Claiming an Education: Using Archival Research to Build a Community of Practice
This article explores how archival research can be used in staff education courses to work toward what Ann Ellen Geller et al. call a “community of practice”: a writing center culture that emphasizes constant, continual, and recursive thinking and learning among directors and consultants. Offering voices of tutors and directors captured in a three-year study of an archival project, the authors maintain that this kind of research offers several gifts, as it cultivates flexible conferencing practices, dismantles hierarchies, and establishes a cross-generational community. To help writing center directors and assistants incorporate such research into their own center, this article concludes with assignment instructions, tips for archival research, and suggestions for building a writing center archive.