Drafting a Writing Center: Defining Ourselves Through Outcomes and Assessment




Geist, Joshua
Geist, Megan Baptista

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Writing centers—and perhaps especially writing centers at two-year colleges—are not interchangeable. While we, as writing center professionals, may share philosophies and goals, our writing centers often differ wildly in structure, practice, available services, institutional relationships, and other factors. Those of us organizing these centers have different titles, qualifications, positions, and levels of security. What we have in common—what we have always had in common—is a commitment to supporting student writers, and the perpetual labor of establishing and articulating our space within our various institutions. As Outcomes Assessment has become increasingly important to accrediting bodies, and thus to institutions and administrations, the assessment process has become part of the complex negotiations of position for many writing centers. At College of the Sequoias, we felt invested in assessment as a valuable tool. But when, in 2016, we were designated as a separate unit in our Institutional Program Review process, we discovered that reexamining our assessment practices offered an unexpected opportunity to more clearly define our writing center and declare its purpose—not only to the institution, but to ourselves.

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