By Scott Whiddon, Rusty Carpenter, and Kevin Dvorak, the co-editors of the Praxis Special Double Issue on Course-Embedded Writing Support Programs in Writing Centers, which was released today.
Our collective story started as a conversation: three directors talking about the work of their centers, their tutors, and developments on their respective campuses. Like the work that takes place in many of our writing centers, we began to see the intersections and gaps of our work and the potential for our programs to make meaningful impacts on our campuses.
Through this early conversation, we saw that we were at three distinct yet related places in our own conversations on our own campuses: a campus where course-embedded tutoring is a central part of the culture of the writing center, a campus that is piloting a course-embedded program, and a campus that could benefit a great deal from course-embedded work. The conversations continued and grew into pilots, studies, and continued conversation, converging through conversations via email and meetings at conferences, and then diverging productively when we implemented the programs on our campuses. Through this process, we realized there was so much more to be said and we set out to include more voices, along with our own, in the conversation. Thus, we proposed a guest-edited special issue of Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, and what an honor and joy it has been to be part of this chapter in the journal’s history!
Each of us came to the project with shared questions: How do we define “course-embedded peer-to-peer writing support programs?” How do we best prepare such staffers for collaboration and creativity? How do we justify such programs to our administrators -- as well as to faculty? And, perhaps most importantly: how have such programs developed since On Location was published in 2005? We were incredibly impressed with the response to our call, the quality of proposals we received, and the quality of articles published in this issue. This issue includes case studies as well as theoretical queries. It includes a range of locations: community colleges, small liberal arts schools, regional comprehensives, and research institutions -- with contributions from top-flight graduate students as well as seasoned professionals.
What’s perhaps most exciting, though, is this: like writing center work at large, this story is far from complete. Through reading the set of essays contained in this special (double) issue of Praxis, we encourage others to weave their own narratives, looking for the intersections like we did, and adding to it in productive ways that further the conversation. We hope you enjoy both the issue and the blog contributions here from select contributors over the next few weeks.
[Accompanying image by Jay Farris]