From Mary Jane Curry, PhD. Associate Professor of Language Education at the Department of Teaching & Curriculum at the Warner Graduate School of Education of the University of Rochester
After successful colloquia at AILA and AAAL on global academic publishing, Theresa Lillis and I are pleased to issue this call for proposals to contribute a book chapter to an edited volume to be published by Multilingual Matters: Global academic publishing: Policies, practices, and pedagogies. Proposals due to email@example.com by June 15. Details included in the call for proposals, below.
In 2002 The Richard Wright Center for the Written Word (RWC) at Jackson State University began as part of a grant. As coordinator of the Millsaps College Writing Center, Kathi Griffin was invited to help train the first cohort of peer tutors, of which then undergraduate Summer Graves was a member. After the center got off the ground, funding sources changed more than once, which also changed the face and location of the center.
Tatiana Glushko and Kathi Griffin.
As we know, the location of the writing center speaks about its role on a campus. The evolution of the RWC reflects its changing affiliations, thereby its role and mission at JSU. When the center opened in 2003, it was located on the third floor at the back of the library. It didn’t have its own enclosed space and thus was furnished like the rest of the library, in unforgiving oak tables and chairs. It was a place where students, primarily undergraduates “who need assistance and encouragement in completing their writing assignments,” could receive support.
Editor’s note: Today’s profile is of Dr. Molly McHarg, who was kind enough to share some of her experience working in Qatar.
The Writing Center (TWC) at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQ) began rather organically. VCUQ opened in 1998, and, to the best of my understanding, there was an English faculty member who recognized the need for additional English language writing support early on. She, along with other volunteer English faculty members, provided supplemental writing instruction to students on a one-on-one basis. Fast forward to 2004, and the first Writing Center Instructor position was created. This instructor is still with TWC. Since 2004, there have also been a series of adjunct instructors hired to work part-time in TWC. Finally, in 2013, a second full-time position was created in TWC, a position which I currently hold.
My husband and I moved to Qatar in August 2005 — almost 10 years ago — when Georgetown University was just opening its branch campus in Doha. We were newlyweds and eager to embark on an exciting adventure abroad, so we jumped at the opportunity with plans to stay “for one year, maximum two”, at which point we planned to return to the U.S. Ten years later we are still here and loving it! We now have three children and have added two advanced degrees to our resumes. Qatar is an incredible place with many opportunities, both for work and personal development. I think it is one of the best places in the world to raise children; there are also endless opportunities to travel, and research and other professional development opportunities abound.
Let me start by thanking Muriel Harris for the opportunity to fire up the time machine and allow me a few moments to reflect on my 1997 Writing Lab Newsletter article, “Counting Beans and Making Beans Count, ” and what the last 18 years have meant to writing centers when it comes to assessing the impact we might have on students and on our campuses. It is extremely gratifying for me to know that “Beans” might have had some effect on the ways that writing center professionals have approached assessing the work of their writing centers.
In 1997, I was less than a year removed from completing a doctorate in education degree and was charged with creating a brand-new writing center at a college of pharmacy and health sciences. That first year, I had been hired part-time, initially a 50% appointment that I was able to expand to 75% by also teaching a section of first-year writing. I describe these circumstances to offer an idea of the exigency for my study: If I wanted that part-time employment to continue and perhaps even become a full-time job, I needed to show some measure of “success” for the writing center I had just recently created. I was very fortunate to have the support of my department chair, who helped me gather the data—first-year students’ SAT scores and grades in first-year writing—that went into the initial “Beans” study. It did not occur to me at the time that such data is hard to gather or not readily made available by college and university registrars. In fact, I distinctly remember an email conversation that Mickey and I had in which she expressed amazement that I did have easy access to such data! But, fortunate I was, even if it meant seeing that some of my colleagues gave all of their students A’s without fail (a finding that my chair told me in no uncertain terms would not be released for public consumption).
October 28th and 29th of 2015-Universidad de los Andes-Bogotá, Colombia
A student ́s admission to a university represents an immersion into a context filled with new objectives, goals, rules, and methods. As part of this process, it is fundamental to be able to understand the ideas of others as well as be able to transmit one ́s own. This allows students to actively engage in an academic community through an intellectual discussion that is based on specific criteria. In this scenario, writing becomes a privileged tool in order to learn and evidence the central comprehensions in every academic discipline. Thus, the role of writing centers and programs is focused on assisting the communicative processes of the university community, so that its members can effectively participate in academic life. Within this purpose, the support that can be provided in order to aid student retention at the college level is essential.
