UofL Writing Center

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Archive for the category “Updates”

Community Literacy and the Writing Center: Building Foundations

Amy McCleese Nichols, Assistant Director Amy N

For the past two years, the Writing Center has been working to build a commitment to community literacy into our activities. While writers from all over the university come to us for help with course assignments and beyond, writing centers constantly inhabit a liminal space where personal, academic, and professional writing collide. To honor this fact, we also wanted to expand our offerings to value writing that may happen off-campus, whether connected to higher education or not. While the role of writing centers and community engagement is still relatively new to writing center scholarship, we are excited about the potential benefits that what we might call writing center values, with their focus on listening and building trust over time, may have for the way university entities approach community partnerships.

Amy Picture1In Summer 2015, we began conversations with academic support staff at Family Scholar House to find out how our skills might be of use, and started offering workshops and tutoring hours for student writers on FSH campuses. This year, we expanded those hourly offerings and began allowing some of our trained consultants to volunteer as well. Three accomplishments we are particularly proud of this year:

  • Working in conjunction with Bronwyn Williams’ Spring 2017 Community Literacy course, we have been able to expand our spring hours to offer hours on multiple FSH campuses throughout the week, meeting a long-term FSH goAmy Picture2al of providing more in-house academic support for student writers.
  • Assistant Director Amy McCleese Nichols led families in a set of “Story-Making Workshops” during Fall 2016, which focused on composing for fun using family (or imagined) stories. This 3-day set of workshops had a total attendance of 81 adults, 52 children, and 48 hand-sewn booklets with individualized covers were made for participants to write stories in and take home.
  • This spring, we have also added another community partner: the Western Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. Also working with the Community Literacy course, we are providing writing help every Tuesday for K-12 students.

Throughout these conversations, we have kept several values in play: showing up, listening, and building partnerships gradually for continuity. In Bronwyn’s words, we begin by simply “showing up.” Showing up in our context has meant keeping a sense of flexibility when setting up programs and plans. While we have put time and effort into making sure our work is meeting a need articulated by our partners, we also save room for the moments when no one shows up – and then we show up the week afterward. By building our relationships and a sense of trust gradually, we have found ourselves more able to have conversations when offerings need to change for the mutual benefit of both organizations.

We are also creating logistical structures within the Writing Center to support long-term partnerships. As the first Assistant Director working with community literacy, I brought a unique skill set from my previous work as a nonprofit volunteer coordinator. As I have worked with our partners, I have written manuals, kept records of previous conversations, and passed that knowledge on to other staff in the Writing Center so that our partnerships are not bound entirely to a semester-by-semester schedule. While our offerings and volunteer numbers will ebb and flow over time as partnerships evolve, we hope that having a consistent contact who stays in touch from year-to-year within the university will provide a sense of continuity for us and our partners while also providing opportunities for graduate student assistant directors to gain experience in the logistics of managing partnerships.

We look forward to learning more with Family Scholar House and Western Branch Library. This fall, we are partnering with the English 508: Literacy Tutoring course, taught by Dr. Andrea Olinger. The course will cover teaching writing individually and in small groups in academic, professional, and community contexts, and students that have taken it will be qualified to complete internships and volunteer work through these partnerships.

Ultimately, we hope that what Tiffany Rousculp has termed a “rhetoric of respect” will define our community literacy efforts. By putting our partners’ voices first in the conversation, keeping elements of our partnerships consistent, and strategically partnering with service-learning courses, we look forward to learning more with Family Scholar House and Western Branch Library.




Accessibility and Accommodations in the Writing Center

Layne Gordon, Assistant Directorlayne-g

At the end of last semester, the Writing Center debuted a new page on our website for Accessibility and Accommodations. We are excited to be among the relatively small group of writing centers who have public statements along these lines, and we’d like to take a moment at the beginning of this new semester to account for some of the decisions we made and to address why we think accessibility is an important philosophy for writing centers to adopt.

