FROM THE EDITORS: WRITING CENTERS AT THE CROSSROADS
Elizabeth Goins & Frederick Coye Heard
This latest issue of Praxis comes on the heels of the University of Texas at Austin Undergraduate Writing Center’s 20th Anniversary and Symposium. This weekend-long event featured nearly thirty individual and panel presentations from writing center practitioners discussing the changing future of writing centers—technologically, theoretically, pedagogically, administratively, and globally. And although we did not issue a formal call for themed submission this issue, the focus articles and columns here all reflect that changes for writing centers are certainly on the horizon; figuring the ways to merge traditions of the past with practices for the future place writing centers in the U.S. and abroad at a crossroads.
Good and Barganier offer first-hand perspectives on navigating the difficult terrains of departmental politics and university funding for a new writing intern program. These challenges are certainly not new, but finding innovative and collaborative ways to bridge political divides and benefit students increasingly falls at the feet of writing center administrators. LeCluyse, Moore, and Sloan all examine the validity of traditional writing center theory and pedagogy through the lens of current day-to-day practices. Kavadlo and Rosser Raign both argue that despite general skepticism, online writing tutoring can have communicative benefits for students and tutors alike. Simpson and Phillips combine new and old approaches to supporting diverse populations of graduate student writers, with Simpson focusing on students from science and engineering and Phillips on multilingual writers. Olson and Chang also center their discussions on tutoring multilingual writers; Olson questions the ethical responsibilities of teaching these students, while Chang provides an overview of writing centers in Taiwan public universities. Rihn and Sloan round out the focus articles by examining, through a queer theory lens, how traditional writing center practices are affected by shifting individual identities. Finally, Davis, Gannon, and Bitzel—our three column authors—provide valuable insights on how writing center administrators are adapting theoretical and practical traditions to the moving targets of what constitutes a “writing center” in today’s educational landscape.
With the largest number of submissions in Praxis history, this issue also represents a shift in our journal. Since transitioning to a peer-review format last fall, both the scope and size of our featured content has grown immensely. This would not be possible without our tireless team of editorial staff, as well as our invaluable editorial board; we thank you. As we pass the baton to next year’s managing editors, Jacob Pietsch and Sarah Orem, we look forward to continuing the discussion about the future of both Praxis and writing center work.