front cover of Around the Texts of Writing Center Work
Around the Texts of Writing Center Work
An Inquiry-Based Approach to Tutor Education
R. Mark Hall
Utah State University Press, 2017

Around the Texts of Writing Center Work reveals the conceptual frameworks found in and created by ordinary writing center documents. The values and beliefs underlying course syllabi, policy statements, website copy and comments, assessment plans, promotional flyers, and annual reports critically inform writing center practices, including the vital undertaking of tutor education.

In each chapter, author R. Mark Hall focuses on a particular document. He examines its origins, its use by writing center instructors and tutors, and its engagement with enduring disciplinary challenges in the field of composition, such as tutoring and program assessment. He then analyzes each document in the contexts of the conceptual framework at the heart of its creation and everyday application: activity theory, communities of practice, discourse analysis, reflective practice, and inquiry-based learning.

Around the Texts of Writing Center Work approaches the analysis of writing center documents with an inquiry stance—a call for curiosity and skepticism toward existing and proposed conceptual frameworks—in the hope that the theoretically conscious evaluation and revision of commonplace documents will lead to greater efficacy and more abundant research by writing center administrators and students.


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Between Talk And Teaching
Reconsidering the Writing Conference
Laurel Johnson Black
Utah State University Press, 1998

The teacher-student conference is standard in the repertoire of teachers at all levels. Because it's a one-to-one encounter, teachers work hard to make it comfortable; but because it's a pedagogical moment, they hope that learning occurs in the encounter, too. The literature in this area often suggests that a conference is a conversation, but this doesn't account for a teacher's need to use it pedagogically. Laurel Johnson Black's new book explores the conflicting meanings and relations embedded in conferencing and offers a new theoretical understanding of the conference along with practical approaches to conferencing more effectively with students.

Analyzing taped conferences of several different teachers and students, Black considers the influence that power, gender, and culture can have on a conference. She draws on sociolinguistic theory, as well as critical theory in composition and rhetoric, to build an understanding of the writing conference as an encounter somewhere between conversation and the classroom. She finds neither the conversation model nor versions of the master-apprentice model satisfactory. Her approach is humane, student-centered, and progressive, but it does not ignore the valid pedagogical purposes a teacher might have in conferencing. Between Talk and Teaching will be a valuable addition to the professional library of writing teachers and writing program administrators.


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Disruptive Stories
Amplifying Voices from the Writing Center Margins
Elizabeth Kleinfeld
Utah State University Press, 2024
Disruptive Stories uses an activist editing method to select and publish authors that have been marginalized in scholarly conversations and enrich the understanding of lived writing center experiences that have been underrepresented in writing center scholarship. These chapters explore how marginality affects writing centers, the people who work in them, and the scholarship generated from them by examining the consequences—both positive and negative—of marginalization through a mix of narratives and research. Contributors provide unique perspectives ranging across status, role, nationality, race, and ability.
While US tenure-track writing center administrators (WCAs) do not make up the majority of those who hold WCA positions in writing centers, they are more likely to be the storytellers of the writing center grand narrative. They publish more, present more conference papers, edit more journals, and participate more in organizational leadership. This collection complicates that narrative by adding marginalized voices and experiences in three thematic categories: structural marginalization, globalization and marginalization, and embodied marginalization.
Disruptive Stories spurs further conversations about ways to improve the review process in writing center scholarship so that it more accurately reflects the growing diversity of its administrators and practitioners.

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The Idea of a Writing Laboratory
Neal Lerner
Southern Illinois University Press, 2009

The Idea of a Writing Laboratory is a book about possibilities, about teaching and learning to write in ways that can transform both teachers and students.

            Author Neal Lerner explores higher education’s rich history of writing instruction in classrooms, writing centers and science laboratories. By tracing the roots of writing and science educators’ recognition that the method of the lab––hands-on student activity—is essential to learning, Lerner offers the hope that the idea of a writing laboratory will be fully realized more than a century after both fields began the experiment.    

            Beginning in the late nineteenth century, writing instructors and science teachers recognized that mass instruction was inadequate for a burgeoning, “non-traditional” student population, and that experimental or laboratory methods could prove to be more effective. Lerner traces the history of writing instruction via laboratory methods and examines its successes and failures through case studies of individual programs and larger reform initatives. Contrasting the University of Minnesota General College Writing Laboratory with the Dartmouth College Writing Clinic, for example, Lerner offers a cautionary tale of the fine line between experimenting with teaching students to write and “curing” the students of the disease of bad writing. 