Although I was responsible for the specific content of the page, the decision-making process was a team effort. As we started brainstorming, we quickly realized that there were a few things that would be central to our approach to accessibility. First, we wanted to communicate the ways in which accessibility is already part of how we think about tutoring writing and the design of our space and resources. For example, we emphasize in our statement that we work with writers at any stage in the writing process. We already work regularly with writers on brainstorming and understanding assignments, and writers with disabilities might find this particularly helpful. I go on to note that our consultants spend time discussing identity and disability in our Writing Center Theory and Practice Course. And, in terms of space and resources, we offer transcripts of our videos, our consultants are currently working on making our handouts screen reader-friendly, and we have a long-standing history of welcoming additional visitors to tutoring sessions such as American Sign Language interpreters and service animals. These are just a few ways that our existing efforts and approaches can be beneficial to writers with disabilities.

Second, we wanted to convey that we are committed to accessibility as a disposition as well as a policy. We know that students often encounter accessibility policies on syllabi and in other official documents from the University, but we wanted to offer a slightly different take on what accessibility could mean for all writers who visit the Writing Center. Accessibility as a disposition means that we are not only willing to adjust our space and our tutoring approaches when requested, but more importantly that we are committed to being inclusive of writers with a range of abilities, experiences, and identities. In other words, it means that we strive to be proactive about accessibility rather than reactive. Understanding accessibility in this way is part of our broader commitment to an ethic of service and hospitality, and this is one reason why accessibility and accommodations policies are particularly important for writing centers to consider. If we are going to claim to serve all writers in a particular community, it is essential that we try to anticipate the range of abilities and identities that those writers will bring with them to their Writing Center experiences.

Finally, we wanted this page to communicate that we are receptive to any and all accommodations requests that writers may have. One way we work towards this goal is by explaining that, in most cases, we do not require official documentation to make accommodations. Rather, we are open to dialogue with all writers who have ideas about how we can accommodate their needs, including writers with undocumented disabilities or those who may simply have learning styles and preferences that don’t match up perfectly with our typical approaches to tutoring writing. For example, we can conduct tutoring sessions in one of our side rooms and we can use a variety of media to communicate with writers about what they’re working on. Rather than a narrow approach to accommodations that would place a kind of burden of proof on the writer, we hope that this conveys a broader and more inclusive attitude toward accommodations.

As we mention on our Accessibility and Accommodations page, we welcome feedback and suggestions for how we can improve our efforts at accessibility, and we hope that this initial work offers others the opportunity to think about accessibility as a philosophy.

Welcome to the New University Writing Center

Bronwyn T. Williams, Director

Welcome to the new University Writing Center! On Friday we moved to our new, larger space on the first floor of Ekstrom Library. After fifteen years on the third floor, we’re excited about being in a space that is larger, more convenient and easier to find. We’ve always believed that writing is at the center of the intellectual life of the University, and now

The New University Writing Center

The New University Writing Center

we have a space that is even more at the center of the daily life of the students, faculty, and staff with whom we work. We want to use this space to continue to support and nurture a culture of writing at UofL. Our mission is to support and celebrate writing of every kind, from course assignments to dissertations to job letters to poetry. We think the new space will allow us to continue to engage in that mission and offer us the opportunity to realize plans and initiatives that we’ve had for a number of years. The central location of the new University Writing Center space, just to the left as people enter from the east doors off the Quad, will also allow us to collaborate with Library Reference and other offices.

Although our location – and furniture – is new, our fundamental work will not change. We will continue to work with anyone in the University community on any kind of writing and at any point in the writing process. We will continue to offer individualized response and advice to writers about their current writing projects and any other concerns or questions they have about writing. We will continue to help writers with their current projects, as well as offer advice and suggestions that can help them succeed in future writing situations. That said, there are some new features to our new space that will allow us to grow in important ways. For example, our new University Writing Center includes have multimedia consulting rooms where we can work with multimodal assignments as well as conduct online, video consultations with distance education students.

