Call for Proposals, Fall 2022

Writing Centers

Another Word, the award-winning writing center blog from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is currently seeking proposals for blog posts to be published in 2023. We seek proposals from writing center administrators, professional staff, undergraduate and graduate tutors, and those invested in writing center studies on a broad range of topics related to administering, tutoring, training, and working in the writing center.

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A Practical Guide to Making a Writing Center Space More Physically Accessible

Disability and Writing Centers, Diversity and Inclusion, Peer Tutoring, Social Justice, Undergraduate Students, Writing Center Tutors, Writing Centers

By Kelle Alden—Any university administrator will agree that accessible spaces are important, as they provide necessary services to disabled individuals and signify our commitment to equitable education. However, federal guidelines are complex, writing center staff are bound by political, financial, and practical constraints, and most people cannot imagine navigating […]

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Welcome to the 2022-2023 School Year!

From the Director, Writing Centers

For the past several weeks, here at the Writing Center, we’ve been busily preparing for the start of the semester. From planning the schedule to organizing writing groups to developing tutor training materials […]

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Introverted Engagement: Exploring the Experiences of Shy Writing Center Tutors

Higher Education, Tutorial Talk and Methods, Writing Center pedagogy

By Shannon Mooney—Many years ago, while I was working as an undergraduate tutor, students from a local high school visited our writing center as they worked towards implementing a center at their school. During a group lunch, one of the high schoolers posed a question to our writing center’s tutors and staff: How do tutors who are shy or introverted manage their anxiety or nervousness when interacting with so many different people in writing center spaces? As a shy tutor, I should have attempted to answer the question; instead, […]

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“No, Thank You”—Your Friendly, Neighborhood Writing Center Chimera 

Higher Education, Writing Center Academic Staff, Writing Center Staff

By Molly Parsons—I am the assistant director of a writing center at a regional public college in the Northeast. My title, “assistant director,” is a recent upgrade (from “program assistant”) and an acknowledgment of my advanced degrees (I have a PhD in English and Education). The pay and terms of my position are otherwise unchanged—I am a part-time, adjunct staff member and earn the same salary and benefits (none) as I did before the title change. I occupy two distinct but conflated positions: I am both an academic (by job description) and an hourly, contingent employee (by pay and job security). I’m a veritable chimera […]

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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. […]

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Vulnerability and Mutual Disclosure through the Use of Personal Pronouns in the WC Space

Social Justice, Tutor Publications, Undergraduate Students, Writing Center Tutors

By Julianna Peres—Recently, there has been a surge of conversations about intersectionality and inclusivity in Writing Centers (WC) within university classrooms and WC settings. WC Directors and tutors have been facilitating conversations about accessibility for neurodivergent tutees and have been discussing the nuances of racial awareness and social justice work in the WC space. More and more centers are changing the physical, electronic, and intellectual aspects of tutoring sessions so as to create a more accessible atmosphere for both tutors and tutees. […]

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Honoring the Writing Center’s Instructors: 2022 Awards for Excellence in Teaching

Awards and Honors, Writing Center Tutors

Each spring, the Writing Center honors the amazing work of our instructors through our teaching excellence awards. We award one instructor an Award for Early Excellence, which is for instructors in their first two years with the center, and we award one instructor an Award for Advanced Excellence, which is for instructors who have been teaching with the center for more than two years. These awards specifically recognize our instructors’ one-to-one work with students. […]

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“Are We Walking the Walk?”: Undertaking Writing Center Assessment

Writing Center Research

By Angela Zito—Assessment is not everyone’s favorite thing to talk about, but it is one of mine. In this post, I’ll try to convince you that writing center assessment can be a worthwhile and invigorating process that places the things you care about most—inclusivity, student learning, accessibility, tutor education—front and center. Assessment projects urge us to ask ourselves, “Are we walking the walk, as well as talking the talk?” […]

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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 […]

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Learning Together Through Ongoing Education


Collaborative Learning, Graduate Students, Tutor Training

By Seth Umbaugh—In “The Tutoring Corona,” Brad Hughes provided an overview of our writing center’s practice of providing professional development opportunities for our graduate tutors through ongoing education. As the Writing Center’s TA Assistant Director this academic year, I worked with our administrative leadership team to coordinate an exciting series of ongoing education seminars (OGEs) that offered graduate tutors a range of professionalization opportunities and aided the development of our center’s values and pedagogical practices. […]

