Elasticity: 2019 South Central Writing Centers Assocaition Conference


Elasticity: Bouncing Ideas from Center to Center

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Belton, TX
February 21st-23rd, 2019

Keynote Speaker:
Rebecca Day Babcock works at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin as the Chair of Literature and Languages. She is also the William and Ordelle Watts Professor and the Director of Undergraduate Research for the whole campus. Babcock has authored or co-authored four books about writing centers: Writing Centers and Disability; Tell Me How it Reads; A Synthesis of Qualitative Studies of Writing Center Tutoring, 1983-2006; and Researching the Writing Center, which recently came out in a revised edition. Her work has appeared in Linguistics and Education, Writing Lab Newsletter, Composition Forum, and others. In 2012 she won the IWCA Outstanding Scholarship Award for Best Article. She is also the co-recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant.

Call for Papers:
One of the biggest challenges that writing center tutors and administrators face is the constantly changing environment of their educational institution. As school-wide policies and focus shifts, writing centers must adapt in a way that will best help students, while continuing to appease administration standards. In addition, tutors and coordinators must be aware of the complex and diverse population of learners they serve. New research and ideas emerge and best practices develop. What skill can allow Writing Centers to adapt to these changes without losing their original vision and purpose? Elasticity!

In 2011, Lerner and Boquet wrote “After ‘The Idea of a Writing Center’” to re-examine this seminal article, and they concluded that “Our field can no longer afford, if it ever could, to have forged a separate peace between classroom and non-classroom teaching. There is no separate but equal. Few sites are as rich with promise for understanding the everyday practices that students bring to their academic writing as the writing centers on our very own campuses” (p. 186). They argue that we need to continue to grow beyond the original call of North’s article to build alliances and conduct research to better understand the way that we teach writing. In this conference, we want to look at how we have continued to adjust and respond to the changing nature of higher education.

To us, elasticity means the ability to change in order to accommodate new surroundings and demands without losing the original shape. Like a rubber band stretches and bends, Writing Centers must cope with a variety of changes and challenges including policy changes, budgeting, staffing, and negative feedback. Our hope for this conference topic is to share our experiences of ‘bouncing back’ and ‘stretching’ to meet the everyday issues faced in each center and each session.

What challenges does your center face? What disadvantages and problems have you had to overcome? What techniques have you developed in your center for working through difficult circumstances or sessions?

There will be a place on the form where you will indicate your presentation type. Either a(n)…

  • Individual Presentation
  • Panel Presentation
  • Poster Presentation
  • Roundtable Discussion

Deadline and Submission:
For your submissions, complete the application by December 1st, 2019. Acceptance emails will be sent by December 15th, 2018.

List of Possible Presentation Topics:

  • Bouncing back from big changes in the center, such as changes in administration and writing center faculty
  • Being flexible in each session
  • Adjusting to who you are tutoring (ESL, gender, age, classification, disabilities, learning styles, etc.)
  • Bending the rules within a session
  • Thinking outside the box in sessions
  • How directors adjust to different schools and changing administration
  • Bouncing back from negative feedback or incidents within the center
  • Stretching and changing the agenda in sessions
  • Adapting to your environment (utilizing resources/space/staff)

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