We also plan to start using the new, more visible University Writing Center space for other writing-related events and activities. We will continue to use the Writing Center for meetings of our Junior Faculty Writing Groups, and plan to start offering writing group activities for graduate students and for undergraduate creative writers. Keep an eye on our social media and website for more news about these opportunities. We also hope to hold other writing events in our new space, DSCN3765such as readings by student and faculty writers.

It is important to thank Dean Bob Fox, of the University Libraries, for his vision and ongoing support that made this space possible, as well as Dean of Arts and Sciences Kimberly Kempf-Leonard for her support that allowed us to have new furniture in the Writing Center.

In January we will hold an official re-opening celebration, and we hope you will join us then to celebrate writing and writers at UofL. In the meantime, come by and see us and enjoy the new University Writing Center.

Much to Celebrate as the Writing Center Year Comes to a Close

Bronwyn T. Williams

Director, University Writing Center

When we get to the end of an academic year, we always feel there is a lot to be proud of at the University Writing Center. We can look back over a year in which we’ve worked with members of every college in the university, on both campuses, ranging from first-year students to faculty. If you can imagine a day where, in the course of three hours you might work with writers on an English 101 paper, an engineering dissertation, DSCN2410 - Copyand a business plan assignment – and be able to help all three writers with their projects – you can understand the talent and flexibility of our consultants. By the end of the academic year we will have had more than 5,000 visits to the University Writing Center. The consultants here do great, great work, every day. We may be a bit tired by the end of the spring semester, but we enjoy the work and feel as if we’ve worked hard to help develop better writing and better writers at UofL.

I want to take a moment to thank the writers who came to us to work on their writing and also all the faculty and staff who supported our work by recommending us to their students.

We will be open during the summer, starting May 11, from 9-4 every weekday. Meanwhile, take a look at our website and we hope to see you soon.

Other Reasons to Celebrate

In addition to our daily work of teaching of writing through one-on-one consultations, there are other events and activities that we organize, and other plans we are making. It’s worth taking a moment to point to some of the accomplishments, and to talk about what they are going to allow us to do in the future.

New Writing Center Projects:

Our Move to the First Floor of the Library: During the summer, as part of the renovation of the first floor of Ekstrom Library, the University Writing Center will be moving from the third floor down to the first. This new location will make us much more visible (and easier to find) and allow us to create new programs and initiatives that will help us develop and sustain a culture of writing in the University. To see a video about the move, see this previous blog post.

WCOnline Scheduling Software: We are finishing the first year of using our new scheduling software and we’ve found it has been a significant improvement in making it easier for students to make their own appointments online. The software has also made our online, Virtual Writing Center Appointments more effective. To make an appointment, follow this link to our website.

Faculty Writing Groups: This year we organized our first faculty writing groups, one in science/engineering/mathematics and one in humanities/social sciences. These groups have gone very well and we plan to keep them going next year. If you’re interested in taking part, contact the Writing Center.

The Growth of Ongoing Writing Center Projects:

Writing Center Website: We expanded parts of our website, such as our Common Writing Situations – which are our responses to frequently asked questions about undergraduate DSCN2359and graduate writing – and our handouts on everything from strategies for revision, to writing better introductions and conclusions, to issues of grammar and style. We have also added resources for faculty who want to develop their approaches to teaching writing.

Writing Center Social Media: We continued to communicate our ideas about writing and the teaching of writing through our presence on Twitter and Facebook as well as our blog.

Dissertation Writing Retreats: Our Dissertation Writing Retreats remain popular and we are having the pleasure of seeing 90 percent of the students who attend the retreats complete their dissertations.

Workshops: Our Writing Center staff conducted a broad range of writing workshops in both courses and for student organizations on issues such as revision, writing a literature review, citation styles, and resume writing.

