The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Madison Area Writing Center Colloquium
Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center

Overview


Faces of the Colloquium

What is the Madison Area Writing Center Colloquium?

  • A monthly discussion group about writing center research, theory, practice, and leadership.

What are its goals?

  • To create a supportive scholarly community of writing center tutors and professionals across schools and colleges in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
  • To prepare graduate students from UW-Madison and other universities in this region to be innovative writing center directors in their faculty careers.
  • To introduce undergraduate tutors to the field of composition and rhetoric and to the writing center profession.

Who participates?

  • Faculty, staff, and students from Madison Area Technical College, UW-Milwaukee, Edgewood College, High Schools in Madison and the surrounding area, Marquette University, UW-Madison, Northern Illinois University, Carroll University, UW-Waukesha, UW-Platteville, and others

Suggestions? Questions?


If you'd like to suggest a topic for the colloquium or if you have questions about the colloquium, please contact the colloquium coordinator, Brad Hughes, Director of the Writing Center and Director of Writing Across the Curriculum at UW-Madison (bthughes@wisc.edu).

 

Events for Fall 2014


If you're planning to attend one of these events or if you have questions about the colloquium, please write to the coordinator of the colloquium, Brad Hughes, Director of the Writing Center and Director of Writing Across the Curriculum at UW-Madison (Brad Hughes).

How Writing Centers Can (and Should) Use Threshold Concepts from Writing Studies

Rebecca Nowacek
Associate Professor of English
Director of the Ott Memorial Writing Center
Marquette University

Bradley Hughes
Director, The Writing Center
Director, Writing Across the Curriculum
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Monday, September 22, 2014, 5:30–7:00 PM
The Writing Center Commons
6171 Helen C. White Hall
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

In this informal colloquium presentation, we will share part of a chapter that we've written for a new book that aims to identify core knowledge underlying the discipline of writing studies. That book, edited by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, is titled Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies (under contract with Utah State University Press, for publication in 2015). Drawn from educational theorists Meyer and Land, the idea of "threshold concepts" is simple but powerful: in every discipline there are core concepts that learners new to a discipline must learn. These integrative concepts are often counter-intuitive to new learners. Ultimately, though, the threshold concepts of a discipline become transformative and irreversible: once learners understand these core concepts, they pass through a threshold into a new understanding, which allows them to participate in that discipline and supports their further learning. Through crowdsourcing with scholars in writing studies, Adler-Kassner and Wardle identified and built this book around five threshold concepts of writing.

Rebecca and Brad will introduce the threshold concepts of writing and then explore their implications for tutor education (considering, for instance, whether some threshold concepts are more essential than others in the early stages of tutor education). We will also explain how the threshold concepts of writing are invaluable in helping tutors prepare for interactions with faculty as part of writing center outreach across the curriculum. We will conclude by introducing a threshold concept particular to writing centers—that of the "expert outsider," the idea that new tutors must learn in order to cross disciplines successfully in their tutoring and faculty outreach. And we will have plenty of time for discussion about threshold concepts and how they apply to writing center theory and practice.

Events for Spring 2014


If you're planning to attend one of these events or if you have questions about the colloquium, please write to the coordinator of the colloquium, Brad Hughes, Director of the Writing Center and Director of Writing Across the Curriculum at UW-Madison (Brad Hughes).

Alone at a Party, Shouting Your Opinions: Toward a More Effective Institutional Use of Twitter

Mike Shapiro
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center

Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 5:30-7:00 PM
Room 6176 in the Writing Center
Helen C. White Hall
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

Twitter's discursive, text-oriented approach to social interaction, an approach that is beginning to be deeply integrated in academic life, sounds like the perfect match for writing centers! Why, then, do so many writing centers (including ours at the University of Wisconsin–Madison) struggle to move beyond a vision of Twitter as the digital analogue of a poster or vacancy sign?

This colloquium embraces Twitter's social interactivity for a workshop-style discussion that...

