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Showing posts from September, 2008

Safety first!

Just wrote a long post over on PeerCentered about safety and the writing center and share governance:
I've been reading Mike Mattison's new book Centered: A Year in the Life of a Writing Center Director (available from www.lulu.com) and came across the following passage:

"My first year here [Boise State], we had a student come in, demand for us to read a paper, and then say "I'll shoot someone" if it doesn't happen. Incredibly poor choice of words, and the student was immediately brought before the conduct officer (fortunately, the conduct officer and I knew one another from a committee, so we had a good rapport). The student wrote letters of apology to the consultants and was also barred from the Center. (25)"

Perhaps it is because of Phil's post below about mental illness and the writing centers or just the mayhem generally busy-ness of our writing center here at SLCC, but I've been thinking a lot about writing center safety of late.

Like mo…

"Someone to Watch Over Me"

Given that the new SLCC Student Writing Center(SWC) Peer Writing Advisors have been attending staff education classes for about a month now; have completed their observations and tag-team tutoring; and have started to work on their own with student writers; it has come the time when I stick my big nose into their tutoring reports for assessment purposes.  Ok, I'm casting this "intrusion" rather negatively, but that is simply to flip the notion around on you and explain why this is not intrusion but instruction.

We have a handy-dandy online reporting system here that allows writing advisors to not only collect data about student writers, but also to reflect upon the sessions they conduct.  To me that is the most important element in the report system.  Writing advisors have the opportunity to reflect on their work and to improve upon it.  It is so much ingrained in my notion of writing center work, in fact, that I kind of get the willies when I think about a writing center…

Alternative assessment

I am helping to conduct a workshop for the upcoming International Writing Centers Association Conference in Las Vegas (woo hoo!) along with WC megastars Jill Pennington and Neal Lerner. While we haven't worked out the session completely yet, I'd really like to pursue alternative assessment models/methods. I'm thinking of methods such as recorded exit interviews, focus groups, recorded discussions with students etc. I've done quite a lot of this assessment over the past few years with peer tutors in particular, and I would like to expand it to talking with student writers. Basically it would allow the student writer to speak out on her writing center work, and provide our writing center with valuable feedback. The questions I would ask them, of course, would have a purpose in mind.

As I have started to think about this, however, I begin to wonder if this is really assessment at all. I suppose I am informally coding the responses when I analyze them and put them to…

TYCA Secretary

So as I mentioned in my last post, I threw my hat in the ring for TYCA (Two-Year Colleague Association of the National Council of Teachers of English) Secretary. I was honored to actually win the election, even though I know my colleague Jeffrey Andelora of Mesa Community College would have been a fine selection as well. I know I will probably take guff on the matter, but I actually voted for Jeffrey. Now that is not because I don't believe in myself, but simply because it seems extremely self-centered to vote for oneself in any election, and abstaining isn't much better unless you know, for certain, that the other candidate would be harmful to the job. Jeffrey has some great ideas for the job, and has, in fact, inspired me to think about other things I could be doing as TYCA Secretary, by working on recruitment etc.

Ultimately, I want to "leverage" my position as TYCA Secretary to bring to the fore writing center issues, and to make more contact with writing ce…

Prescient?

Well the summer certain was interesting. Not only did I find out I was elected as TYCA National Secretary, but the building the SLCC Student Writing Center was subject to a reverse flood. In other words, the roof leaked. A leaky roof, however, sounds rather benign, like throwing now a few pans to catch errant drips. The flood we suffered, however, was more like the house in movie version of Fight Club.

Suffice it to say, I was rather busy with physical things to post any update here. Talk about an Undersea World! Perhaps I am prescient?

I'll write more about the TYCA job later.