Writing Center Staff Achievements

The University Writing Center, in addition to its teaching mission, is also an active site of scholarship about the teaching of writing. Staff from the Writing Center were engaged in a number of scholarly projects during the past year in rhetoric and composition, literature, and creative writing.

Mariah Douglas – Internship at Louisville Magazine with 11 published pieces.

Joanna Englert – Published poems in the Miracle Monocle and the Kentucky Poetry Festival and presented at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture

University Writing Center Staff - 2014-15

University Writing Center
Staff – 2014-15

Harley Ferris – Co-editor and writer of KairosCast for the journal Kairos. Presented at Computers and Writing. Forthcoming publication in Computers and Composition Online.

Taylor Gathof – Presented at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture

Meghan Hancock – Presented at National Conference on Peer Tutors and Writing/International Writing Center Association Conference; the Conference on College Composition and Communication; and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference

Kristin Hatten – Presented at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture; Internship with Commonwealth Center for the Humanities.

Jamila Kareem – Presented at ACES Symposium; Conference on College Composition and Communication; Forthcoming chapter in the collection: The Good Life and the Greater Good in a Global Context

Tara Lawson – Presented at Southeastern Writing Center Association

Ashley Ludewig – Presented at the Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition; The Western States Rhetoric and Literacy Conference; and the Research Network Forum at the Conference on College Composition and Communication

Amy Nichols – Presented at Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Haley Petcher – Presented at Southeastern Writing Center Association Conference

Bobby Rich – Published poems in Hobart Magazine and the Kentucky Poetry Festival; Internship/Poetry Editor of Miracle Monocle

Adam Robinson – Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference

Chris Scheidler – Presented at Southeastern Writing Center Association Conference; Association of Professional and Technical Writers Undergraduate Conference, Computers and Writing, and Conference on Community Writing

Stephanie Weaver – Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition; Conference on College Composition and Communication

Jessica Winck – Co-authored publication in Kairos. Presented at National Council of Teachers of English Conference; Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference.


UofL Writing Center to Move to First Floor of the Library

Bronwyn T. Williams

Director, University Writing Center

This spring marks more than just the end of another academic year at the University Writing Center. After fifteen years, this will be the last year the University Writing Center will be located on the third floor of Ekstrom Library. During the summer we will move down to the first floor of the Library as part of the renovations to the East Wing of Ekstrom Library. While we all do feel a bit nostalgic for our beautiful view on the third floor, we are even more excited about the opportunities we’ll have in our new location. The central location, just to the left of the elevators on the first floor, will not only make us easy to find and allow us to collaborate with Library and other services, but it also will provide a clear statement about the importance of writing within the University. The architects have designed an innovative space for us that will allow us to grow and hold more writing consultations with students, faculty, and staff. This video gives you a look at the new vision for the first floor, including shots of the outside of our new University Writing Center space.


In addition, we will now have new multimedia consulting rooms where we can work with multimodal assignments as well as conduct online, video consultations with distance education students. We hope to build on the success we’ve had in the past fifteen years, and use the space to promote and nurture a culture of writing at UofL.

Once we’ve made the move downstairs, look for a announcements of an event celebrating the opening of our new space. Be sure to come see us and let us work with you on your writing. In the meantime, we’ll be posting updates and photos here during the summer.

We’ve Made it Easier to Schedule Writing Center Appointments Online

One important change that took place over the summer at the University Writing Center was our transition to a new, online scheduling system. We are now using WCOnline as a scheduling system because it will make scheduling appointments much easier for UofL students, faculty, and staff who want a Writing Center consultation. What’s more, the new system will enhance our ability to communicate with students about what took place during their consultations. After an appointment the consultant will write a summary of the discussion that took place that will be available to the student at any point during the rest of the semester. WCOnline also sends out our exit survey to students after each appointment. Finally, WCOnline allows us to conduct our Virtual Writing Center appointments through the scheduling system, which will particularly enhance our abilities to do live, online chat appointments with distance education and other students.