  • Identifies rhetorical, paratextual, technological, and strategic baselines for effective Twitter use: What does a good tweet look like? How can your Twitter profile present a friendly face to the world? What apps make Twitter manageable? How often should you tweet, and when?
  • Analyzes the strategies and rhetoric of writing centers, other academic units, and non-academic institutions that use Twitter to build real relationships.
  • Brainstorms the characteristics of the social voice that will communicate your writing center's values to students, faculty, administrators, and other important readers.
  • Drafts and workshops sample tweets!
  • Examines strategic decisions that can make the most out of every hour you spend online, and allow you to sustain a social media presence over the long term
  • Continues conversations from earlier colloquia, linking Twitter to the alternative narratives of writing center work that Jackie Grutsch McKinney argued for in October and to the idea of Total Economic Valuation that Nicole Munday introduced in January.

How Do Your Tutors Grow? Using Tutors' Post-Session Surveys to Qualitatively Assess Tutor Learning

Crystal Mueller
Director of the Writing Center and Senior Lecturer in the Department of English
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 5:30-7:00 PM
Room 6176 in the Writing Center
Helen C. White Hall
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

My experiences as an undergraduate and graduate writing tutor were among my most personally and professionally valuable. For this reason, I've always been interested not only in what writers gain when they visit the writing center but also in what student-tutors gain over time. Most studies of tutor learning—such as Brad Hughes, Paula Gillespie, and Harvey Kail’s work with the Peer Writing Alumni Research Project and Sue Dinitz and Jean Kiedaisch’s look at “Tutoring Writing as Career Development”—utilize data from longitudinal surveys and interviews with former writing tutors. In the wake of this work, I grew curious about when the kinds of gains these longitudinal studies report might be detected. I began to collect survey data following each tutoring session, asking tutors simply to report what they learned or what was reinforced to them during their session. I’ll share my own research journey as my project continues to unfold, including my experiences at the 2013 Dartmouth Summer Seminar for Composition Research, as I narrowed my research focus, coded data, and began my analysis. In its current stages, I hope my research will contribute to greater understanding of differences in the learning of veteran and newbie student-tutors and how we might use that knowledge to best train tutors and guide them in formally and informally mentoring one another.

Total Economic Valuation: A Conceptual Framework for Writing Center Administrators

A Video Conference

Nicole Munday
Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center
Salisbury University, MD

Monday, January 27, 2014, 5:30-7:00 PM
Room 6176 in the Writing Center
Helen C. White Hall
University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

Writing center administrators have written extensively about the struggle to secure funding and space, yet these discussions rarely transcend the realm of pragmatism to move toward theorized debate.To address this gap, writing center scholars—embedded in a field that is inherently interdisciplinary—might look to economics as a fertile area of inquiry. This colloquium will introduce Total Economic Valuation as a conceptual framework that writing center administrators can draw upon when articulating a writing center’s institutional value and its budgetary needs.


Events for Fall 2013


Enfolded: How to Play Nice and Share (While Fighting for What's Worth It) in a Multidisciplinary Space

Sarah Johnson
Writing Center Director and English Faculty
Madison (Area Technical) College

Monday, November 18, 2013, 5:30-7:00 PM
The Writing Center
Second Floor of the Gateway in the Main Building
Madison (Area Technical) College
1701 Wright Street (near the Madison airport)
Madison

**If you are planning to come, please be sure to let Brad know (bthughes@wisc.edu), so that our Madison College colleagues can have enough treats for us and so that Brad can send you secret (and important) parking information.

When writing centers are folded into larger academic support service spaces, it's up to us as directors and staff to make sure this "enfolding" is a nurturing hug rather than a suffocating squeeze. This fall, the Madison College Writing Center moved from a stand-alone space to its new home in the Student Achievement Center, a custom- designed space for multidisciplinary academic support. The new Gateway building is beautiful and worth a visit in any case, but after a tour, we'll discuss how the Writing Center survived the design process and move and is now working with its new neighbors to thrive and grow in its new home.

