Pandemic Transitions: Be(com)ing a New Writing Center Director During COVID-19


Covid, Higher Education, Writing Centers

By Amanda May, New Mexico Highlands University—Picture it: Tallahassee 2020. I was preparing to send my dissertation to the committee for my defense after a tumultuous final semester as assistant director. No part of writing center experience or scholarship prepared me to help transition from in-person services to fully online services in response to the pandemic, facing challenges similar to those described by Marilee Giles and colleagues. To make matters more difficult, I was also on the job market. […]

June 7, 2022

Course-Embedded Programming and the Need for Clear Expectations


Collaborative Learning, Higher Education, Peer Tutoring, Student Voices, Undergraduate Students, Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing Center Tutors, Writing Centers

By Ava Hutt, Kailie Settles, and Caroline Shutt,Transylvania University Writing Center—University writing centers offer a myriad of benefits for students. But like many useful academic resources outside of actual courses, it can be difficult to sell Transylvania University students on the idea of peer tutoring, especially given conflicts with time: clubs, athletics, off-campus jobs, and more. In an effort to combat this reluctance, and as a way to help assist students transition into college writing, Transylvania University Writing Center began implementing a Course-Embedded Peer Consultant initiative in 2014. Course-embedded consultants (known as “CECs”), like Writing Fellows or Writing Associates at other colleges, work […]

April 26, 2022

The Peace of the Dancing Mind: Co-Creating the Writing Center as a Quiet, Slow Space 


Higher Education, Peer Tutoring, Writing Center Theory, Writing Centers

By Mary O’Shan Overton—In her acceptance speech at the 1996 National Book Foundation Medal ceremony, the novelist Toni Morrison said that “There is a certain kind of peace that is not merely an absence of war. It is larger than that. […] The peace I am thinking of is the dance of an open mind when it engages another equally open one—an activity that occurs most naturally, most often in the reading/writing world we live in.” I am interested in making space for that kind of peace. In fact, as a writing center director, I feel an ardent responsibility to do so. […]

March 22, 2022

Staying Networked: Writing Centers, Social Media, and Pandemic Shifts


Covid, Higher Education, Technology, The Online Writing Center, Writing Centers

By Amanda May—My investment in writing center social media usage and non-usage grew out of my personal and professional social media practice. I still remember going to the Southeastern Writing Center Association’s 2016 conference and meeting Molly Wright, who ran the Facebook group Writing Center Network. At the time, that was my only connection to the writing center field because I was the sole writing center employee on campus. Molly convinced me to join Twitter because of #wcchat, a biweekly professional event that writing center administrators and tutors used to discuss writing center issues. […]

March 30, 2021

Ongoingness: Reflections from within a Pandemic


Graduate Students, Higher Education, The Online Writing Center, Writing Center Academic Staff, Writing Center History, Writing Center Tutors

By Jennifer Conrad—When we entered the spaces of online learning a year ago, few of us could have guessed what the time would hold. On the one hand, this past year has been one of shared experience: all of us are finding our way through a global pandemic, with all of its uncertainty, political and social unrest, boredom, loneliness, and other associated experiences. On the other hand, this time has been one that is deeply individual: each of us passing time in our quarantine “bubbles.”

March 16, 2021

When a Dean Writes: Celebrating Black & African American Campus Writers for Black History Month


Diversity and Inclusion, Higher Education, Social Justice Committee

By Gabrielle Isabel Kelenyi, on behalf of the Writing Center’s Antiracism Standing Committee, and featuring Dean Eric Wilcots—Writing happens. It happens everywhere and all the time, even when we’re not writing an essay. Furthermore, writing is important because we use it to communicate important ideas and information, to express ourselves, to make the particular more universal, to reach out and connect with one another. […]

February 23, 2021

Blogs Can Create Community Among Students in Courses Across the Curriculum


Classes, Collaborative Learning, Higher Education, Technology, Writing Across the Curriculum

By Annette Vee—Like every other teacher in higher education right now, I’m navigating the new terrain of socially distanced, online, hybrid or hyflex teaching due to our global pandemic. I’m also a writing program administrator, which means that I share some responsibility to help other teachers navigate this terrain as well. Conscious of the labor issues of instructors preparing new classes in flex, hybrid or online contexts, I’m digging into my online toolbox to share strategies that might work for others in this context and for the future, after the pandemic. The best little tool I have for teaching online or in hybrid formats is a class blog. […]

December 29, 2020

Reflecting on a Virtual Semester


Collaborative Learning, Community Writing Assistance, Diversity and Inclusion, Events, Higher Education, Madison Writing Assistance, Outreach, Peer Tutoring, Social Justice, Writing Center Workshops, Writing Fellows, Writing Groups

From Chrissy Widmayer—Looking back on the Writing Center’s Fall 2020 semester, I am awed by all that we have been able to do. Alongside our students, we grappled every day with new challenges posed by the pandemic, adapting to an entirely online slate of services this semester, and sought to maintain the high level of professionalism we always offer. I am grateful for the patience our students have shown as we’ve adjusted to our new methods of teaching and so pleased with the reciprocal culture of care the Writing Center has fostered this semester. […]

December 15, 2020

“Focus on the Now,” or Embodiment in a Virtual Dissertation Writing Camp


Graduate Students, Higher Education

By Calley Marotta and Jennifer Conrad—In May of 2020, two months after the sudden jump to online-only instruction necessitated by COVID-19, our writing center held its first virtual Dissertation Writing Camp. Co-sponsored by UW-Madison’s Graduate School and facilitated by Writing Center instructors, the central goals of this camp have always been to support writing and its production during a compressed timeline and to provide dissertators with a community of fellow graduate student writers engaged in the same effort. The decision to host this long-running camp online rather than in person felt provisional, and yet necessary amid so much upheaval.

November 10, 2020