Scheduling an Appointment

The new system allows you to access our entire semester schedule and then chose the appointment time and consultant that is most convenient. You can schedule up to three appointments a week, work with the same consultant if you like each week, and cancel your own appointments if you can’t make that day or time. You can link to the new system through the “Appointments” page on our website or by following this link. One at the WConline page you use your UofL user name and password to log in. The first time you log in you’ll fill out a brief information page, and then be able to make your appointment.

If you want to make an appointment at our Health Sciences Campus office, you’ll find a drop-down menu that you can use to access that schedule. If either schedule is full for the day, you can click on clock icon next to the day and date on the schedule to add your name to the Waiting List. The Waiting List notifies you by email or text if an appointment has become available. You would then need to go online or call the Writing Center to book the appointment. Of course, we are also still happy to make appointments with people who walk in, or who call us at 852-2173. To find out more about the system, you can also watch the video above about how to schedule an appointment.

Virtual Writing Center Appointments

In addition to making appointments for face-to-face consultations on the Belknap and Health Sciences Campuses, you can also use WCOnline to make appointments with our Virtual Writing Center. The best way to get help with your writing is, if possible, to make a face-to-face appointment in the University Writing Center on the third floor of Ekstrom Library. If, however, you are a Distance Education student, or otherwise unable to attend a face-to-face writing consultation, the Virtual Writing Center allows you to receive feedback. Through the Virtual Writing Center you can choose, when making your appointment, whether to have a live chat consultation.  or to receive a written response.

There are two Virtual Writing Centers, and you can choose the one that’s right for you when you make an appointment. If you are a Distance Education student, use the drop-down menu to find the Distance Education Schedule and, if you are taking a course on campus, but need to make a Virtual Writing Center appointment, choose a consultant with the words “Online or eTutoring” under the consultant’s name. We encourage people to use the live, online chat option if possible to be able to have a conversation with their consultant about the writing project. If you submit a draft for an eTutoring written response, we try to respond to your draft within two business days after your scheduled appointment. You will receive an email telling you when we have uploaded your draft with our comments to your appointment time. During busy times of the semester it may take us longer to respond to your draft.

We also have the video on our Appointments and our Distance Education pages about how to use the Virtual Writing Center.

We are think this new system will allow us to serve students, faculty, and staff even more effectively in the coming year. If you have any problems with the system, please call us (852-2173) or email us (writing@lousville.edu). We hope you’ll check out our schedule and make your appointment today


Welcome to Fall 2014!

Bronwyn T. Williams, Director

The start of every academic year always involves new encounters. Students and faculty meet for the first time in classes, many students have new roommates, and many faculty have new colleagues. I think for everyone the anticipation – and uncertainty – is exciting and adds to the buzz around campus when the new semester begins. I always feel the excitement of the new semester when our pre-semester orientation at the University Writing Center takes place the Thursday before classes start. Writing Center Orientation is the

University Writing Center Staff - 2014-15

University Writing Center
Staff – 2014-15

day when I get to meet the new graduate students who will be working as consultants for the coming year. While I know about these new graduate students from what I’ve seen in their application files – where they went to school, for example – I don’t really know them at all. One of the things that is fun about the year ahead is getting to know these people, as people, as tutors, and as scholars. You can take a look at our website to find out about our staff for the coming academic year. It’s what I’ve yet to learn about the new consultants that will be part of what will make my year ahead interesting.

The new consultants all take a graduate course with me on Writing Center Theory and Practice and, through that I know that there are some foundational ideas about teaching writing that they will learn and use during their appointments with students. We talk about the need to work in dialogue with students and not edit their papers for them, for example, and the importance of not just helping students make their current drafts stronger, but also helping the students learn writing skills and strategies that will help with future writing challenges. Yet, while all the consultants are expected to adopt these foundational ideas, I also realize that everyone will develop an individual style as a tutor. Some consultants work quietly, others more effusively. Some consultants develop a talent for instructive metaphors, while others are masters of reaching and reassuring more reticent students. For me, seeing how these different approaches to tutoring develop is always fascinating and enjoyable. The one thing I do know, in meeting our new staff, is that all of the consultants are talented teachers who, grounded in theories of effective writing pedagogy, will provide thousands of UofL students, faculty, and staff with effective feedback and advice on their writing.

