Writing Centers: Unique Institutional Configurations

full name / name of organization: 
Robert Cedillo/UNR, Al Harahap/SFSU

Please circulate amongst your colleagues and tutors. We are looking for other projects/papers to complete our panel proposal for the IWCA 2010 conference in Baltimore, MD, Nov 4-6, 2010.

In keeping with the IWCA's theme for this year's conference, we acknowledge that writing centers often represent the kinds of safe havens in which students, tutors, and administrators can seek refuge. Likewise, these spaces frequently send students into a diverse world of academic disciplines and intellectual conversations. With this in mind, we recognize that writing centers can often occupy interesting and unique positions that offer scholars the opportunity to facilitate larger conversations about literacy issues within the university.

Our panel seeks to interrogate the roles that writing centers, in unique institutional configurations, can have in the institutional dialogues. By "configuration," we here include factors such as people, practices, services, size, place in the institution, sources of funding, space and time, to name but a few. We are especially interested in the following questions and concerns:

•What is a "conventional" writing center configuration? What is "unconventional"? Do such things even exist? How can we problematize our understandings of these definitions? How do different configurations affect discourse within the institution?

•How and why has your institution's writing center come to be? How is it different from others? Does it purposely set itself apart in this way? Or are there external factors that drive it to be so?

•Even with a high degree of difference in demographic, geographic, and institutional contexts, why do we vouch for "best practice"? How do we negotiate the universal and the contextual in terms of writing center configurations?

•How do the writing center's interactions and collaborations with others in the institution (composition classes, WAC, the English department, central administration, etc.) create unique and interesting configurations? And how do they create dialogue or collaborate?

•…or any other topics that may be pertinent to writing center configurations and institutional discourse.

We welcome other graduate student projects as well as works in progress. Please email your 200-300 page abstract or any questions to both Robert Cedillo (cedillor@unr.nevada.edu) and Al Harahap (harahap@msn.com) with subject line "IWCA 2010 Abstract" by Monday, Feb 15, 2010. We will inform you of our decisions by Mar 1, 2010.

We look forward to hearing about your projects,
Robert Cedillo, University of Nevada, Reno
Al Harahap, San Francisco State University