Events

Call for Papers




The Future of Writing Centers 


Ollscoil Luimnigh, Luimneach, Éire (University of Limerick, Ireland), June 11-14, 2024


The platform for the submission of abstracts can be found here.


The deadline for the submission for abstracts has been extended to February 19, 2024, 17:00 pm Irish Standard Time


The European Writing Centers Association (EWCA) is pleased to announce the 2024 EWCA Conference to be held on June 11th – 14th, 2024, at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Concurring with the 40th anniversary of Stephen North’s “idea of a writing center” (1984), the upcoming EWCA conference invites participants to take stock of regional and transnational directions in writing center research or practice and reimagine their futures. How have local practices or narratives impacted regional ‘Ideas’ of a writing center? And what might the future of writing centers look like in your center, region, or transnationally? We would like to invite EWCA members, affiliates and writing/writing center scholars world-wide to contribute to this year’s theme with research- and practice-based presentations, workshops, roundtables, performances, multimedia gallery submissions, and pecha kuchas. In addition to opportunities to network and exchange ideas informally, EWCA2024 will open spaces, time slots and other possibilities to meet within special interest groups.

The Living Bridge spanning the River Shannon connects the University of Limerick south campus in County Limerick with the north campus in County Clare.

Almost fifteen years have passed since Tracy Santa (2009), co-founder of the EWCA, reflected on his experience as a writing center administrator at the American University of Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad, as he struggled to reconcile the advice of US tutor training manuals with the local institutional and cultural contexts in Europe. A year earlier, Elizabeth Boquet and Neal Lerner (2008) examined the outsized influence of Stephen North’s (1984) “The Idea of a Writing Center,” which no longer aligned with writing center research and practice. Five years later, Jackie Grutch McKinney (2013) extended this debate, criticizing the “writing center grand narrative,” namely that writing centers are “cozy homes,” “iconoclastic,” and places that tutor “all students” (pp. 3-4), asking us to examine who these “ideas” of a writing center include and what practices or reimaginings they exclude. Recent studies of first-generation students, speakers of English as another language, and working-class students, for example, show that common writing center practices do not necessarily serve all students equally well (e.g., Bond, 2019; Denny, Nordlof & Salem, 2018; Eckstein, 2019; Salazar 2021; Salem 2016).


What assumptions or narratives are embedded in everyday practices, including the ones your writing center holds dear?


This conference invites participants to re-assess existing narratives that impact on writing center policies and practices and envisage new ideas of what writing centers could become in the future.


Possible questions to explore include but are not limited to the following:


Looking Back to Look Forward


  • Are there “writing center grand narratives” informing the research and practice of European Writing Centers–or specific countries or regions inside Europe or beyond? What are these narratives? Where do they come from? Whom do they serve? And what does a critical engagement with them help us see and reimagine? 
  • How are writing centers or professionals adapting theory from the transnational conversation in writing studies to develop or refine local practice (e.g., Carlsson & Guststafsson 2017; Cleary, Graham, Jeanneau & O’Sullivan 2009; Dreyfürst, Liebetanz & Voigt 2018; Girgensohn & Sennewald 2012; O’Brien, Tighe-Mooney & Farrell 2017; O’Sullivan & Cleary 2012, 2014; O’Sullivan, Tighe-Mooney, Lenihan & Farrell 2017)
  • Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle define threshold concepts as “concepts critical for continued learning and participation in an area or within a community of practice” (Adler-Kassner and Wardler 2015, p. 2). What is a “threshold concept,” or influential understanding, in writing or writing center practice in your local context that may be unknown–or understood differently–outside of your context or region? What about this understanding is distinct and worth sharing?
  • What is your “idea” of a writing center? And how is it reflected in an innovative practice in your writing center research, tutoring, faculty or staff development, teaching, or institutional work? 
  • How have the internationalization of Anglo-American higher education policies and practices (Donahue 2008, p. 538), the funding of international writing centers by US government entities or universities (Broekhoff, 2014), and/or other regional policies or institutional narratives shaped writing center research or practice in your local context? 
  • To what extent do transnational educational policies and frameworks (e.g., Okuda 2019;  Zajda 2018) or national or transnational professional organizations, inform how your writing center teachers or tutors writing, conducts research, or communicates the “value” of its work? 
  • What is the “genesis” story of your writing center–or a program or initiative within it? What surprising insights can others gain from hearing your story?
  • What surprising or perhaps less widely known disciplinary concept or framework do you find helpful for theorizing writing center research or practice?