A Video Conference with the Author of Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers (2013)

Jackie Grutsch McKinney
Associate Professor of English
Ball State University

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 5:30-7:00 PM
Room 6176 Helen C. White Hall
The Writing Center
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

Events for Spring 2013

Transformational Writing Centers

Joan A. Mullin
Professor of Rhetoric and Composition
Department of English
Illinois State University

Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 5:30-7:30 PM
Room 6191 in the Writing Center
Helen C. White Hall
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

Writing centers have always seemed on the edge of educational change: initiating student-centered learning; meeting the writer at the point of need; using writing center knowledge for teacher development; finding early on that one-sized writing instruction doesn’t fit all disciplines and contexts; discovering that non-native speakers challenge non-directive approaches; understanding that new knowledge is built on what the learner knows. Within writing centers at school, college and university levels, this knowledge was hammered and shaped into practices that first often served writing centers only, gradually crept into the larger institution, and for some, moved across the globe to affect teaching and learning practices. As a result of moving the writing center out, however, it has had to open itself to new ways of thinking about “writing” and “center.”

During this session, we’ll look at our own foundations and consider how the grounds on which we have built our practices, have shifted. This generation of writers—multilingual, interdisciplinary, technological—presents a different series of challenges to us than those upon which our known writing center practices were originally built. Whether a multilingual, interdisciplinary, technological profile describes your writing center or not, it is the world within which our students will communicate: how might our writing centers work with and prepare students who need to be flexible, creative writers—and what will “writing” look like for them? These questions will be addressed by looking at

What we have done What lies ahead
One to one tutoring/writing Collaborative learning/writing
Writing development/knowledge building Writing, cognitive, affective networks of knowing
Tutoring as professional development Research on tutoring writing as professional development
Writing across the curriculum Genre as Cultural Historical Activity Theory (not template )
Specialist tutoring for ESL Multi/lingual/modal
Writing center Community literacy

While our past efforts have paid off in multiple ways, they also present new challenges: some of our practices provide weak support for new structures of working, knowing and communicating. These same challenges face all educational institutions, but again, writing centers can lead the way forward because we often can be entrepreneurial and flexible the way larger organizational structures can’t—especially educational ones!

After looking at our practices (left column above) and how these have shifted (right column), and clarifying understandings with questions, we’ll brainstorm how these shifts might challenge or energize our individual contexts. We may end up with more questions but also with strategies to transform all our centers, and the contexts in which they sit.

What's New? What's Cool? Experimenting with Programs in the Writing Center

Margaret Mika
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Stephanie White
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Elisabeth Miller
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Brad Hughes
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 5:30-7:30 PM
Room 6176 in the Writing Center
Helen C. White Hall
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

Writing centers are in a unique position to experiment with methods of instruction and to navigate quick turns, making new contributions to their campuses. This ability to experiment with instructional programs and services is an essential, but easily overlooked, dimension of our work, and it’s complicated by the finite resources we must draw from. By featuring examples from two Wisconsin writing centers, this colloquium will explore the successes and challenges of developing new, cool programming and services, including senior-thesis writing groups and basic writing program partnerships.

We hope you’ll join us as we consider further possibilities for thinking beyond one-with-one instruction while weighing the educational, financial, political, and practical dimensions of experimenting with new writing center programs!

An International Perspective on Writing Centers and WAC: From a Consulting Project with Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan

Virginia Martin
Coordinator, UW-NU Project
International Studies, UW-Madison

Sandra Arfa
Director, ESL Programs, UW-Madison

Brad Hughes
Director, The Writing Center
Director, Writing Across the Curriculum, UW-Madison

Monday, February 11, 2013, 5:30-7:30 PM
Room 6191 Helen C. White Hall
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street, Madison

Drawing on their experience consulting with Nazarbayev University (NU) in Astana, Kazakhstan, the speakers will talk about the culture of higher education in Kazakhstan, about the growth of English-medium universities around the world, about the complex tri-lingual learning environment at NU, and about plans and possibilities for creating a center for language excellence at NU.