With the intention of generating a space that fosters sharing and discussion with respect to the role of writing in the academic development of university students, the Latin American Network of Writing Centers and Programs (Red Latinoamericana de Centros y Programas de Escritura) invites all involved in this type of initiatives at the college level to participate in its second conference, which will take place October 28th and 29th at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. In particular, we are interested in discussing retention strategies that arise from writing centers and programs. Thus, we seek proposals directly related to this issue or to the following topics:
Editor’s note: As part of our ongoing work to gain a broader appreciation of the vital work our colleagues around the world are doing, I asked Dr. Miriam Symon and Ms. Sharone Kravez to share the story of their center in Israel.
The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, located in the central Sharon region of Israel, not far from the Mediterranean coastline, has changed the face of Israeli academia, with its interdisciplinary approach and strong social commitment. It offers innovative and dynamic academic programs in law, business, government, computer science, communications, psychology, economics and sustainability. Approximately 25% of IDC’s 6,500 students study in the Raphael Recanati International School (RRIS), which has students from over 80 countries who come to Israel to study their degree in English-medium instruction (EMI).
IDC’s Writing Center is currently in its third year of operation. For years, the EFL Unit sought to establish a writing center, and students cooperated with the unit in seeking to promote this objective. We were successful, when it was recognized that students need support in the growing trend of EMI courses for Israeli and international students.
Editor’s note: for the first installment in this series, click here. Read on for excellent stories from Lara, Jimmy, and Nne!
NNE NWANKWO Pursuing Political Science, Urban Affairs & Planning, and Creative Writing at Virginia Tech
As a Nigerian (from metropolitan Lagos), I grew up learning and understanding several languages at the same time. Nigeria is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, and more importantly, Lagos is the melting pot of the nation. As an Igbo girl, I learned Igbo growing up; and as a contemporary Nigerian, pidgin English is necessary to enjoyably engage in any conversation. As a Lagosian, Yoruba (no matter how little) is important to convincingly haggle with a hawker or to spit fire at a rude neighbor. Furthermore, as francophone nations of Benin, Cameron and Togo border Nigeria, French is the mandatory foreign language in schools. In fact, most contemporary Nigerian songs incorporate a mix of Nigerian pidgin, Yoruba and Igbo, and many times, other minority languages. Sometimes, the songs include French ad-libs also. Nigerian music is a direct representation of the average Nigerian’s speaking and writing patterns – a beautifully jumbled mesh of multiple languages.
Editor’s note: I recently put out a call to hear the stories and perspective of those that work in our centers who come from a multi-lingual, multi-national, multi-cultural background. I hope you enjoy the following stories from Claudia and Kumar as much as I do, and the way they highlight the important, fostering work writing centers do.
Currently I am one of only 3 international students in the English Language and Literature program. I come from Chile, where I got my B.A. in English and Education. As you may have guessed, my first language is Spanish. I learned English at University. While I was in my junior year I was awarded a scholarship to work as a language assistant in the UK. I lived in South Wales for a year, helping High School seniors develop their language skills in Spanish. Until that point in my life, my contact with English had been limited to the classroom setting. Living in a country where the language is actually is spoken is very different.
With this blog post I want to highlight some of the events of The Long Night Against Procrastination Across Germany. When browsing Twitter with hashtag #lndah, I came across a tweet by Dennis Fassing, who mixed tweets, posters and images with his own commentary in a stori-fy compilation. Although the texts are in German, I think that readers from around the globe will appreciate the many faces and forms this event took on this year on or around March 5, 2015.
Associate editor Lee Ann Glowzenski, a key architect of the archive, shares that “WcORD is a community project, and we’re depending on users to help the database to grow. We’d love to see the addition of writing center websites and blogs, links to articles and handouts, videos and multimedia presentations — any and all resources that writing center practitioners and researchers use in their everyday work.”
Mickey Harris agrees. “Join on in! Enter the online resources they have for their centers or that they know about (including the URLs for their WCA organizations). Together, we can make this an invaluable resource for our community.”