Writing Center Futures


  • How are new technologies, like large language models and generative artificial intelligence, changing the stories we will need to tell about the teaching and tutoring of writing? What practices or research are being developed, or need to be developed, in the wake of these changes?
  • What should the future of writing center work–in Europe or in your region or local context–look like? Which theories or principles should inform this work?
  • How are global crises such as climate change, displacement, war, rising social inequality, and inflation affecting writing center practice? What new practices or theoretical approaches are being developed in your center, or need to be developed further, to support students, faculty, and/or ourselves on our campuses?
  • How is scholarship in translingualism, critical race theory, gender studies, or disability studies  informing writing center practices or narratives now and in the future? 
  • How is your writing center supporting student or faculty wellbeing amidst the rising incidence of student and faculty mental health challenges and the growing economic precarity of students in Europe and elsewhere? What theoretical models or practices have proven useful?
  • How have you worked to decolonize your writing center? What are you learning? What new futures are you working towards?
  • Which theoretical, disciplinary, or group perspectives are currently missing or underrepresented in writing center theory or practice in Europe or your region? What does including this perspective help us see?



These are only some possible questions. Other questions appropriate to the theme are encouraged.


Deadline for submissions extended to February 19, 2024, 17:00 IST


Submissions for the conference now being accepted here.


Submission Details:


Your abstract should correspond to the following criteria:

  • 250-300 words
  • an informative title
  • information on the chosen type of session (individual presentation, panel, roundtable workshop, multimodal gallery presentation, pecha kucha, or special interest group)
  • information on the chosen strand/subtopic
  • list of relevant scholarly sources
  • the names and e-mail-addresses of the contributors
  • English is the preferred language of the conference, but in the interest of inclusivity, the EWCA welcomes those would feel more comfortable presenting in another language. 

Please submit your proposals to the Abstract Management system (to be provided in the first week of November, 2023)!


Important Dates: The final deadline for the submission of abstracts is January 29, 2024. You will be informed about the acceptance of your contribution by late February. 


Submissions Types:


  • Performance: a creative performance employing visual, aural, and/or gestural modes that comments on or provides an example of how writing center work reflects and/or engages in multiplicities. 
  • Individual Presentation (20 minutes): an individual scholarly presentation that the conference planners will combine with 2 other individual presentations in a session focused on a common theme.
  • Panel (90 minutes): 3 thematically linked sessions proposed all together as a panel
  • Roundtable (90 minutes): a conversation about a topic aligned with the conference theme and focusing questions that feature participants with different approaches or perspectives. 
  • Workshop (90 minutes): a workshop that engages participants in active learning around an issue related to the conference theme.
  • Multimodal Gallery Submission: posters, comics, photos, video essays, podcasts, etc., that will be displayed at the conference and shared on the conference app. 
  • Pecha Kucha (5 minutes): a five-minute presentation highlighting an innovative practice or research insight. 
  • Special Interest Group (SIG): a focused conversation about a specific topic or affinity group related to writing center work.
  • Work-in-Progress: a piece that is preliminary that you’d like feedback on from other writing center scholars


Categories: You’ll be asked to mark at least one of the following categories if your proposal is accepted.


  • Administration
  • Assessment 
  • Collaboration(s)
  • DEI/Social Justice
  • ESOL/Multilingual tutoring/Translingual tutoring
  • Methods
  • Theory
  • Tutor Education/Training
  • Tutoring Graduate Students
  • Tutoring Undergraduate Students
  • WAC/WID
  • Writing Fellows/Embedded tutoring


Works Cited


Bond, C. (2019). “I Need Help on Many Things Please”: A Case Study Analysis of First-Generation College Students’ Use of the Writing Center. The Writing Center Journal, 37(2), 161–194. 