If you're interested in learning about a fascinating country in Central Asia, about English-medium universities in other countries, and about writing centers and WAC in international contexts, we hope you'll join us for this colloquium!

Feminist Co-Mentoring: A Model for Writing Conferences and for Collaborative Research in Writing Centers (2013)

Beth Godbee
Assistant Professor of English
Marquette University
UW-Madison alum

Julia Novotny
Undergraduate Researcher
Marquette University

Thursday, January 24, 2013, 5:30-7:00 PM
Room 6191 Helen C. White Hall
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

For the past year, we have collaborated on a project identifying how graduate student women mentor each other around research and writing, or the central work of graduate education. Through close analysis of videotaped writing conferences, we find that collaborative writing talk can be characterized as "feminist co-mentoring," or mentoring that is relational, reciprocal, and mutually empowering. Feminist co-mentoring centers the reciprocal and critical stance of power with. As such, the sharing of knowledge, access, and resources is horizontal even in cross-status, cross-gender, or cross-racial relationships.

For the Madison Area Writing Center Colloquium, we'll show feminist co-mentoring in action through the analysis of a case study and the screening of videotaped interaction. Together, we'll discuss the model of feminist co-mentoring for explaining the value of writing center work, and we'll also describe our research collaboration as another case of feminist co-mentoring—a case that highlights the role of undergraduate research in writing centers.

If you're interested in new approaches to understanding the power of writing center talk, if you're interested in research methods for analyzing one-with-one conferences, or if you're interested in undergraduate writing center research, we hope you'll join us for this colloquium!


Events for Fall 2012

A Videoconference with the Authors of Researching the Writing Center: Towards an Evidence-Based Practice (2012)

Rebecca Day Babcock
Assistant Professor of English
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Terese Thonus
Director of the Writing Center
The University of Kansas

Monday, November 12, 2012, 5:30-7:30 PM
Room 6191 Helen C. White Hall
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

During this colloquium, the authors will make informal presentations about their new book, we'll discuss one chapter of it in detail, and we'll have an open discussion about writing center research methods and topics.





The Theory and Practice of Online Tutoring: Three Perspectives

Tony Bushner and Crystal Mueller
The Writing Center
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Rodney Flink
The Writing Center
Madison College

Mike Shapiro
Coordinator of the Online Writing Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 5:30-7:30 PM
Room 6191 Helen C. White Hall
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

During this colloquium, we'll hear three presentations and then have an open discussion about the theory and the practice of online tutoring.





Unplanned, Unscripted: Mentoring in the Writing Center

Angela Woodward
Director of the Writing Center
Edgewood College, Madison

Rebecca Nowacek
Director, Ott Memorial Writing Center
Marquette University, Milwaukee

Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 5:30-7:30 PM
Room 6176 Helen C. White Hall
The Writing Center
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

During this colloquium, we'll discuss one of the most important parts of tutor education--the mentoring of tutors that occurs outside of formal tutor-education courses or meetings, the mentoring that goes on every day in informal conversations between tutors and directors and among tutors. How can directors help facilitate the ongoing professional and personal growth of all the members of a writing center's staff? During our two hours, we'll explore both formal, planned approaches to mentoring and the informal mentoring that happens outside and between official professional development programs.





Events for Summer 2012


Writing Center Leadership: What Can We Learn from Experienced Writing Center Directors?

Dr. Katrin Girgensohn, Director of the Writing Center at European University Viadrana, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany
Visiting Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Writing Center, 2011-12

Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 3:00 to 5:00 PM
Room 6176 Helen C. White Hall
The Writing Center
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

In this colloquium, I will share insights from my ongoing study of writing center leadership with the aim to learn from experienced writing center directors how they contribute to the success of their centers. During 2011-2012, I conducted 14 in-depth expert interviews with experienced writing center directors at large and small colleges and universities around the United States. Participant observations in most of these writing centers also helped me to gain a deeper understanding for the context. I transcribed the interviews and coded them combining a Grounded Theory approach (Strauss & Corbin 1996) with expert interview analysis (Meuser & Nagel 2009). To handle the extensive data that results from these methods, I have used software for qualitative data analysis (MaxQDA). This analysis will allow me, during the colloquium, to offer some initial answers to these questions: "What contributes to the success of writing centers? What is needed to implement writing centers sustainably at a college or university? How can leaders handle the typical challenges writing centers face, like budget problems, marginalization, misconceptions, etc.?”

