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Center Will Hold

edited by Michael A. Pemberton & Joyce Kinkead

Publication Year: 2003

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.

Published by: Utah State University Press

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pp. ix-x

Whenever we talk about writing centers, we almost always refer to the community of writing centers, indicative of the close-knit ties among those who direct and staff these campus units. The community concept is especially important since, as writing center directors typically remark, "there is only one of us on any campus.” Thus, reaching out...

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INTRODUCTION1: Benchmarks in Writing Center Scholarship

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pp. 1-12

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...

APPENDIX: Muriel Harris’s Publications, 1977-2002

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pp. 13-20

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1: THE WRITING LAB NEWSLETTER AS HISTORY: Tracing the Growth of a Scholarly Community

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pp. 21-35

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...

APPENDIX 1: A Chronology of Format Changes in the Writing Lab Newsletter, 1977–2003

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pp. 36-39

APPENDIX 2: Subscription Fees and Subscriber Base of WLN (1977–2001)

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pp. 40

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2: IN THE SPIRIT OF SERVICE: Making Writing Center Research a “Featured Character”

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pp. 41-57

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 “hot-houses of knowledge making,” acknowledging the tremendous amount of understanding about literacy that develops as one works in a writing...

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3: WRITING CENTER ASSESSMENT: Searching for the “Proof” of Our Effectiveness

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pp. 58-73

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...

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4: SEPARATION, INITIATION, AND RETURN: Tutor Training Manuals and Writing Center Lore

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pp. 74-95

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...

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pp. 96-113

“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...

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6: BREATHING LESSONS: or Collaboration is . . .1

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pp. 114-129

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...

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7: (RE)SHAPING THE PROFESSION: Graduate Courses in Writing Center Theory, Practice, and Administration

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pp. 130-150

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...

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pp. 151-165

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...

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9: AN IDEAL WRITING CENTER: Re-Imagining Space and Design

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pp. 166-175

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...


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pp. 176

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10: MENTORING IN ELECTRONIC SPACES: Using Resources to Sustain Relationships

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pp. 177-189

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...


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pp. 190-196


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pp. 197-210


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pp. 211-216


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pp. 217-219

E-ISBN-13: 9780874214840
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874215700

Publication Year: 2003