            The history of writing within science education also wends its way through Lerner’s engaging work, presenting the pedagogical origins of laboratory methods to offer educators in science in addition to those in writing studies possibilities for long-sought after reform. The Idea of a Writing Laboratory compels readers and writers to “don those white coats and safety glasses and discover what works” and asserts that “teaching writing as an experiment in what is possible, as a way of offering meaning-making opportunities for students no matter the subject matter, is an endeavor worth the struggle.”


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Institutional Ethnography as Writing Studies Practice
Michelle LaFrance
University Press of Colorado, 2024
The editors and contributors to this collection offer insights into the use of institutional ethnography for three primary purposes: to investigate and interrogate the cultures of work that are of interest to writing studies researchers, to understand more deeply what constitutes this work, and to consider how work takes shape within institutional contexts. Building on prior conversations about institutional ethnography, critical ethnography, and the complexities of writing programs, the editors and chapter authors consider their application to sites of writing and writing instruction. In doing so, they reveal the power of material conditions, institutional and field-based values, and the cultures of writing to shape how people carry out their everyday work in writing programs and other venues in which writing plays a central role. The findings shared in this edited collection provide insights into how institutional ethnography as a form of inquiry can make important contributions to the fields’ many ongoing conversations about the nature of our work, labor, and other writing-related interests.

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Multilingual Writers and Writing Centers
Ben Rafoth
Utah State University Press, 2015

Multilingual writers—often graduate students with more content knowledge and broader cultural experience than a monolingual tuto—unbalance the typical tutor/client relationship and pose a unique challenge for the writing center. Multilingual Writers and Writing Centers explores how directors and tutors can better prepare for the growing number of one-to-one conferences with these multilingual writers they will increasingly encounter in the future.

This much-needed addition of second language acquisition (SLA) research and teaching to the literature of writing center pedagogy draws from SLA literature; a body of interviews Rafoth conducted with writing center directors, students, and tutors, and his own decades of experience. Well-grounded in daily writing center practice, the author addresses which concepts and practices directors can borrow from the field of SLA to help tutors respond to the needs of multilingual writers, what directors need to know about these concepts and practices, and how tutoring might change in response to changes in student populations.

Multilingual Writers and Writing Centers is a call to invigorate the preparation of tutors and directors for the negotiation of the complexities of multilingual and multicultural communication. 


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Noise From The Writing Center
Elizabeth H. Boquet
Utah State University Press, 2002

In Noise from the Writing Center, Boquet develops a theory of "noise" and excess as an important element of difference between the pedagogy of writing centers and the academy in general. Addressing administrative issues, Boquet strains against the bean-counting anxiety that seems to drive so much of writing center administration. Pedagogically, she urges a more courageous practice, developed via metaphors of music and improvisation, and argues for "noise," excess, and performance as uniquely appropriate to the education of writers and tutors in the center.

Personal, even irreverent in style, Boquet is also theoretically sophisticated, and she draws from an eclectic range of work in academic and popular culture-from Foucault to Attali to Jimi Hendrix. She includes, as well, the voices of writing center tutors with whom she conducted research, and she finds some of her most inspiring moments in the words and work of those tutors.


