As we prepare to publish another issue of Praxis this week, we're thinking about time. As editors, we think about time in terms of deadlines, publication schedules, author time-to-publication, and upcoming projects, all of which are fairly discrete, tidy units. Someone has to do something by a certain moment, or in a series of certain moments, and as editors our job is to be that someone or to assist that someone, and to hold the timeclock. It's a little like a race, and just like at the end of a race, we're a little tired, a little sweaty, and a little proud right now.Read More
We’re no longer in the cruelest month. (For those of us whose circadian rhythms move according to the academic calendar, April could also be described as a month-long inhalation before the semester furiously exhales.) Instead, we’re knee-deep in the weeds of writing those final essays.Read More
It’s often said that our failures provide the best opportunities for learning in life. When we fail, we’re confronted by a question and a decision. What happened, and what will I do to improve for next time? The way we proceed from there has big ramifications for our successes and failures down the road.Read More
Today marks the exact middle of the month immortalized as the cruelest by T.S. Eliot—at least within the world(s) of Anglophone letters. While UT-Austin’s undergraduate population may disagree with everything else Eliot wrote, the ever-increasing hustle and bustle of the UWC (University Writing Center) suggests they’d likely agree with “The Waste Land’s” opening line.Read More
“So what brings you into the writing center today?” “Well, I’m not a very good writer…” Of the first exchanges I have with students visiting the writing center, some version of the above is what I hear perhaps most frequently.Read More
This week, as the national conversation about systemic racial violence continues, we think about what it means for our institution and for our work.
At his 2005 keynote address at the IWCA/NCPTW conference, Victor Villanueva earned a standing ovation for his call for increased attention to race in the writing center. Within weeks, as Laura Greenfield and Karen Rowan report in Writing Centers and the New Racism, the conversation was reduced to silence.
Racism, write Greenfield and Rowan, is shaped by silence. As Villanueva remarked, "if we no longer speak of 'racism,' racism gets ignored." There are many appropriate responses to the events in Ferguson and Staten Island, but silence, we think, is not one of them.Read More
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