centers can adapt directed self-placement, increasingly used in first-year writing program administration, to identify students who could most benefit from our distinctive pedagogy and enroll them in weekly writing center sessions during the first year. Interviews and written reflections reveal common points of learning across these weekly sessions, including increased understanding of college writing standards, a matured writing process, and greater control over one’s academic success. This study corroborates Nancy Grimm’s recent argument that writing centers ought to aim for interdependence rather than independence if we are truly to promote equity. By adapting directed selfplacement and expanding curricular offerings, writing centers can more deliberately support students to pass their writing-intensive classes and to progress toward graduation.