Collaboration. It may just be the most influential concept for writing center work. Administrators assign readings with it in the title; tutors use it to describe their sessions; faculty (if we do our job well) understand it to be the foundational principle behind student/tutor interactions. Collaboration is the cement that holds the whole structure together. It is powerful. But we wonder, have we become so comfortable and familiar with the term that it has lost some of its resonance?
Writing center work is collaborative in a synergistic way. The interaction of the reader and writer produces energy and ideas that are greater than either would have created alone. Moreover, we know that when they leave the writing center, tutors bring skills highly valued in many settings; they are able to listen closely to the ideas of others, they can facilitate the development of those ideas, and they welcome feedback and value reflection. Innovation in industry, arts and sciences is often born of this kind of synergy. What can writing centers learn from collaborations outside the university? What knowledge and practices can we share out from the writing center that would contribute to innovation? When peer tutors leave the writing center and join professional communities, how do the unique skills writing center collaboration fosters transfer to those new spaces?