Changing Attitudes: Writing Center Workshops in the Classroom




Ryan, Holly

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In a recent WPA-L discussion thread initiated by a “newbie writing center director,” Christopher Ervin offers the following suggestion: “I guess my best advice, if you want to grow your writing center, is to develop relationships with various potential stakeholders across campus. Doing so would help you do a lot that you might find more difficult if you don't branch out.” Ervin’s advice is practical and valuable for a writing center director, but it is also a daunting task for new faculty members. Trying to understand the historical, political, social, and economic landscapes of a new university is difficult enough, but add to that the administrative work and relationshipbuilding necessary to effectively run or develop a writing center, and new directors can feel like they have an insurmountable challenge ahead of them. However, with a combination of inquiry-driven conversations and effective demonstrations of writing center practices, a writing center director can forge relationships with faculty across campus that lead to productive and engaged conversations about writing. In doing so, writing center directors are positioned to move their centers beyond the image of the “fix-it” shop and into a cultivator of intellectual engagement on campus. Using my interactions with a business faculty member, I hope to offer other writing center administrators and practitioners a trajectory to follow as they begin to create their own networks on campus.

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