On Retaining Highly Qualified Directors in College and University Writing Centers

On Retaining Highly Qualified Directors in College and University Writing Centers

Today we have asked Dawn Fels, Clint Gardner, Maggie Herb, and Liliana M. Naydan to comment on recent administrative decisions related to specific writing centers- decisions that have attracted a great deal of attention in the field. We are grateful for their willingness to enunciate their stance with such vigor and clarity. We welcome responses to and elaborations of this post, as we do with all AXIS posts.

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Is There a Reproducibility Crisis in Writing Center Research?

Is There a Reproducibility Crisis in Writing Center Research?

Today a public/private partnership between New America, Arizona State University and the online magazine Slate will hold an event called “Trust But Verify: The Crisis in Biomedicine.” The ‘crisis’ the title refers to results from a recent, widespread realization that important research in the field may be fundamentally flawed, a majority of it impossible to replicate for various reasons. This same crisis is occurring in the field of psychology, causing practitioners to question some of their basic clinical assumptions. An obvious question presents itself: is there a reproducibility crisis in writing center research?

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Behind the Curtain: An Interview with Thomas Spitzer-Hanks

Behind the Curtain: An Interview with Thomas Spitzer-Hanks

This is the transcript of an interview conducted by Dr. Tom Lindsay, an active member of our editorial review board, with Praxis Managing Co-Editor Thomas Spitzer-Hanks. Dr. Lindsay is representing Praxis today at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Houston, Texas and we'd like to thank him for the opportunity to publish this interview.

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The Death of a 'Writing Center'?

The Death of a 'Writing Center'?

Two weeks ago today the North American writing center community was shocked and saddened to hear that the University of British Columbia, one of the largest and oldest universities in Canada, ranked among the 50 most reputable universities in the world by U.S. News & World ReportTimes Higher Education, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities while educating 58,000 students on two campuses that occupy nearly 15,000 acres, plans to close their writing center in September 2016.

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Featured Center: The Writing Center at Mississippi State

Featured Center: The Writing Center at Mississippi State

Today we are restarting another feature from vintage Praxis: the Featured Center. This feature's original purpose was to provide an opportunity for writing centers to share information about their operational practices and the philosophy behind them; today's center, The Writing Center at Mississippi State, has very generously shared a great deal of information that not only offers other centers the opportunity to think critically about their own operational practices but about why those choices were made. AXIS would like to thank Stacy Kastner, Rich Raymond, Kayleigh Few and Sava Kolev for their cooperation. 

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Lamb Kebab in the Writing Center

Lamb Kebab in the Writing Center

This week I received another reminder that there is very little in this hyperconnected world of ours that doesn’t eventually figure in an encounter between writer and writing center consultant. The writing center is the kind of place where a consultation devoted to lamb kebab and the mechanics of writing ends up also being about the difficult, hazardous aspects of human sociality.

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Guns In/And Writing Centers

Guns In/And Writing Centers

By now the internet rage cycle has moved on, but last week a great many people were looking at and talking about a powerpoint slide from a University of Houston Faculty Senate meeting. Aside from the remarkable fact that 1) something exciting and noteworthy happened at a faculty senate meeting, and 2) a powerpoint slide was that ‘something exciting,’ the presentation itself did make some remarkable recommendations. The question is whether these types of recommendations, and the heightened presence of guns on Texas campuses after August 1st, make any difference to writing centers.

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Writing Center Work, Writing Center Labor

Writing Center Work, Writing Center Labor

In Writing Center Studies we have plenty of data, both quantitative and qualitative, on how to best work with writers. Techniques for working with specific populations, ways of theorizing the uniqueness of writing center work in higher education, and strategies for continual improvement are our stock in trade, and over the last fifty years Writing Center Studies has become an academic field characterized by longevity and supported by substantial research. While research on how to best perform writing center work is ongoing, one area of Writing Center Studies has received almost no attention: the labor conditions in which writing center work is done. A new study currently soliciting for participation aims to change that.

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Quantitative vs. Qualitative?

Quantitative vs. Qualitative?

As the field of Writing Center Studies matures and the institutional settings in which the work is done slowly change, there seems to be a research hierarchy emerging - one in which quantitative research is valued over qualitative research. While institutional pressures and the desire to improve writing center efficacy feed into this phenomenon, it remains unclear what is driving the 'quantitative turn' in Writing Center Studies. It is also unclear what, if anything, is lost by it.

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