Boquet, E. H., & Lerner, N. (2008). After" The idea of a writing center". College English, 71(2), 170-189.

Denny, H., Nordlof, J., & Salem, L. (2018). “Tell me exactly what it was that I was doing that was so bad”: Understanding the Needs and Expectations of Working-Class Students in Writing Centers. The Writing Center Journal, 37(1), 67–100. 

Donahue, T. (2008). Cautionary tales: Ideals and realities in Twenty-First-Century higher education. Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture, 8(3), 537-553.

Donahue, C. (2016) The ‘Trans’ in Transnational-Translingual: Rhetorical and Linguistic Flexibility as New Norms. Composition studies. 44 (1), 147–150.

Eckstein, G. (2019). Directiveness in the Center: L1, L2, and Generation 1.5 Expectations and Experiences. The Writing Center Journal, 37(2), 61–92. 

Salazar, J. J. (2021). The Meaningful and Significant Impact of Writing Center Visits on College Writing Performance. The Writing Center Journal, 39(1/2), 55–96. 

Salem, L. (2016). Decisions...Decisions: Who Chooses to Use the Writing Center? The Writing Center Journal, 35(2), 147–171. 

Santa, T. (2009). Writing center tutor training: What is transferable across academic cultures. Zeitschrift Schreiben, 22(7), 1-6.








The European Writing Centers Association (EWCA) is organizing the European Writing Centers Week (EWCW) for the first time.


European Writing Centers Week is an excellent opportunity for the writing center professionals to connect virtually and celebrate writing centers’ important roles in academic contexts.

 

Follow the QR Code in the Schedule below and find links to each event. Participation is free!



On behalf of the EWCA Board,board@writingcenters.eu

 


 

Hold these dates: May 22-26, 2023. The EWCA SI is coming to the American University of Armenia in Yerevan! Sign up now!


EWCA SI webpage here

Writing Centers as Spaces of Empowerment

University of Graz (Austria), July 6-9, 2022

 

Writing Center Work and Empowerment


Higher education is widely perceived as a promise of empowerment: It is assumed that access to new fields of knowledge and new social and cultural practices will empower students in higher education to successfully acculturate into and participate in their chosen discipline-specific communities of practice. In higher education institutes without dedicated writing programs, ensuring that promise of empowerment often falls to Writing Centers and various other kinds of student development centers.


Writing centers have to ask themselves what kind of center they want to be: Do they want to interface in live or virtual spaces? Do they want to uncritically teach established formal conventions or invite students to explore the social and political motivations behind those forms? Do they wish to pursue a deficit model? Or do they want to promote a more critical analysis of situated, disciplinary writing practices in third-level education? An Academic Literacies approach requires that writing centers address how teachers and student writers are positioned by the inherently hierarchical social relationships that motivate, even dictate literacy practices in any given disciplinary or institutional context.


In an effort to answer the questions presented in the previous paragraph, we want to keep the following question as our focus at the EWCA Conference 2022:


What can Writing Centers do to make the academic promise of empowerment come true?

In 2020, we already received numerous and inspiring contributions which will encourage interesting discussions during the EWCA 2022 conference.


For information about the Call for Papers, Submission, Registration, the Programme, Travel, Hotel and Covid 19 information and the election of a new EWCA Board, please see the Conference host's website.


Thank you for your patience over the past six years. We look forward to being together again this summer. 