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Redefining Roles
The Professional, Faculty, and Graduate Consultant’s Guide to Writing Centers
Megan Swihart Jewell
Utah State University Press, 2021
Redefining Roles is the first book to recognize and provide sustained focus on the presence of professional, faculty, and graduate student consultants in writing centers. A significant number of writing centers employ non-peer consultants, yet most major training manuals are geared toward undergraduate tutoring practices or administrators. This collection systematically addresses this gap in the literature while initiating new conversations regarding writing center staffing.
Thirty-two authors, consultants, and administrators from diverse centers—from large public four-year institutions to a private, online for-profit university—provide both theoretical frameworks and practical applications in eighteen chapters. Ten chapters focus on graduate consultants and address issues of authority, training, professional development, and mentoring, and eight focus on professional and faculty consultant training as well as specific issues of identity and authority. By sharing these voices, Redefining Roles broadens the very idea of writing centers while opening the door to more dialogue on the important role these practitioners play.
Redefining Roles is designed for writing center practitioners, scholars, and staff. It is also a necessary addition to help campus administrators in the ongoing struggle to validate the intellectually complex work that such staff performs.
Contributors: Fallon N. Allison, Vicki Behrens, Cassie J. Brownell, Matt Burchanoski, Megan Boeshart Burelle, Danielle Clapham, Steffani Dambruch, Elise Dixon, Elizabeth Festa, Will Fitzsimmons, Alex Frissell, Alex Funt, Genie Giaimo, Amanda Gomez, Lisa Lamson, Miriam E. Laufer, Kristin Messuri, Rebecca Nowacek, Kimberly Fahle Peck, Mark Pedretti, Irina Ruppo, Arundhati Sanyal, Anna Scanlon, Matthew Sharkey-Smith, Kelly A. Shea, Anne Shiell, Anna Sicari, Catherine Siemann, Meagan Thompson, Lisa Nicole Tyson, Marcus Weakley, Alex Wulff

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Re/Writing the Center
Approaches to Supporting Graduate Students in the Writing Center
Susan Lawrence
Utah State University Press, 2018
Re/Writing the Center illuminates how core writing center pedagogies and institutional arrangements are complicated by the need to create intentional, targeted support for advanced graduate writers. Most writing center tutors are undergraduates, whose lack of familiarity with the genres, preparatory knowledge, and research processes integral to graduate-level writing can leave them underprepared to assist graduate students. Complicating the issue is that many of the graduate students who take advantage of writing center support are international students.
The essays in this volume show how to navigate the divide between traditional writing center theory and practices, developed to support undergraduate writers, and the growing demand for writing centers to meet the needs of advanced graduate writers. Contributors address core assumptions of writing center pedagogy, such as the concept of peers and peer tutoring, the emphasis on one-to-one tutorials, the positioning of tutors as generalists rather than specialists, and even the notion of the writing center as the primary location or center of the tutoring process. Re/Writing the Center offers an imaginative perspective on the benefits writing centers can offer to graduate students and on the new possibilities for inquiry and practice graduate students can inspire in the writing center.
Contributors: Laura Brady, Michelle Cox, Thomas Deans, Paula Gillespie​, Mary Glavan, Marilyn Gray​, James Holsinger​, Elena Kallestinova, Tika Lamsal​, Patrick S. Lawrence, Elizabeth Lenaghan, Michael A. Pemberton​, Sherry Wynn Perdue​, Doug Phillips, Juliann Reineke​, Adam Robinson​, Steve Simpson, Nathalie Singh-Corcoran​, Ashly Bender Smith, Sarah Summers​, Molly Tetreault​, Joan Turner, Bronwyn T. Williams, Joanna Wolfe

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Sensemaking for Writing Programs and Writing Centers
Rita Malenczyk
Utah State University Press, 2023
In this collection writing program and writing center administrators from a range of academic institutions come together to explore their work through the lens of sensemaking. Sensemaking is an organizational theory concept that enables institutions, supervisors, teachers, tutors, and others to better understand the work they do by using narrative, metaphor, and other theoretical lenses.
The book is divided into two sections: Sensemaking with Tutors and Teachers, and Sensemaking and Institutional Structures. Chapter authors employ several theoretical approaches to sensemaking, ranging from individual experience to institutional history to document design, providing readers with ideas for how to administer and teach within their programs more effectively; how to advocate for their programs within larger university contexts; and how to positively influence the lives and careers of those they work with.
Sensemaking for Writing Programs and Writing Centers theorizes daily experiences from working lives and suggests problem-solving strategies. Writing program administrators, writing department chairs, and writing center directors, tutors, and staff will find value in its pages.

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Tell Me How It Reads
Tutoring Deaf and Hearing Students in the Writing Center
Rebecca Day Babcock
Gallaudet University Press, 2012

Deaf students are attending mainstream postsecondary institutions in increasing numbers, raising the stakes for the complicated and multifaceted task of tutoring deaf students at these schools. Common tutoring practices used with hearing students do not necessarily work for deaf people. Rebecca Day Babcock researched and wrote Tell Me How It Reads: Tutoring Deaf and Hearing Students in the Writing Center to supply writing instructors an effective set of methods for teaching Deaf and other students how to be better writers.