After sharing these first concepts, we will break into small groups to discuss the concepts based on snippets of transcribed interviews. Because my project is a work in progress, the ideas and impressions of all participants will be very valuable for me.



Events for Spring Semester 2012


Preserve, Remodel, Rebuild? Determining the Course of an Inherited Writing Center


Crystal Mueller
Director of the Writing Center
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh


Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 5:30-7:00 PM
Room 6176 Helen C. White Hall
The Writing Center
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

A new writing center director commonly inherits an already existing center. The discrete histories of director and center require each to adapt. The inherited center operates within a specific institutional, administrative, and political context. It bears an institutional reputation. It carries its own policies and traditions that can be altered but that are, nonetheless, established. It has an established location and staff. The writing center director, too, has a personal history of writing center experiences and preparation for teaching, research, and service. The director quickly and carefully must decide when to follow in step with the inherited path and when to break the mold.

Listen to Crystal Mueller's experience preserving, remodeling, and rebuilding at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Writing Center, where she became director in 2007. Crystal will describe how the Center has managed a nearly threefold increase in sessions, a potentially rocky move to a beautiful new campus location, pilots of new online tutoring and Writing Fellows programs, enhanced training and outreach to targeted student populations, etc. These triumphs and challenges have occurred amid staff turnover, institutional retention efforts, budgetary uncertainty, and general education reform. Bring your questions and compare notes as Crystal describes her continuing work to grow a writing center with greater institutional relevance.

In preparation for this colloquium, please read Carl Glover, "Kairos and the Writing Center" (The Writing Center Director's Resource Book, 2006).

->If you would like a pdf copy of Glover's article, just let Brad Hughes (bthughes@wisc.edu) know—>he will be glad to send one to you. Click this link to email Brad Hughes: Brad Hughes


Collaborative Learning in Action: Peer Tutor Learning and Peer Tutor Alumni


Paula Gillespie, Florida International University
Harvey Kail, University of Maine
Margaret Mika, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Brad Hughes, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Monday, February 20, 2012, 5:30-7:00 PM
Room 6176 Helen C. White Hall
The Writing Center
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

The panelists will explain how they became interested in conducting research on tutor learning (what student tutors take from their education and experience as peer writing tutors), and they'll share some of their research methods and findings. We'll then ask participants in the colloquium to brainstorm questions to guide their own future research on tutor learning. (Harvey Kail and Paula Gillespie will join us by videoconference.)

In preparation for this colloquium, we suggest that you watch some (or all) of a video on tutor learning titled "The Tutors," which is available on the Writing Center's website at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee:

www4.uwm.edu/writingcenter/

Scroll down to the video near the bottom of the home page.

We also invite you to read some (or all) of these articles—

Bruffee, Kenneth. "The Brooklyn Plan: Attaining Intellectual Growth Through Peer-Group Tutoring." Liberal Education 64 (1978): 447-68. Print.

Hughes, Bradley, Paula Gillespie, and Harvey Kail. "What They Take with Them: Findings from the Peer Writing Tutor Alumni Research Project." The Writing Center Journal 30.2 (2010): 12-46.

—> —> If you would like pdf copies of these articles, just let me know—I would be glad to send them to you.

