MAWCA’s annual conference strengthens regional writing center connections. We share and learn from each other’s practices and consider how local context shapes each of our centers. How do our centers affect the people and structures of our campuses and local communities? How do they, in turn, affect us? Our awareness of local conditions, opportunities, and limitations enables us to think critically about our day-to-day work. Yet we know from our experiences as writing consultants–and writers ourselves–that “global concerns” are just as important as “local concerns.” Drafts evolve as we shift our focus from word to sentence to paragraph to whole text and back again across a spectrum of fluctuating priorities; language and literacy evolves as writers navigate between communities, identities, and power structures.
In the same spirit of attending simultaneously to local and global concerns that we bring to our tutoring, this year’s conference theme, “The Global Writing Center,” invites us to reflect on our writing centers within a global context and from a global perspective. We will gather in March to name, formalize, and share the ways in which our work is multilingual and international and to imagine what a global, Mid-Atlantic writing center can be.
So, with that in mind, what does it mean to view one’s center as a “global writing center”? In what ways are our centers already international, multilingual, and/or translingual spaces? In addition to incorporating linguistically diverse perspectives in our conferences, how else can we enrich our spaces to reflect these perspectives? How do we normalize the perception of the writing center as an international, translingual space and challenge misperceptions of some faculty, administrators, and students? What are our aspirations? In what ways are we falling short, and what can we do about it?
Which definitions of global, international, and translingual have you adopted in your work and why? What are the consequences for your theoretical framework of choosing one term or definition over another? Which scholars or theories have influenced the global perspective that you bring to your work at the writing center? What are some points of productive friction or complementarity among writing center scholarship adopting different methodologies: e.g., postcolonial, second-language writing, linguistics, feminist? What are potential risks, challenges, and negative consequences of globalization on writing center work?
What is the role of writing centers in fostering language diversity? What does ‘“translanguaging” look like on the page or sound like during conferences? How do you foster linguistic justice and linguistic diversity in your center? What strategies and practices does your center employ around the discussions of standard English language? What languages do you incorporate when tutoring writing in modern languages (languages other than English)? What about your space (posters, flyers, signage, etc.) is or could be displayed to make it a more inclusive environment?
Which elements of your identity or experience inform your writing center work and how? How do your language skills or lack thereof affect your tutoring practice and the kind of training you need? What aspects of your identity contribute to fostering a global writing center? What aspects of your identity are not yet associated with your center and how might you and your colleagues rectify this? What about the identities of your tutees: which students feel a sense of belonging, which don’t, and why? How is or could your center be more inclusive to all identities?
What alliances and relationships do we need to build in order to facilitate the global, international, or translingual aspects of our work? How do directors train tutors to tutor in languages that the directors don’t know? What kind of training and theoretical frameworks best prepare tutors to work at a writing center with a global perspective?
What are your present goals for your writing center? What are you excited about in the coming year? How have former mentors and writing centers influenced your new work? What does your center do or what could it do to support undocumented writers or to foreground the voices of international students or naturalized citizens?
What is the evolutionary history of your writing center? Which stories need to be told? What changes do you anticipate at your institution or in your career trajectory? What effect do you imagine that writing center pedagogy will have on students as they prepare for future global economics and political discourse? As most academic institutions are grappling with their own colonizing, racist, and monolingual practices, how do we, as writing centers, join the efforts of employing restorative practices in our institution and region?
Panel Presentation (3-4 presenters, 10-15 minutes per presenter + discussion)
Individual Presentation (15 minutes)
Research In Progress Forum (20-30 minute presentation)
Forums are for researchers who intend to eventually publish
their work or present at a national or international scholarly
conference. A maximum of three research projects–or ideally, only one
or two–will be scheduled during a single session so that presenters can
receive detailed feedback on their research design, the data that
they’ve accumulated so far, or portions of their drafts.
Roundtable Discussion (60 minutes)
Workshop (60 minutes)
your proposal, please be specific about the learning or professional
development outcomes of the roundtable discussion or workshop. Provide a detailed plan and
describe any materials or handouts that will be used.
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Glushko, Tatiana, and Kathi R. Griffin. “Conversation in the Writing Center: Developing Student Rhetorical Awareness, Critical Thinking, and Translingual Dispositions.” Redefining Liberal Arts Education in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Robert E. Luckett, University Press of Mississippi, 2021, pp.133-151.
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Zhao, Yelin. “Student Interactions with a Native Speaker Tutor and a Nonnative Speaker Tutor at an American Writing Center.” Writing Center Journal, vol. 36, no. 2, 2017, pp. 57-87.