Center Will Hold

Center Will Hold

Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Center Will Hold
    Book Description:

    In The Center Will Hold, Pemberton and Kinkead have compiled a major volume of essays on the signal issues of scholarship that have established the writing center field and that the field must successfully address in the coming decade. The new century opens with new institutional, demographic, and financial challenges, and writing centers, in order to hold and extend their contribution to research, teaching, and service, must continuously engage those challenges. Appropriately, the editors offer the work of Muriel Harris as a key pivot point in the emergence of writing centers as sites of pedagogy and research. The volume develops themes that Harris first brought to the field, and contributors here offer explicit recognition of the role that Harris has played in the development of writing center theory and practice. But they also use her work as a springboard from which to provide reflective, descriptive, and predictive looks at the field.

    eISBN: 978-0-87421-484-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Benchmarks in Writing Center Scholarship
    (pp. 1-20)
    Michael A. Pemberton and Joyce Kinkead

    The “graying of the professoriate” has been a topic of interest for the past decade as higher education literature has pondered the demographics of an aging population of faculty members. With the retirements—anticipated and accomplished—it behooves us to move the stories about writing center histories into the archives in a more formal manner. One would like to say that it will be helpful for those who follow the pioneers to understand how we got here from there so they can enjoy the “wisdom of the past.” Would that it had been all wisdom.

    Fortunately, a good deal of...

  5. 1 THE WRITING LAB NEWSLETTER AS HISTORY: Tracing the Growth of a Scholarly Community
    (pp. 21-40)
    Michael A. Pemberton

    In her May 2001 review of five recently published writing center books for College English, Jeanette Harris begins by noting how remarkable it is to see so many such texts published in a single year. “For a long time,” she says, “the writing center community considered it a good year if more than two books focusing on writing centers made their way into print. . . . In fact, for a while it looked as if the term writing center scholarship might be an oxymoron” (662). Harris’s observation, just pointed enough to make many writing center professionals wince, is not...

  6. 2 IN THE SPIRIT OF SERVICE: Making Writing Center Research a “Featured Character”
    (pp. 41-57)
    Nancy Maloney Grimm

    For the last ten years, writing center scholars have been cheerily optimistic about the untapped research potential in writing centers. In 1993, for example, Michael Spooner referred to writing centers as “hothouses of knowledge making,” acknowledging the tremendous amount of understanding about literacy that develops as one works in a writing center. Spooner, an academic book editor, was hoping some of “the breadth of expertise” would make its way into print (3). In the same year, Joyce Kinkead and Jeanette Harris concluded their edited collection, Writing Centers in Context, by commenting on a lack of writing center research, and particularly...

  7. 3 WRITING CENTER ASSESSMENT: Searching for the “Proof” of Our Effectiveness
    (pp. 58-73)
    Neal Lerner

    Two words that haunt writing center professionals are “research” and “assessment.” The first is too often held out as something others do to us, something we do not have time for, or something that is lacking in our field. The second is tied to our financial and institutional futures—if we cannot assess how well we are doing whatever it is we are supposed to be doing, we are surely doomed.

    In this chapter, I reclaim these two words in several ways. First, I review the history of calls for our field to answer the assessment bell, calls that act...

  8. 4 SEPARATION, INITIATION, AND RETURN: Tutor Training Manuals and Writing Center Lore
    (pp. 74-95)
    Harvey Kail

    Much of the daily business in writing centers takes its shape from the ongoing necessity of recruiting new tutors and training them for the complex conversations between writer and reader that constitute the main event of writing center life. The entire training process—from interviewing potential recruits to designing and teaching the training course to celebrating the graduation of yet another group of peer writing tutors—prominently shapes the way tutors and tutor trainers alike come to the literacy work that they do together in writing centers. It is reasonable to assume, then, as I do here, that tutor training...

    (pp. 96-113)
    Peter Carino

    “Power” and “authority” are not nice words, especially to writing centers, who have always advertised themselves as nurturing environments, friendly places with coffee pots and comfy couches for the weary. These words are further muted by calling students who work in writing centers peer tutors, peer writing consultants or some such formation that includes the word peer. The use of undergraduate peer tutors has powerfully shaped writing center practice for more than twenty years, and the idea of peership has served in center scholarship to represent writing centers as the nonhierarchical and nonthreatening collaborative environments most aspire to be. As...

  10. 6 BREATHING LESSONS, or Collaboration is . . .
    (pp. 114-129)
    Michele Eodice

    My purpose here is to invite an apperception, what William James says in Talks to Teachers “means nothing more than the act of taking a thing into the mind” (1958 [1899]). It sounds simple, but with all the different minds reading this, I understand the challenge I have in making my think piece yours. Despite the fact that we share some prior knowledge of writing center work, what each of us brings to this reading “no sooner enters our consciousness than it is drafted off in some determinate direction or other, making connections with the other materials already there.” In...

  11. 7 (RE)SHAPING THE PROFESSION: Graduate Courses in Writing Center Theory, Practice, and Administration
    (pp. 130-150)
    Rebecca Jackson, Carrie Leverenz and Joe Law

    The development of graduate courses devoted to writing center studies (theory, practice, and administration) is a relatively recent phenomenon, one we attribute to several key factors: (1) the reality of various kinds of administrative work—writing program, writing center, WAC—for PhDs in rhetoric and composition; (2) specific local exigencies; (3) the growing professionalization of writing program and writing center studies, in particular the emergence of a new generation of rhetoric faculty specifically trained in these areas, and the steady growth of scholarly literature devoted to writing program and writing center issues (Hesse 1999); and (4) a consequent increase in...

    (pp. 151-165)
    Josephine A. Koster

    When we observe tutoring going on in a writing center, we’re likely to hear comments like these: “Well, in a case study you use terms like . . .” or “Now when you’re talking about the reverse transcription of this DNA, do you mean that . . . ?” A given of writing center practice and tutor training policy is that our tutors will learn to work with writers across the curriculum, attempt to understand the forms and practices of many specialized areas, and use and manipulate the discourse conventions of those practitioners. While many of our tutors are not...

  13. 9 AN IDEAL WRITING CENTER: Re-Imagining Space and Design
    (pp. 166-176)
    Leslie Hadfield, Joyce Kinkead, Tom C. Peterson, Stephanie H. Ray and Sarah S. Preston

    The belief that architecture can stimulate health, wealth, and happiness lies at the base of the fascination with feng shui, the 3,000-year-old Chinese practice of placing objects, walls, and people in harmony. Some teachers claim that classrooms that have been given the feng shui treatment produce students who are “pumped about learning” (May 2000, A10). Others find that clearing clutter, making a place “light and cheery,” and adding plants makes common sense; there’s no “magic in it” (A10). In Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist (1610), magic is invoked in the design of a new shop when its owner consults with the...

  14. 10 MENTORING IN ELECTRONIC SPACES: Using Resources to Sustain Relationships
    (pp. 177-189)
    James A. Inman and Donna N. Sewell

    Electronic media influence more and more of contemporary writing center theory and practice, whether offering new tutoring options, stimulating outreach and other professional connections, or providing new genres and forms for scholarship. Books like Wiring the Writing Center (Hobson 1998) and Taking Flight with OWLs: Examining Electronic Writing Center Work (Inman and Sewell 2002) have identified specific aspects of electronic media’s influence, as has the CD-ROM The OWL Construction and Maintenance Guide (Inman and Gardner 2002). Leading journals like Writing Center Journal, Writing Lab Newsletter, Computers and Composition, and Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy ( have also...

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 190-196)
    (pp. 197-210)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 211-216)
    (pp. 217-219)