ECWCA Newsletter Fall 2011

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Transcript of ECWCA Newsletter Fall 2011

East Central Writing Centers Association

Fall 2011

ECWCAWriting Center Data: What Do We Need and How Should We Use It?Diane Boehm, Jacob Blumner, Mary Ann Krajnik Crawford, Sherry Wynn Perdue, and Helen Raica-KlotzA Writing Center is always about peopletheir words, their thoughts, and their aspirations. To understand our users, to tell our story, and to present our work professionally to colleagues and administrators, however, we also need data. The data we collect and analyze depends on numerous factors: the programs and systems we use to collect the data, the questions we bring to our analysis, and the arguments we wish to make about the quality and quantity of our work. This article compares and contrasts perspectives from four different Michigan universities: Central Michigan University, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan - Flint, and Oakland University. Though our centers have much in common, we also have significant differences in our perspectives, as you will see. Table 1 provides an overview of data collection in our four centers, followed by commentary written by each center. Continued on page 3

Fall 2011ARTICLESWriting Center date: What do we need and how should we use it? Queer Consulting: Assessing the Degree to which Differences Affect a Writing Consultation The Accidental Writing Center: Program Growth through Negotiation and Collaboration Communicating Across Borders: Consulting ESL Students Online To Game or Not to Game: The Affects of Gamifying Our Website Notes of a Fortunate Writing Center Consultant: What My Students with Learning Disabilities Have Taught Me about the Writing Process Assessing Our Success: The 2011 East Central Writing Centers Association Conference 1






This Issue: A Note from the EditorI am thrilled with this current issue of ECWCA. Not only should it begin to express the variety of work going on in our geographic region, it should inspire each of us to find ways to transform the how we conduct our writing center affairs. The pieces in this issue give me reason to pause and consider how data can be collected and used to document Writing Center work but also reveal Writing Center work to do. The pieces make me ask myself how I might see Writing Center spaces as collaborative spaces for personal and group growth and as zones for open dialogue and change. I am taken back to sessions Ive had to reflect on best practices and better practices in the future. And I am encouraged by the dedication directors, tutors, administrators, and community partners have to Writing Center ideas and how these stakeholders reveal their dedication through their work. I hope you will gain something from this issue and find ways to challenge the ideas here or push them to the next level. Dialogues like the ones begun here are essential to our identity and wonderful ways for us to look beyond our individual center walls and at the larger region. I look forward to seeing more of your contributions in the next issue and at our next conference! -Anthony Garrison


ADDITIONAL CONTENTA Letter from the President of ECWCA Tutor Voices 2012 ECWCA CFP Regional Announcement Calls for Papers 2 19 23 23 24

Learning writing center methodology means learning to collaborate with others, not to assume we have all the answers, but to help others find their own; to keep broad goals in mind even as we weave the needs of others into our practice. -Jeanne Smith et al. Kent State University

East Central Writing Centers Association

Letter from the President of ECWCA Jackie Grutsch McKinneyIn my writing classes, I often teach ethnography. What I really like about teaching and doing ethnographies is that ethnography asks us to reconsider what is normal. The idea is for the ethnographer to immerse him or herself into a culture to such a degree that he or she can see (or at least try to see) the world from a different point of view. An ethnographer listens, observes, and participates until an unfamiliar community becomes familiar. When we gather at the ECWCA conference each year, each of us carries intimate knowledge of the writing centers where we work, research, or get writing feedback. Those writing centers are familiar and normal to us. Part of the joy of the annual conference comes by listening, observing, and participating, and thus we learn to see how our own assumptions and practices are not the norm; they are just simply familiar. As with ethnography, these sorts of discoveries at conferences have the potential to be enlightening to us. For that potential to be fulfilled, however, we have to be there and be open to new ideas. Over the years of attending the ECWCA conference, I have consciously tried to set aside my own assumptions of what a writing center is and does in order to really listen. This is easier said than done since conference pace is dizzying and the travel and such make quieting down and being present difficult. Yet, even with the busy-ness of conferences, I am always glad I attended and am surprised how long the ideas planted at conferences stick with me. Even ideas I have no means or intention of implementing in my own context are helpful in how they show me other ways of doing writing center work, for giving me a sense of the broader context in which we work. What I want to underscore is something that you all as writing center scholars, administrators, and practitioners already know: we can learn a lot from another. The annual ECWCA conference is like the tutorial writ large. It is a two-way streetI need you to be there and you need me to be there. Please join me this spring in Indianapolis for the 2012 conference by submitting a proposal (see the Call for Proposals in this newsletter) or simply by attending. Moreover, this very newsletter is another venue where we learn from one another if we all take an active role in it. To that end, share this newsletter with others you know who are interested in writing center issues in the region or submit your ideas to the newsletter editor for consideration (Anthony Garrison: I look forward to learning from you. Sincerely, Jackie Grutsch McKinneyWhat I want to underscore is something that you all as writing center scholars, administrators, and practitioners already know: we can learn a lot from another. The annual ECWCA conference is like the tutorial writ large. It is a two-way streetI need you to be there and you need me to be there.

Meet the Associate Editor

Sri Upadhyay

Meet the Assistant Editor

Rori Hoatlin

Sri Upadhyay is a senior majoring in Psychology and English at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. After graduating this spring, she will pursue her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology and continue working in academia and research. She will complete her Honors thesis titled Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition in College Students and plans to bring the fields of Psychology and English together in research on language acquisition and learning processes, reading, memory, and metacognition. The most inspiring part of the tutoring experience for her is the opportunity to work with many different people on many different projects, and the chance to teach and share her passion for analysis, creativity, and love of the writing process.

Rori is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University (2010) in Allendale, MI with a B.A. in Writing. She worked at the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors for one year. She is currently attending Georgia College & State University (GCSU) to pursue her M.F.A in creative non-fiction. While at GCSU, she will be working in the writing center as Assistant to the Supervisor and reading for GCSUs literary journal Arts & Letters. Being a writing consultant has showed her just how important the words people pen truly are. She loves when she can help students communicate their ideas in the way they want towhen students are able to stop worrying about the micro-level detailsthe spelling, the punctuation, the grammarand start seeing their work in the big picture, then she feels like she has done her job.


Fall 2011Continued form page 1Writing Center Data Collection Instruments Data Collection Method(s) (paper/electronic/ combination)1) 2) Combination: paper and web form data transferred to Excel Student/faculty surveys are via Survey Monkey (electronic) with paper forms available on-site Consultant observations and evaluations are paper notes, then written in WORD Electronic; use campus Learning Management System (VSpace), adapted by SVSU staff for our purposes Paper intake form transferred to electronic Session Record of tutorial sessions Electronic Tutor Evaluation surveys

Rationale for Method(s)

How Data Are Used

Central Michigan University (CMU)

1) Student Sign-In Sheets (on-site) 2) Student Web form for Online 3) Student Surveys 4) Faculty Surveys 5) Consultant Observation Form 6) Graduate Assistant Evaluations


The combination of methods gives speed, consistency, and convenience, while allowing us to store, sort, analyze, and report on large amounts of data. It provides good quality control over accuracy of input and immediate access to information but also accommodates multiple sites easily. The interface with the student database provides additional group data that would not be possible via other methods. Advantages: ease of record keeping, ability to sort data easily, speedy updates and changes.

1) Administrative Reports 2) Billing for service 3) Tutor Training 4) Public relations 5) Policy/program development 6) Forecasting, planning 7) Resource allocation 8) Research

Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU)

1) SVSU Writing Center Session Record 2) Writing Center Tutor evaluation