So, the University Writing Center is open for the semester. Make your appointment today and meet our great new staff in person.


Summertime, and the Planning is Busy

Bronwyn T. Williams, Director

During the summer, the pace of things at the University Writing Center does slow, but doesn’t stop. We still see students working on summer courses, or those closing in on finishing their dissertations. We also spend much of the summer planning for the next academic year. One of the big changes we’ve been working this summer is fine-tuning our new, online scheduling system. This new system not only makes it easier for people to make appointments, but also is huge leap forward in making our Virtual Writing Center more effective and easier to use. I’ll be writing more about the scheduling system in the next few weeks, but if you want to see some videos about how to make an appointment or how to use the Virtual Writing Center if you’re a distance education student, you can watch some videos and read more about it on our Appointments page.

The beginning of August also means the beginning of orientations around UofL. We’re grateful to the schools and departments around UofL that invite us to their orientations to talk about the University Writing Center. Last week was the Kent School of Social work, today we’re off to the Health Sciences Campus, and next week we’ll be visiting the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS) orientation and several others. One of our ongoing challenges at the Writing Center is making clear to the campus community who we are and what we do. Everywhere we go, we emphasize that we work with everyone in the UofL community, including all undergraduates, graduate students, and staff and faculty. What’s more, we work with people on any kind of writing – whether for academic work or projects outside of school – at any point in the writing process. If people are just getting started, we can help with ideas and organization, and if they have drafts we can help provide feedback and advice then as well. If it’s writing, and if the writer is part of the UofL community, we’re happy to work on it. For people wanting more details on how we work, we have new Frequently Asked Questions on our webpage or you can read our Mission Statement.

We’ve also been planning our Graduate Student Workshops on Writing Issues, in collaboration with SIGS. If you’re a graduate student and would like to hear more about issues such as how to organize a large writing project such as a dissertation, or how to read and respond to graduate-level scholarship, or how to approach getting published, you can find more information and register for the workshops by visiting the SIGS PLAN website.

Finally, like many other faculty, I’m in the midst of planning my fall courses. This is the time of year we try to remind faculty that we are available to come to their classrooms this fall semester for brief 5-to-10-minute presentations about the University Writing Center. We find that, having one of our consultants come to your class, talk about the Writing Center and answer questions, is one of the best ways we have of reaching out to students at every level and in every discipline. If you want to schedule a classroom presentation, just follow this link. If you want to learn more about how we work with your students in the Writing Center, you can find answers to those questions on our website as well.

Stay tuned for more news about our plans for the coming year. And, enjoy those last warm days of August.

A Year of Success in the University Writing Center

Bronwyn T. Williams

Director, University Writing Center

In the rush to meet deadlines, turn in papers, finish grading, and all the other actions that mark the end of an academic year, we can become so focused on navigating what’s ahead of us that we lose sight of the journey we’ve completed. I always think it’s useful to look back and reflect (no surprise to those who know me). As with every year, the central mission of the Writing Center has been to work with members of the university community to help them become stronger writers. The consultants in the Writing Center have worked with thousands of students, faculty, DSCN1756and staff on everything from dissertations to lab reports to job letters to novels, and have done an amazing job from the first day of fall semester to the last day of this term. In addition to this ongoing teaching of writing, however, this year in particular has been an eventful year at the University Writing Center. It’s worth taking a moment to point to some of the accomplishments, and to talk about what they are going to allow us to do in the future.

