The Everyday Writing Center
Anne Ellen Geller, Michele Eodice, Frankie Condon, Meg Carroll, Elizabeth H. Boquet
The five authors administer writing centers and academic programs at Clark University, the University of Oklahoma, St. Cloud State University, Rhode Island College, and Fairfield University. They have served as officers in the International Writing Centers Association, the Midwest Writing Centers Association, and the Northeast Writing Centers Association. They are active in the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing.
These five have been nominated for or received several outstanding teaching and scholarship awards and teach a variety of writing, writing center theory and practice, and literature classes.
In addition, they have published in a number of journals and edited collections, including College Composition and Communication, Writing on the Edge, Composition Studies, Issues in Writing, Journal of Faculty Development, The Writing Center Journal, College Teaching, Stories from the Center, The Center Will Hold, Writing Groups Inside and Outside the Classroom, Centers for Learning: Writing Centers and Libraries in Collaboration, The Writing Center Resource Manual, Genre Across the Curriculum and Writing Center Research: Extending the Conversation, Creative Approaches to Writing Center Work. They have written two books, Noise from the Writing Center and (First Person)2: A Study of Co-Authoring in the Academy, both of which were published by Utah State University Press.
The Everyday Writing Center
A Community of Practice
Also by Geller & Eodice - Working with Faculty Writers
Also by Eodice - (First Person)2
The sophistication of its theoretical positions, and the range of sources on which the authors draw, position this book at the vanguard of the field's scholarship.
What impresses me most about their argument is not that writing centers need to stop being so rigid and time-bound and apolitical, but that writing centers occupy a unique space in the academy that might encourage authentic communities of learners, writers, peer tutors, faculty, and staff. The Everyday Writing Center provides a way to think about this ambition.
The Everyday Writing Center challenges some of the most comfortable traditions in its field, and it does so with a commitment and persuasiveness that one seldom sees in scholarly discussion. The book, at its core, is an argument for a new writing center consciousness--one that makes the most of the writing center's unique, and uniquely fluid, identity.
Writing center specialists live with a liminality that has been acknowledged but not fully explored in the literature. Their disciplinary identity is with the English department, but their mission is cross-disciplinary; their research is pedagogical, but they often report to central administration. Their education is in humanities, but their administrative role demands constant number-crunching. This fluid identity explains why Trickster--an icon of spontaneity, shape-shifting, and the creative potential of chaos--has come to be a favorite cultural figure for the authors of this book.
Adapting Lewis Hyde and others, these authors use Trickster to develop a theme of ordinary disruptions ("the everyday") as a source of provocative learning moments that can liberate both student writers and writing center staff. At the same time, the authors parlay Etienne Wenger's concept of "community of practice" into an ethos for a dynamic, learner-centered pedagogy that is especially well-suited to the peculiar teaching situation of the writing center.
Through Trickster, they question not only accepted approaches to writing center pedagogy, but conventional approaches to race, time, leadership, and collaboration as well. They encourage their field to exploit the creative potential in ordinary events that are normally seen as disruptive or defeating, and they challenge traditions in the field that tend to isolate a writing center director from the department and campus.
Yet all is not random, for the authors anchor this high-risk/high-yield approach in their commitment to a version of Wenger's community of practice. Conceiving of themselves, their colleagues, student writers, and student tutors as co-learners engaged together in a dynamic life of learning, the authors find a way to ground the excess and randomness of the everyday, while advancing an ethic of mutual respect and self-challenge.
Committed to testing a region beyond the edge of convention, the authors of The Everyday Writing Center constantly push themselves and their field toward deeper, more significant research, and more reflective, dynamic teaching.
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