April 14, 2022

Hearing Accessibility in a Conversational Practice


Collaborative Learning, Disability and Writing Centers, Diversity and Inclusion, Tutor Training

By Natalie White—A good writing center aims to be accessible to all students, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or disability; however, many of the conventional methods passed down between centers are based on those without barriers to communication. This tutoring style leaves students who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing (HOH) in a complicated position. However, a great writing center not only sees where barriers lie, but actively works to deconstruct them, especially […]

April 5, 2022

Showcasing Our Writing Fellows’ Research


Peer Tutoring, Undergraduate Students, Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing Center Tutors, Writing Fellows

Each year in the spring semester at UW-Madison’s Writing Center, Writing Fellows and Writing Center instructors hold a joint staff meeting where Fellows share original research about one-on-one writing tutoring. The Writing Fellows Program is a course-embedded peer tutoring program. Writing Fellows take a peer tutor education class course […]

March 29, 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

Writing as Learning: Our Writing Center Blog Celebrates 13 Years and 300 Posts


Awards and Honors, Big 10 Writing Centers, Updates, UW-Madison History, Writing Center History, Writing Center Research, Writing Centers

By Bradley Hughes—This past November I was honored—and a little daunted—to have wonderful colleagues invite me to write a retrospective about this blog. Honored because as the editor of the blog from 2009 until 2019, I have loved what this blog does for its authors and readers, for the field of writing center studies, and for the UW–Madison Writing Center. Daunted because I knew it would be a lot of work and impossible to do justice to the richness of 300 posts. […]

March 8, 2022

Writer Spotlight: Jennifer Fandel


Writing Center Staff

An interview with Jennifer Fandel—Jennifer (Jen) Fandel worked as the Writing Center’s administrator from Spring 2017 through Fall 2021. Her work involved the wearing of many hats, including communications and marketing, budgeting, program coordination, mentoring a fantastic undergraduate receptionist team, and Writing Center operations and logistics.  In January 2022, she joined UW-Madison’s Odyssey Beyond Bars program as a writing instructor and tutor coordinator. She has taught in prisons in Missouri and Wisconsin since 2016 through the St. Louis nonprofit Prison Performing Arts and the Wisconsin Prison Humanities Project, and has tutored with Odyssey Beyond Bars since its inception in 2019. She is a poet, gardener, and bicyclist (when the weather is warm).

February 22, 2022

New Tutors Enrich Our Writing Center


Big 10 Writing Centers, Diversity and Inclusion, Graduate Students, Peer Tutoring, Staff Introductions, Updates, Writing Center Tutors, Writing Centers

By Emily Bouza—During this academic year, we have added many new tutors to the Writing Center that have brought an increased diversity of perspectives and experiences to our team. We now have tutors from fields including Applied Linguistics, Art History, African Cultural Studies, Composition and Rhetoric, Curriculum Instruction, English, English as a Second Language, Folklore Studies […]

February 8, 2022

Upcoming Changes to Another Word


Updates

By Ellen Cecil-Lemkin and Jennifer Conrad—Welcome to a new year and a new semester! We hope that your break offered everything you needed to start the semester feeling replenished and perhaps even energized. This time of year offers a chance to reflect on and evaluate our opportunities, successes, and habits to determine […]

January 25, 2022

Allyship & Co-Conspiracy in an Antiracist Writing Center


Diversity and Inclusion, Graduate Students, Peer Tutoring, Racial Justice, Social Justice, Tutor Training, Writing Center Theory, Writing Center Tutors, Writing Centers

By Gabrielle Isabel Kelenyi and Seth Umbaugh—This fall, the Writing Center offered an ongoing education group (OGE) about being an ally versus a co-conspirator in an antiracist writing center, which was co-facilitated by the TA Assistant Director of the Writing Center, Seth Umbaugh, and the TA Coordinator of Multicultural and Social Justice Initiatives, Gabrielle Kelenyi. We assembled […]

December 7, 2021

Writing in Community: Writing Groups in a Hybrid Time


Collaborative Learning, Writing Groups

By Dorothy Mayne—Writing groups have many benefits and purposes, but the community they bring to the culture of writing on campus is one of their most praised features. In fact, it’s the first purpose that we mention on our writing group website: “At the Writing Center, we believe that community and accountability, along with setting achievable goals, play a significant role in completing major writing projects.” Meeting regularly with the same people to set goals, discuss weekly themes related to wellness, writing strategies, and more allows us to develop camaraderie with others across campus.

November 23, 2021