Babcock’s book is based on the resulting study of tutoring writing in the college context with both deaf and hearing students and their tutors. She describes in detail sessions between deaf students, hearing tutors, and the interpreters that help them communicate, using a variety of English or contact signing rather than ASL in the tutorials. These experiences illustrate the key differences between deaf-hearing and hearing-hearing tutorials and suggest ways to modify tutoring and tutor-training practices accordingly. Although this study describes methods for tutoring deaf students, its focus on students who learn differently can apply to teaching writing to Learning Disabled students, ESL students, and other students with different learning styles. Ultimately, the well-grounded theory analysis within Tell Me How It Reads provides a complete paradigm for tutoring in all writing centers.


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Tutoring Matters
Everything You Always Wanted to Know about How to Tutor
Authored by Tiffani Chin, Jerome Rabow and Jeimee Estrada
Temple University Press, 2011

Tutoring Matters is the authoritative guide for both the aspiring and seasoned tutor. Using firsthand experiences of over one hundred new and experienced college student tutors, the authors offer techniques for handling tutoring anxieties, teaching strategies, and tips for building relationships.

This new edition has been fully updated to help tutors to engage the interest of their students. In addition, it features practical “tip boxes” that provide quick-reference guidelines on a range of tutoring challenges—from making a connection in your first tutoring session to becoming familiar with your pupil's life and tutoring needs. This new edition also provides practical experience-based tips "from the trenches" about how to tutor math and reading and how to help students develop other academic skills and interests.


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Tutoring Matters
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About How To Tutor
Jerome Rabow
Temple University Press, 1999
Inside each of us is the promise of  a tutor. If you've ever taught a child to tie her shoe, or helped a friend with his homework, or even helped a stranger understand a posted sign, you have it in you to empower others through learning. Tutors are allowed to do what teachers and parents are often not able to do. They can be patient, observe, question, support, challenge, and applaud. They can move towards nurturing the true and total intelligence of their tutees. Learning to tutor is simply overcoming fears, sharing and acquiring  knowledge, and appreciating the potential and wisdom in each other.

Tutoring Matters is the authoritative manual for both the aspiring and seasoned tutor. Using firsthand experiences of over one hundred new and experienced tutors, this long-awaited guide offers chapters on attitudes and anxieties, teaching techniques, and building relationships. It educates the tutor on how to handle and appreciate social and language differences; how to use other adults -- teachers, administrators, parents, employers -- to a student's advantage; and, when your student or circumstances determine that it's time, how to put a positive and supportive end to the tutor-tutee relationship.

Written by experienced tutors and tutoring educators, Tutoring Matters celebrates -- and provides just the right tools for -- an individualized and successful tutoring relationship and shows just how much you can learn -- about the world and yourself -- through teaching others.

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Tutoring Second Language Writers
Shanti Bruce
Utah State University Press, 2015

Tutoring Second Language Writers, a complete update of Bruce and Rafoth’s 2009 ESL Writers, is a guide for writing center tutors that addresses the growing need for tutors who are better prepared to work with the increasingly international population of students seeking guidance at the writing center.

Drawing upon philosopher John Dewey’s belief in reflective thinking as a way to help build new knowledge, the book is divided into four parts. Part 1: Actions and Identities is about creating a proactive stance toward language difference, thinking critically about labels, and the mixed feelings students may have about learning English. Part 2: Research Opportunities demonstrates writing center research projects and illustrates methods tutors can use to investigate their questions about writing center work. Part 3: Words and Passages offers four personal stories of inquiry and discovery, and Part 4: Academic Expectations describes some of the challenges tutors face when they try to help writers meet readers’ specific expectations.

Advancing the conversations tutors have with one another and their directors about tutoring second language writers and writing, Tutoring Second Language Writers engages readers with current ideas and issues that highlight the excitement and challenge of working with those who speak English as a second or additional language.

Contributors include Jocelyn Amevuvor, Rebecca Day Babcock, Valerie M. Balester, Shanti Bruce, Frankie Condon, Michelle Cox, Jennifer Craig, Kevin Dvorak, Paula Gillespie, Glenn Hutchinson, Pei-Hsun Emma Liu, Bobbi Olson, Pimyupa W. Praphan, Ben Rafoth, Jose L. Reyes Medina, Guiboke Seong, and Elizabeth (Adelay) Witherite.


