A couple years back, I was part of panel “representing four institutions from two states” at the International Writing Centers Association Conference in Denver, Colorado. Michelle Miley organized the group (Kelly Webster and Travis Webster were the other presenters), which examined how writing centers investigate and participate in a volatile narrative construction process at their own institutions and with an eye towards developing approaches to research that would be transferable across contexts. Dr. Miley’s talk described how Thirdspace theories influenced her administrative decision-making regarding leadership practices, tutor education, development of faculty partnerships, and choices of research methodologies.
What I remember most was the snow.
Specifically, her anecdote of her students carving out their own routes and walkways across the Montana State University campus, desire paths revealed after a freshly fallen snow. As someone who grew up in snowier parts of the country, that image stuck. And even though there’s hardly ever any snow in the Rio Grande Valley, there is evidence of students making their own ways across campus, both metaphorically and not. UTRGV has attempted to follow the students’ lead in this regard, paving over desire paths, transforming them into institutionally-sanctioned sidewalks, only to have new trails reveal themselves on the fresh lawns each semester.
Dr. Miley’s featured workshop, “From the Student’s Standpoint: Using Institutional Ethnography to Map for Advocacy,” is a continuation/expansion/reimagining of her ongoing research that combines the aforementioned elements with concepts of feminist mothering and investigations of online writing studios in order to foster interdisciplinary and cross-campus networks of collaborative writing instruction.
We’re excited to welcome Michelle back to Texas (Michelle completed her PhD at the University of Houston). Please join us Friday afternoon at the South Padre Island Birding Center for the 2018 NCPTW featured workshop.
This flyer, “Miley Flyer 2”, is a derivative of “Osprey in flight over Lake Wylie” by Gareth Rasberry, used under CC BY 2.0. “Miley Flyer 2” is licensed under CC BY 2.0 by RWMonty.