If you have time, you might also want to take a look at the Peer Writing Tutor Alumni Research Project, which is available online— writing.wisc.edu/pwtarp/

Approaches to Writing Center Assessment


Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 5:30-7:00 PM
Room 6176 Helen C. White Hall
The Writing Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

We'll start this colloquium by discussing a strong model of writing center assessment, recently published by colleagues from Pomona College—Dara Rossman Regaignon and Pamela Bromley, "What Difference Do Writing Fellows Programs Make?" (WAC Journal, 22 [2011]: 41-63). I'd recommend you also read Neal Lerner's "Writing Center Assessment" in The Center Will Hold (2003). In addition to discussing the Regaignon and Bromley article, we'll have time during the colloquium to share current assessment projects from our own writing centers and brainstorm new ideas for future assessments.

The Regaignon and Bromley article is available online (go to the WAC Journal's website and then scroll down to find the table of contents and links to the articles in the current issue. If you'd like a pdf of Lerner's chapter, just let me know—I'd be very glad to send one to you.

Please join us for this colloquium! It would be great to have you there. If you haven't been to a Madison Area Writing Center Colloquium before—we especially want *you* to join us! The group is friendly and informal, and the discussions are easy to join. These informal meetings can be a great way to learn more about writing center and WAC theory, research, practice, and leadership and a great way to explore and prepare for writing center and WAC work as part of your career and to make wonderful connections across schools, colleges, and universities. And for those of you who are undergraduate writing fellows or tutors, the colloquium offers a friendly way to learn more about and think about possible graduate study in composition and rhetoric and about doing additional writing center and WAC work in your future.

—> —> If you're planning to attend, would you tap Brad a quick email (bthughes@wisc.edu) so we can be sure to have enough brownies?

Please Save These Future Colloquium Dates:


Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 5:30-7:00 PM, at the UW-Madison Writing Center—the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, with Crystal Mueller

June 2012, date TBA, at the UW-Madison Writing Center—preliminary findings from research on US writing centers, with Katrin Girgensohn, European University Viadrina

Events for Fall Semester 2011


A Discussion of Writing Center Collaborations with Faculty Across the Disciplines


Focusing on selected sections of _Academic Writing Consulting and WAC_ by Jeff Jablonski, Chapters 3, 4, and 5.

Thursday, September 29, 2011, 5:30-7:00 PM
Room 6176 Helen C. White Hall
The Writing Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

The readings from Jablonski include narratives from his case-study research with writing centers and his theoretical model of what he calls "cross-curricular literacy consulting." These are important topics for current and future writing center and WAC directors.

The Midwest Writing Centers Association Conference in Madison


October 20-22, 2011
writing.wisc.edu/mwca2011

How Contexts Shape Writing Center Work—Insights into Writing Instruction and a Writing Center in Germany


Katrin Girgensohn, Director of the Writing Center and Faculty Member at European University Viadrana, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany
Visiting Research Scholar, The Writing Center, Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011-12

Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 5:30 to 7:00 PM
Room 6176 Helen C. White Hall
The Writing Center
The University of Wisconsin-Madison

In this colloquium, I will discuss contemporary writing instruction in Germany within the larger context of German higher education. This context is currently shaped by the so-called “Bologna Process,” an ongoing political negotiation process that has set in motion the restructuring of almost all aspects of higher education in Europe. Partly influenced by the “Bologna Process,” but even more built on the enthusiasm that individual faculty in Germany have for ideas of collaborative learning in writing brought from the USA, writing centers are still a relatively new phenomenon in Europe. Nevertheless, the developments in recent years are exciting. For example, at European University Viadrina in Germany the writing center opened in 2007 and quickly grew to become a vital place with a wide variety of programs. It started out of autonomous, creative writing groups for students. Sharing some findings of my PhD thesis, I will show how valuable the experience of teacherless writing groups among peers is for German students who do not have composition classes or any other explicit writing support. During the colloquium, we will have the chance to discuss the differences, advantages and disadvantages of our contexts for literacy work at colleges and universities: what can we learn from each other? What is transferable across cultures? And how can we build sustainable international collaborations among writing centers?

