Five Present at SCWCA
February 26, 2015
On February 13-14, Angelo State University Writing Center administrators and the three Graduate Assistants attended the annual South Central Writing Centers Association (SCWCA) Conference in Austin. SCWCA is an arm of the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA) and includes institutions from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
The presentation was titled “Navigating the Changes in Developmental Education: The Benefits of Incorporating Writing Center Tutors in a Paired Course.” Katie Jones, Writing Center Coordinator, introduced the panel of presenters and provided historical information concerning the sweeping changes in developmental education in Texas and ways in which Angelo State University has interpreted and responded to those changes, including placing Writing Center tutors in the developmental English classes during the enrichment labs.
Citing research from the journal Researching and Teaching in Developmental Education, graduate student Blanca Ruiz then discussed the needs of developmental students and how those needs are markedly different from college-ready English 1301 students’ needs.
Next, graduate student Kiah Rhea discussed the benefits to developmental students of having tutors in the classes. She explained that the tutors function as another resource for academic support and that, because of their peer status, 1301T students perceive them as being allies. Kiah drew upon research presented at a National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) conference to support her argument.
Graduate student Justin Hall then discussed the benefits the tutors receive from working in the 1301T labs. He explained that the experience had proven valuable in their preparation to becoming Teaching Assistants in that they have been able to engage in a collaborative, interpersonal, and individualized pedagogy. Justin cited the Writing Center Journal and the Writing Lab Newsletter to support his claims.
Marcie Puckitt, Assistant Coordinator of the Writing Center, concluded the presentation by showing a videoed interview with Cindy Burkhalter and Laura Behrens during which they discussed ways in which instructors have benefited from having tutors come into their classes. Marcie summarized our presentation, noting that tutors in the 1301T classes have furthered the goals of developmental students, tutors, and instructors, and that as policies and practices change in composition instruction, writing centers must also evolve and respond to those changes.
Future plans are to convert this presentation into a paper over the coming summer and submit it for publication to the Writing Center Journal and the Writing Lab Newsletter, a widely-distributed publication that focuses on the exchange of ideas and information about writing centers in institutions of higher education.