From the Editor: Perspective on the Writing Center
University of Texas at Austin
This summer, Praxis is proud to bring you a collection of articles that ask us both to expand and to examine our perspectives on the writing center and writing center work. This is a discipline that is rooted in practice and embedded in particular communities, which means that we are uniquely suited to considering how those particular communities and the experiences we have in the writing centers they serve can teach us. We can gain both strength and flexibility from critically examining experiences from places and from situations that we have not yet encountered, and we have the opportunity to consider whether we may have encountered situations that we did not yet know how to notice.
We begin with Roxanne Zech’s reflection on the particular challenges and opportunities presented by working with d/Deaf students in the writing center, and the necessity of creating not just an accessible space, but well-designed tutor training programs to facilitate this work and to include these students.
Next, William De Herder gives a critical examination of the history and design of the Michigan Technological University writing centers, focusing on how the centers have changed during their life, and on the significance of those changes. Ultimately, De Herder suggests, this kind of critical history can point the way forward to designing versatile, resilient writing centers for the future.
Barbara Rau Kyle then asks us to consider the needs of primarily non-native speakers of English, particularly in terms of serving graduate students who are also multilingual writers. This situation becomes all the more relevant, Kyle argues, as research and publication have become more globalized.
We then move to Kastner et al.’s collaborative, RAD study of course-embedded tutoring in a criminological theory course. In this piece, not only do the authors find evidence for the effectiveness of course-embedded tutoring, but, even more, they find compelling reasons to argue for greater collaboration in our work and in our research across the disciplines. Their study presents a case, too, for continuing to meet the call for RAD research in our own discipline.
Jing Zhang closes our issue with a review of Mark Hall’s, Around the Texts of Writing Center Work: An Inquiry-Based Approach to Tutor Education, finding it a valuable text for any writing center director hoping to build not only an effective support center, but a learning community.
Finally, we include our Call for Papers for our Spring 2019 special issue (submission deadline approaching soon!) on Race in the Writing Center, which includes our collaboration with Dr. Mick Howard of Langston University and Dr. Karen Keaton Jackson of North Carolina Central University as co-editors.
We here at Praxis are proud to share these explorations with our readers, and we look forward to the conversations these pieces will join or begin. We look forward, too, to our next year of submissions, and to tackling new situations and new challenges with you, our colleagues.