Events for Spring Semester 2011


Paths to a New Writing Center: Proposing, Politicking, Planning and Persevering


Margaret Mika, Director, Writing Center, UW-Milwaukee
Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 6:00-7:30 PM
The Writing Center
Curtin Hall 127
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
3243 N.Downer Ave. (1/2 block south of Kenwood Blvd.)
(414) 229-4339
www.writingcenter.uwm.edu
Visitor Map: http://www4.uwm.edu/map/map_color.pdf
Street parking (metered and unmetered) available in front of Curtin Hall and surrounding blocks (especially eastward toward Lake Michigan) although tickets are freely given. Paid parking available under the Union, entrance on Kenwood Avenue.

Gaining approval for a new Writing Center is a time-consuming, politically complex, sometimes frustrating and almost miraculous event, especially in difficult budgetary times. The nearly 10-yr process at UWM required finding answers to a myriad of tough questions including these:

  • Whose vision of the writing center matters most?
  • In what ways can decision-makers be educated and persuaded?
  • What are the rhetorical challenges?
  • Who are campus allies...or not?
  • Who controls and competes for space?
  • Do you compromise--about what, when and how?
  • What types of reports are most helpful and who should get them?
  • What about outreach and advertising, before and after?
  • What role do tutors play?
  • How much does it really cost to design and build a new center (and a grand opening)?
  • What are key design considerations?
  • Who selects, purchases, builds, moves, paints, installs and cleans, on campus?>

Receiving the go-ahead was reason to celebrate and then immediately leap into a giant new work cycle. However, the road blocks and false starts along the long path ultimately proved to be helpful stepping stones, revealing the lay of the land and allowing the director to make more thoughtful 'last minute' decisions when the green light finally came.

Please join us at UWM's new Writing Center for a tour, conversation and pizza. Its director Margaret Mika will share the nitty gritty of her Center's evolution and successful expansion, and participants are encouraged to share their experiences and expertise.

Shifting the Boundaries: Importing and Exporting Writing Center Practices Between the University and the Community


Annie Massa-MacLeod, David Hudson, Elisabeth Miller, Anne Wheeler, Rachel Carrales, and Melissa Tedrowe, UW-Madison

Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 5:30-7:00 PM
Room 6176 Helen C. White Hall
The Writing Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

In 1997, the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison initiated a community writing assistance (CWA) program that provides free writing, vocational, and computer assistance to members of the greater Madison community. Taking UW-Madison's CWA program as an example, this colloquium will address some unique challenges that can arise when university/college writing center practices are adapted to meet local writers' needs. Our discussion will focus on work with (a) community partners, (b) writers on writing, and (c) writers beyond writing. Ultimately, we hope to interrogate the ways in which writing center best practices are--and are not--exportable to work with the community.

A Discussion of The Idea of a Writing Laboratory


Videoconference Discussion with Neal Lerner, MIT.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 5:30 to 7:00 PM
The Writing Center
6176 Helen C. White Hall
University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison

Events for Fall Semester 2010

Writing Assessment Through Film--An Experiment in Collegiality


Angela Woodward, Writing Center Director, Edgewood College
Jed Hopkins, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs in the School of Education, Edgewood College
Emily Keown, Doctoral Student in Education, Edgewood College

Thursday, September 23, 2010, 5:30 - 7:00 PM
Room 6176 Helen C. White Hall
600 North Park Street

In the midst of a grand overhaul of our general education curriculum, members of the writing curriculum subcommittee at Edgewood College in Madison were asked to “assess writing at the college.” We responded by filming interviews and focus groups with students and faculty and creating a series of short films. The films highlight the complexity and difficulty of writing and teaching writing, and offer no easy solutions. Our presentation features one or two of the finished films, and invites discussion of the meaning of writing assessment and the role of writing centers in faculty development and writing across the curriculum.

