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Cooks in the kitchen: promoting writing center research through collaboration
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Cooks in the kitchen: promoting writing center research through collaboration

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Writing centers (WCs) can promote WC research by strengthening relationships with a number of institutional stakeholders, especially course professors and institutional effectiveness (IE) staff, who …

Writing centers (WCs) can promote WC research by strengthening relationships with a number of institutional stakeholders, especially course professors and institutional effectiveness (IE) staff, who are not often directly involved in WC processes. Intentional collaboration between WCs, IE staff, and course professors would broaden the influence of WCs on college campuses. Collaboration with a broader institutional constituency would encourage students and WC consultants alike to think on an interdisciplinary level through writing-center-hosted workshops conducted by professors from diverse areas of study. These workshops would introduce students and consultants to different methods for discipline-specific research, which would broaden students’ perspectives on the potentials for research projects afforded by thinking across disciplines. Collaboration would benefit course professors by helping their students adapt more proficiently to requisite research methods and writing conventions in their disciplines. Collaboration with IE staff would facilitate program assessment of institutional core competencies by setting the WC at the locus of interdisciplinary and administrative dialogue. IE staff should thus be able to use WC data to gauge larger trends in student growth to change and improve larger institutional processes. Overall, promoting research through collaboration between institutional stakeholders achieves three specific outcomes: 1) it engages professors, WC consultants, and student-writers in a deliberately different research perspectives; 2) it encourages higher-order thinking during individual consultations by getting students and consultants to think on a more interdisciplinary level; and 3) it involves the WC on an institutional level with respect to the school’s core competencies.

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  • 1. COOKS IN THE KITCHEN Promoting Writing Center Research through Collaboration A presentation by Bryce Hantla (bhantla@sebts.edu) for The North Carolina Writing Center Network Conference Greensboro, NC November 16th, 2012
  • 2. A LESSON FROM NATURE Boxer Crab (Lybia edmondsoni) Sea Anemoni (Triactis producta)
  • 3. MUTUALISTIC SYMBIOSIS IN THE UNIVERSITY Faculty Administration (IE Staff) Students Writing Center Staff
  • 4. MUTUALISTIC SYMBIOSIS IN THE UNIVERSITY Faculty Administration (IE Staff) University Writing Center Staff Students
  • 5. INSTITUTIONAL-LEVEL INVOLVEMENT Getting to know the mind of your effectiveness administrator • Action Research: • Content Analysis: • Survey Research: • Phenomenological Research: • Experimental Research:
  • 6. HOW CAN WCS FACILITATE IE RESEARCH?
  • 7. THE PAYOFF • Recognition: WCs become more widely recognized as a rich source of qualitative and quantitative data. • Funding: Leverage for more funding once IE staff recognize the potential data-gathering that may take place in WCs • Resources: More funding might mean better resources or more personnel in the WC itself, depending on your needs/projected needs • Alignment: Better institutional alignment due to more constituencies being involved on an institutional level • What other benefits might WCs receive from this partnership?
  • 8. FACULTY "Your planet is very beautiful," [said the little prince]. "Has it any oceans?" "I couldn't tell you," said the geographer . . . . "But you are a geographer!" "Exactly," the geographer said. "But I am not an explorer. I haven't a single explorer on my planet. It is not the geographer who goes out to count the towns, the rivers, the mountains, the seas, the oceans, and the deserts. The geographer is much too important to go loafing about. He does not leave his desk." Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince, pp. 63-64) Illustration from The Little Prince
  • 9. IN WHAT WAYS CAN WCS FACILITATE INTERDISCIPLINARY DIALOGUE?
  • 10. STUDENTS
  • 11. HOW ELSE DO YOU SEE INTER-DISCIPLINARY DIALOGUE AS BEING BENEFICIAL FOR STUDENTS?
  • 12. PARTING THOUGHTS 1. Who do you want to work with? 2. Define the problem early and often 3. Understand the sociology of different epistemological frameworks 4. Communicate openly about strengths and weaknesses 5. Approach others with humility

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