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Showing posts from October, 2007

Room for interpretation

In Profession 2005, a publication of the Modern Language Association, Harvard English professor Louis Menand writes the following in response to an article about string theory that conotates the universe to a bank card:

If you say that the meaning of a poem is indeterminate, you are accused of posing a threat to Western values--often by people who never read poetry. But if you say that the universe is like an ATM card, you get the Nobel Prize. How did humanists get painted into a cultural corner such that everything that a social or natural scientist says that is counterintuitive receives public genuflection, but literature professors are expected to do nothing but reaffirm common sense? ("Dangers Within and Without" 10-11)

and

Faculty members in science and in social science departments tend to regard humanists as reflexively oppositional to what they do and, therefore, as easy to discount. This perception is founded mainly on ignorance. The summaries of the state of …

Two articles

I need to remind myself to reflect upon the following articles here at UWCG:

Shor, Ira. "Why Teach about Social Class." Teaching English in the Two-year College. 32:2 (December 2005). 161-170.

Lerner, Neal. "Rejecting the Remedial Brand: The Rise and Fall of the Dartmouth Writing Clinic." CCC. 59:1 (September 2007) 13-35


I found both compelling and highly relevant to my work at a community college.

More later.

Non-native speakers of English survey

Given that a whopping 47% of our sessions here at the SLCC Student Writing Center are with non-native speakers of English, I decided to conduct a survey of writing center folks on the listserv WCENTER to see how we compare to others around the world. Initial results indicate that the majority of respondents have similar non-native speaker statistics as SLCC. The few community college respondents seem to have even more. I am working with overall numbers from the last 2.5 years, however. Last year's usage was a whopping 61%. I think it has been up considerably over the last couple of years.

PeerCentered podcast season 2

The second "season" of the PeerCentered podcast begins with where we started, at the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW). NCPTW 2007 was held at Penn State and was hosted by the Penn State Center for Excellence in Writing.

I hope that this season will feature more contributors. Harry Denny from St. John's University Writing Center in New York expressed interest in the podcast, and perhaps some of the people now contributing to the PeerCentered blog from the Boise State Writing Center will want to participate.

There is a lot of potential for PeerCentered either as a blog or a podcast. I think I am going to make it my priority after I finish up as IWCA President this November.

"Handouts" wiki

Recently on WCENTER (the email list for people interested in writing center work) the topic of "handouts" has come up again. This discussion has occurred previously and IWCA established a "handouts" web site committee to develop a web site that would house resources for the writing center community. I rather liked that idea, but felt that the usefulness of the web site would be considerably constrained if it were bottle-necked through an overworked web master or site editor.

Given my role as IWCA Web Editor at that time, I proposed the use of a wiki to solve the bottle-necking problem. Almost immediately, however, a disagreement arose about the academic rigor of such a site if it were left completely open to anyone and (perhaps) everyone editing it. I believe that this concern is valid, but I also think that constraining the wiki to a select group of editors has stifled the project.

This morning, therefore, I took it upon myself to try to revamp the IWCA Handou…