A Discussion of Facing the Center: Toward an Identity Politics of One-to-One Mentoring


Videoconference Discussion with Professor Harry Denny, St. John's University, New York
Monday, October 18, 2010, 5:30 - 7:00 PM
The Pyle Center, UW-Madison
702 Langdon Street

A Discussion of Karen Rowan's "All the Best Intentions: Graduate Student Administrative Professional Development in Practice"


Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 5:30 to 7:00 PM
Room 6176 in the Writing Center, Helen C. White Hall
UW-Madison
600 North Park Street

Events for Spring Semester 2010


How to Be a Writing Center Director' and Other Lessons I Learned Five Minutes after Grad School


A Videoconference with Professor Mary Lou Odom, Assistant Director of the Writing Center
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw, GA

Wednesday, February 17 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
The Pyle Center
702 Langdon Street

Cultivating Potentials for Social Change


Beth Godbee
Doctoral Student in Composition and Rhetoric and Assistant Director of Writing Across the Curriculum
English Department, UW-Madison

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 5:30 - 7:00 pm
6176 Helen C. White Hall
600 North Part Street

In this workshop, I introduce my dissertation research aimed at identifying and documenting empirically social change as a process, occurring in the moment, through talk about writing. Together, we’ll view and analyze video clips in which writers and tutors enact social change, and we’ll discuss what makes writing centers rich sites for this work. Through close analysis of interaction, we’ll also consider how to cultivate social change in our own teaching and tutor education.

Field Trip to the New Writing Center at Madison Area Technical College


Sarah Johnson and Colleagues Director, Writing Center Madison Area Technical College

Monday, April 26, 2010 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Madison Area Technical College, Truax Campus
3550 Anderson Street
Madison, WI


Selected Past Colloquia


Nancy Grimm, Michigan Tech Etienne Wenger and Writing Centers
Michele Eodice, University of Oklahoma A Videoconference Conversation with Michele Eodice
Emily Hall, UW-Madison Writing Fellows/Faculty Collaborations
Melissa Tedrowe, UW-Madison Writing Center Workshops and the Complexity of Form
Angela Woodward, Edgewood College The Writing Center/Learning Center Dilemma
Susan Nusser, Carroll University Library and Writing Center Collaborations
Harvey Kail, University of Maine "Innovation and Repetition:" The Brooklyn Plan and Writing Centers
Nancy Linh Karls, UW-Madison Case Study of a New Writing Center Director at the University of Colorado-Denver
Christine Cozzens, Agnes Scott College The Writing Center Way: How Writing Centers Can Influence Pedagogy and Administration
Sarah Johnson and Andrea Benton, Madison Area Technical College Starting a Writing Center at a Regional Campus
Paula Gillespie, Marquette University; Sarah Johnson, Madison Area Technical College; Melissa Tedrowe, UW-Madison "The Seamier Side of Things": A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Writing Center Administration
Emily Hall, UW-Madison Designing a Course for Undergraduate Peer Tutors
Sarah Johnson, Madison Area Technical College Challenges and Innovations of 30 Top Two-Year College Writing Centers
John Duffy, University of Notre Dame Notes on Starting a Writing Center
Ken Frazier, UW-Madison Unnatural Acts: Building New Collaborative Relationships in the Academy
Lisa Ede, Oregon State University; Paula Gillespie, Marquette University; Brad Hughes, UW-Madison It Doesn't Happen by Accident: Designing and Leading the 2008 IWCA Summer Institute
Nancy Linh Karls, Mike Shapiro, Brad Hughes, UW-Madison More Noise from the Writing Center: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Creating Our Writing Center Podcasts
Alice Robison, UW-Madison Designing Videogames for Training Writing Tutors
Neal Lerner, MIT The Secret Origins of Writing Centers
Christina Murphy, Marshall University Peer Tutoring and "Not Bowling Alone"
Andrea Benton and Annie Cook, UW-Madison Position in Process: Possibilities for Lead TAs, Graduate-Student Administrators, and Their Roles in University Writing Programs
Paula Gillespie, Marquette University A Field Trip to the New Marquette University Writing Center
Beth Godbee, UW-Madison Research Comparing Tutoring in Homes with Tutoring in Writing Centers
Jody Cardinal, Kirsten Jamsen, Brad Hughes, UW-Madison Gender Patterns in Writing Center Usage