Building off Mary’s metaphor, I can say that my time at the International Writing Center Association conference brought me in contact with different, equally fascinating writing center kingdoms.
One was the kingdom of writing center outreach to underserved high schools. In a session entitled “It’s a Small World: Creating Collaborative Communities,” Denise Stephenson spoke about the challenges involved in setting up effective collaborations across institutions. High schools have different structures than colleges, different professional jargon, different pressures on teachers (think mandated testing), and different points of entry. This last difference was particularly challenging for Denise, who found herself directed to talk to administrators instead of teachers about the kind of support her consultants could provide. The message got lost along the communication chain, and her first tutors found themselves underutilized—a situation she has since corrected by insisting on meeting with the teachers well before the start of the academic year.Read More