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NCPTW/IWCA 2010 Conference Report

Andrea Malouf & Rachel Meads-Jardine (on right)
Brandon Alva

Brandon Alva, Rachel Meads-Jardine, Andrea Malouf and I attended and presented at the 2010 National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing/International Writing Centers Association joint conference this past weekend.  Andrea and Rachel presented “Teaching Writing in Communities” about the excellent work going on in the Community Writing Center.  Brandon presented “From Peer Tutor to Writing Instructor:  Taking a Collaborative Learning Approach” about how he uses his writing center background to influence his teaching. Brandon won an IWCA Travel Scholarship for this presentation and was recognized during the Thursday keynote address.  I presented “The Effects of Working in a Community College Writing Center on Peer Writing Tutors” which is fairly self-explanatory.  It is a presentation I've done at other conferences, but each time I prep for it, I learn something more and revise it to better reflect my evolving thoughts on the topic. Brandon & I also participated in a “Scholar to Scholar” poster session about this same topic.    That was a very useful session, in that I could bounce ideas and thoughts off Brandon, and he gave me his interactive perspective as a former peer tutor who worked in the SLCC Student Writing Center.  (He's now an professor in the English Department and is a Adjunct Faculty Writing Advisor in the Student Writing Center.)  

Anti-Racism Special Interest Group
In more interactive sessions, I presented on the Council of Writing Program Administrators and what it can do for writing center folk.   I also took an active role in the two-year college Special Interest Group (SIG), and was very excited to see peer writing tutors from two-year schools actually participate in the SIG this year.  They had many great ideas and I’m developing an interesting multimedia project that may help us think about our own curriculum development (and perhaps influence curriculum development in the wide world.)   Rachel, Andrea and I actively participated in the Anti-Racism SIG.  That group is reaching a critical mass and is working on a variety of projects to fully integrate anti-racism work into all writing centers.
Andrea Malouf at the Visionary Arts Museum

We attended many fine sessions too.  Over all it was one of the best IWCA/NCPTW joint conferences I’ve had the opportunity to attend.  I was particularly pleased with the number of sessions that focussed on writing and social justice issues, and exploring how writing centers can work as sites of social change.

We wrapped up a fine weekend by visiting the Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore.  The museum is all about outsider art and different ways of seeing the world.  Ultimately that fits rather nicely in with my view of what education is about as well as how writing centers should work.  We should challenge students and offer alternative means of considering their writing and their view of the world.  Learning is all about change and challenge, right?

Brandon Pokes Mr. Wiggle right in the eye

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