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Unlimited Players
The Intersections of Writing Center and Game Studies
Holly Ryan
Utah State University Press, 2021
Unlimited Players provides writing center scholars with new approaches to engaging with multimodality in the writing center through the lenses of games, play, and digital literacies. Considering how game scholarship can productively deepen existing writing center conversations regarding the role of creativity, play, and engagement, this book helps practitioners approach a variety of practices, such as starting new writing centers, engaging tutors and writers, developing tutor education programs, developing new ways to approach multimodal and digital compositions brought to the writing center, and engaging with ongoing scholarly conversations in the field.
The collection opens with theoretically driven chapters that approach writing center work through the lens of games and play. These chapters cover a range of topics, including considerations of identity, empathy, and power; productive language play during tutoring sessions; and writing center heuristics. The last section of the book includes games, written in the form of tabletop game directions, that directors can use for staff development or tutors can play with writers to help them develop their skills and practices.
No other text offers a theoretical and practical approach to theorizing and using games in the writing center. Unlimited Players provides a new perspective on the long-standing challenges facing writing center scholars and offers insight into the complex questions raised in issues of multimodality, emerging technologies, tutor education, identity construction, and many more. It will be significant to writing center directors and administrators and those who teach tutor training courses.

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Unwell Writing Centers
Searching for Wellness in Neoliberal Educational Institutions and Beyond
Genie Nicole Giaimo
Utah State University Press, 2022
Unwell Writing Centers focuses on the inroads the wellness industry has made into higher education. Following graduate and undergraduate writing tutors during a particularly stressful period (2016–2019), Genie Nicole Giaimo examines how top-down and bottom-up wellness interventions are received and taken up by workers. Engaging sociocultural research on how workers react to and experience workplace conflict, Giaimo demonstrates the kinds of interventions welcomed by workers as well as those that fall flat, including the “easy” fixes to workplace issues that institutions provide in lieu of meaningful and community-based support.
The book is broken into sections based on journeying: searching for wellness, finding wellness, and imagining a “well” future that includes a sustainable model of writing center work. Each chapter begins with a personal narrative about wellness issues in writing centers, including the author’s experiences in and responses to local emergencies. She shares findings from a longitudinal assessment study on non-institutional interventions in writing centers and provides resources for administrators to create more ethical "well" writing centers. The book also includes an appendix of training documents, emergency planning documents, and several wellness-specific interventions developed from anti-racist, anti-neoliberal, and organizational theories.
Establishing the need for a field-specific response to the austerity-minded eruption of wellness-focused interventions in higher education, Unwell Writing Centers is a critical text for graduate students and new directors that can easily be applied in workplaces in and outside of higher education.

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When Tutor Meets Student
Martha Maxwell, Editor
University of Michigan Press, 1994
Creates a concrete approach to peer tutoring and collaborative learning

front cover of Writing Centers and Learning Commons
Writing Centers and Learning Commons
Staying Centered While Sharing Common Ground
Steven J. Corbett
Utah State University Press, 2022
Writing Centers and Learning Commons presents program administrators, directors, staff, and tutors with theoretical rationales, experiential journeys, and go-to practical designs and strategies for the many questions involved when writing centers find themselves operating in shared environments.

The chapters comprehensively examine the ways writing centers make the most of sharing common ground. Directors, coordinators, administrators, and stakeholders draw on past and present attention to writing center studies to help shape the future of the learning commons and narrate their substantial collective experience with collaborative efforts to stay centered while empowering colleagues and student writers at their institutions. The contributors explore what is gained and lost by affiliating writing centers with learning commons, how to create sound pedagogical foundations that include writing center philosophies, how writing center practices evolved or have been altered by learning center affiliations, and more.

Writing Centers and Learning Commons is for all stakeholders of writing in and across campuses collaborating on (by choice or edict), or wishing to explore the possibilities of, a learning commons enterprise.
Contributors: Alice Batt, Cassandra Book, Charles A. Braman, Elizabeth Busekrus Blackmon, Virginia Crank, Celeste Del Russo, Patricia Egbert, Christopher Giroux, Alexis Hart, Suzanne Julian, Kristen Miller, Robby Nadler, Michele Ostrow, Helen Raica-Klotz, Kathleen Richards, Robyn Rohde, Nathalie Singh-Corcoran, David Stock

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