Some of what has taken place has been new:

Writing Center Website: In February our new website went online. Not only is it easier to navigate, but we have new material online to help writers. For example, we have links to answer questions about Common Writing Situations faced by both undergraduate and graduate students. We also have up-to-date handouts on everything from strategies for revision, to writing better introductions and conclusions, to issues of grammar and style. We will be continuing to build the website in the common year to add more resources for students and to create resources for faculty writers and about the teaching of writing.

Virtual Dissertation Writing Retreat: We held our first online Dissertation Writing Retreat for distance students in January and plan to have similar events in the coming year.

Writing in the World Art Show: We held our first, juried art show focused on ideas and images about writing. Titled “Writing in the World,” and organized by Gabrielle Mayer in Fine Arts, the show opened as part of the Symposium of Student Writing in March.

“How I Write” Blog Series: Writers as varied as University President James Ramsey, sports blogger Mike Rutherford, professor and Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the School of Medicine Tom Geoghegan, and novelist Brian Leung contributed to our new blog series on “How I Write.” Each writer offered insights into writing processes and tricks and approaches to writing. The series, the brainchild of Assistant Director Ashly Bender, will go on hiatus for the summer but return in the fall.

Some of what happened was the growth of ongoing Writing Center projects:

Writing Center Social Media: Our presence on Twitter and Facebook became more frequent and popular over the past year. And our blog not only brought ideas about writing and Writing Center work to the UofL community, but also connected to writers, teachers, and tutors around the country.

Dissertation Writing Retreats:We will continue to have our popular Dissertation Writing Retreats in the spring and fall semesters at the University Writing Center.

Workshops: Our Writing Center staff conducted a broad range of writing workshops in both courses and for student organizations on issues such as revision, writing a literature review, citation styles, and resume writing.

Finally, in addition to carrying on with these ongoing projects, there will be more changes in the year ahead:

WCOnline Scheduling Software: Starting in May the University Writing Center will move to new scheduling software. This new scheduling software will make it easier for students to make their own appointments online, and make it easier for us to coordinate and work with writers, both in person and online. If you’re planning on coming back to the Writing Center in the fall, take a look in the summer and take a moment to register with the software.

Videos about Writing: We’re planning on creating more videos that respond to student concerns about writing and writing processes.

It has been another strong year at the University Writing Center and I want to thank all the writers who made appointments with us and all the faculty who supported our work by recommending us to their students.

I also want to thank all the amazing Writing Center staff for such a great year. The positive, supporting, and productive work that takes place here, and the transformative effect it can have on students, comes from the thoughtful and dedicated work of our staff.

We will be open during the summer, starting May 12, from 9-4 every weekday. Meanwhile, take a look at our website and we hope to see you soon.

 Writing Center Staff Achievements

The University Writing Center, in addition to its teaching mission, is also an active site of scholarship about the teaching of writing. Staff from the Writing Center were engaged in a number of scholarly projects during the past year in rhetoric and composition, literature, and creative writing.

Jennifer Marciniak, Assistant Director for the Virtual Writing Center, was recognized by the Southeastern Writing Center Association as Graduate Student Tutor of the Year for 2013-14. She will be starting a job with the Writing Center at Berea College this fall.

Ashly Bender, Assistant Director of the Writing Center, published a chapter titled “Exploring Student-Veteran Expectations about Composing: Motivations, Purposes, and the Influence of Trauma on Composing Practices” in the collection Generation Vet: Composition, Student Veterans, and the Post-9/11 University.

Layne Gordon, a consultant, had her article on “Tutoring with Genre: Making Connections Between Genre Theory and Writing Center Pedagogy,” accepted for publication in Praxis: A Writing Center Journal.

And the Writing Center staff presented at a variety of conferences during this academic year.