Warmest regards from the current EWCA Board,


Franziska Liebetanz, Doris Pany and Lawrence Cleary



Hosted online by the writing center of the University of Graz (Austria), the theme of the European Writing Centers Association 2022 Conference was ‘Writing Centers as Spaces of Empowerment’, as pointed out by conference host Doris Pany (Graz) in the conference Call for Papers, “Higher education is widely perceived as a promise of empowerment”. Certainly, the romance of writing center work is that we foster competency, and thereby participation, in not only academic discourse but in the wider conversations unique to the democratic process that have consequences for how we govern ourselves, are governed by others and the extent to which we have access to those that govern. We strive to help those who come to us to become better writers, and in an academic context, that means more informed, critical thinkers, in short, good scientists: honest, trust-worthy, fair/balanced and respectful, leading by example, responsibly sustaining standards necessary to the maintenance of the integrity of one’s self as a citizen and a scholar and to the maintenance of the integrity of those institutions of which we regard ourselves as members.


The consensus was that the conference was a great success, probably exceeding everyone’s expectations given that events conspired in the eleventh hour to force what had been a long-anticipated live conference to become what may have understandably been perceived by many as another dreaded online conference. Endless thanks go to Doris’s Conference Organizing Committee: Lisa Wurzinger, Franziska Gürtl and Lukas Georg Hartleb, as well as those less visible but none-the-less diligent Sigrid Schneck and Katharina Deman. The conference ran so flawlessly, it was easy to forget that it was totally online. It was a wonderful experience. The idea of utilizing an online networking app at the end of the day was just icing on what was already a rich, satisfyingly flavourful cake.


The flawlessness of the delivery only made the quality of the content more apparent. For three days, 3 keynote presentations, 38 presentations, 5 workshops, 6 roundtables, 3 networking sessions and a number of Pecha Kuchas and posters addressed the empowerment of students, tutors, subject specialists, writing center directors, writing centers themselves and even the empowerment realized by retired writing center directors. All these sessions were attended and carried by 165 international participants including 48 students. The many approaches and strategies for the achievement of empowerment presented in these various forms of engagement are testament to the accuracy of Brad Hughes’ categorical breakdown, in his keynote presentation, of the writing center expertise and commitment on which writing centers are built. Approaches and strategies for empowerment included academic literacies approaches, other linguistic approaches, genre analysis, social strategies such as writers’ groups and retreats, collaborative writing, contrastive language strategies, translingual approaches, “small-teaching” and “working alliance” approaches and the use of actor-network theory and “writing as liberation”. Equally impressive and edifying were the number of marginalized groups treated: international students, other language learners, at-risk students, first-year/transitioning students, multilingual students and neuro-diverse students. Empowerment through the engagement with the emotional labor of writing, an often-neglected area, was addressed as was tutor-led writing centers, Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) and Peer Assisted Learning programs as agents for empowerment of both subject specialists and students. Finally, the issue of sustaining pedagogical integrity, particularly in the face of the corporatization of higher education, and Brad Hughes’ talk on “connectivism” spoke to the empowerment of writing centers themselves. Beside this variety of perspectives on empowerment, the conference also engaged with the very future of the EWCA itself. In the general assembly the EWCA members discussed their goals for the upcoming years and elected a new Executive Board for the period 2022-2024.


It is our hope that as we move away from our experience of the EWCA 2022 Conference toward the next biennial conference in 2024, those who heard Brad’s presentation will reflect on his ethical stance on writing centers, that they should be pedagogical workshops, continually experimenting, challenging unexamined assumptions, adapting to new contexts for writing and for teaching writing, engaging in plenty of “epistemic trespassing”.


Thank you all, members and non-members alike, for your patience, participation, comraderie and encouragment. 


Best wishes from the EWCA 2020 Organizing Committee at schreibzentrum.uni-graz.at 


Doris Pany, Leiterin des Schreibzentrums

Lucas Hartleb, Mitarbeiter des Schreibzentrums

Franziska Gürtl, Mitarbeiter des Schreibzentrums

Lisa Wurzinger, Teamassistenz, treffpunkt sprachen - Zentrum für Sprache, Plurilingualismus und Fachdidaktik


UNIVERSITÄT GRAZ, Österreich


EWCA Conference 2022 – A Post-Conference Round Up

July 6th to July 8th, 2022