A Delicate Balance: Employing Feminist Process Goals in Writing Center Consulting

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2003

Authors

Seeley, Gabrielle

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When I began training to work in the Writing Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), I perceived it to be an inherently feminist learning space. The very wording of the center’s mission statement seemed to assert its intention to nurture writers in a feminist way: the center operates “in support of writers,” it “brings writers together with readers,” and it strives to infuse those writers “with confidence and authority” (Odell 1). This mission statement subtly addresses a power imbalance which exists in the university between members (professors) and non-members (undergraduate students). The statement implies that student writers operating within the university often lack confidence and authority and, by extension, that the Writing Center seeks to empower those writers. The statement further addresses the issue of power in the way it names the persons who work in the center, calling them “readers.” This careful wording reflects an attempt to equalize the clients and the employees of the Writing Center; a reader has no more power than a writer. By avoiding loaded names that imply hierarchy– coach, tutor, mentor–the mission statement communicates this sense of equality to clients and employees alike.

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