Ashly Bender – Eastern Kentucky University Tutor Appreciation Workshop

Megen Boyett – Rhetoric Society of America and Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture

Daniel Ernst – Kentucky Philological Association; Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture

Meghan Hancock -Southeastern Writing Center Association

Jennifer Marciniak – National Conference on Peer Tutoring; Southeastern Writing Center Association

Dan McCormick – Language, Literacy, and Culture Graduate Student Conference; Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture

Jacob Robbins – Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture

Adam Robinson – Eastern Kentucky University Tutor Appreciation Workshop

Jessica Winck – Eastern Kentucky University Tutor Appreciation Workshop; Research Network Forum

Rick Wysocki – Language, Literacy, and Culture Graduate Student Conference; Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture

This summer Ashly Bender, Jessica Winck, Adam Robinson, and I will be presenting at the Council of Writing Program Administrators conference.

Finally, congratulations go to Megen Boyett and Amy Nichols for completing their MA program and to Amy for being admitted to the UofL Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition.




Writing in the World – New Ways of Imagining Literacy and Language

Bronwyn T. Williams, Director

People sometimes think that, on a university campus, you spend all your days with print books and paper – even more so when you work in the University Writing Center. Yet, it doesn’t take long to look around and see that the university is filled with communication happening in so many different modes and media, from words to images to video to sound. This week we had an exciting reminder of how art works as composition and communication with the opening at the Art ShowWriting Center of the student art show titled “Writing in the World.” We had a dozen works from UofL students, all on the theme of “Writing in the World” The theme asked students to represent, through their artwork, how they encountered writing and how writing worked in their daily lives, both on and off campus. The show opened Wednesday to complement the UofL Composition Program’s Symposium of Student Writing and will remain in the Writing Center through the end of the semester.

Some artists, like Peri Crush, worked with the material artifacts of literacy, as seen in her sculpture “Break Through”

“Break Through” by Peri Crush

created from the pages of a book. Other artists drew on the visual representation of words, whether in graffiti as in  Irene Tran’s untitled photograph or Gwen Snow’s dress titled “Egwengwen Ritual Costume.” Some artists made connections to works of literature, such as Katlyn Brumfield’s still life “Poe” and still others played with the slippery nature of language itself, as in the video “Have You Seen the Dog?” a collaboration by ten students.

All the works reminded me  that literacy is simultaneously material and immaterial.

“Egwengwen Ritual Costume” by Gwen Snow

Without the material artifacts of books and pens and paper and computers, we have no reading and writing. Literacy isn’t possible until we create a work that can be interpreted though the sign systems of writing or images. At the same time, literacy is an immaterial concept that requires interpretation and connection, to other life experiences and other texts. Perhaps what the artwork demonstrated most vividly is that literacy is visual. We can not only read written words, but we can also to step back from them to understand how they work aesthetically as form and design.

It was exciting to have so many visitors drawn to the Writing Center to see the artwork, and to vote for their favorite choices. Throughout the day people were talking about the art, and talking about the themes of the show. We presented three awards. The Directors’ Award went to Alexa Helton’s  untitled drawing. The Writing Center Staff Award went to Peri Crush’s “Break Out.” And the People’s Choice award – voted by the people visiting the show — went to “Have You Seen the Dog?”

Our thanks go to Gabrielle Mayer, associate professor of Fine Arts, who organized the show and collaborated with us on the theme, and to all the student artists who contributed work, and whose names are listed at the end of the post.

“Untitled” by Alexa Hilton

At the University Writing Center we are committed to engaging writing and composing in all modes and media and we hope this kind of art and writing show will become an annual event.

If you haven’t seen the art already, do come to the Writing Center, on the third floor of Ekstrom Library, and take a look.

Artists participating in “Writing in the World.”

Yeva Sshurova

Colin Beach

Katlyn Brumfield

“Have You Seen the Dog?”

Brynn Gordon

Kathryn Harrington

Alexa Helton

Beth Heutis

Robyn Kaufman

Colton Kays

Amber Kleitz

Keegan Kruse

Irene Mudd

Renae Osman

Mikayla Powell

Brittani Rosier

Gwen Snow

Irene Tran

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