The Everyday Writing Center

A Community of Practice

by Anne Ellen Geller, Michele Eodice, Frankie Condon, Meg Carroll, and Elizabeth H. Boquet

"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."
—Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton

"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."
—Harvey Kail


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.

 

 

Anne Ellen Geller is associate professor of English and director of Writing Across the Curriculum in the Institute for Writing Studies at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. She is a coauthor of Working with Faculty Writers and The Everyday Writing Center.

Michele Eodice is associate provost for Academic Engagement and director of the writing center at the University of Oklahoma. She is a coauthor of Working with Faculty Writers, The Everyday Writing Center, and (First Person)².

Frankie Condon completed her BFA at York University in Theatre (Performing Arts, Honours), her MA at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD at the University at Albany (State University of New York). Prior to her arrival at the University of Waterloo, she taught at Siena College in Loudonville New York, St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, and at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Meg Carroll is the director of the Rhode Island College Writing Center.

Elizabeth H. Boquet is professor of English and director of the Writing Center at Fairfield University. She is the coauthor of The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice and author of Noise from the Writing Center.

Imprint: Utah State University Press

Book Details

  • Paperback Price: $24.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87421-656-1
  • Ebook Price: $16.00
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $5.99
  • EISBN: 978-0-87421-662-2
  • Publication Year: 2007
  • Pages: 156
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by Anne Ellen Geller, Michele Eodice, Frankie Condon, Meg Carroll, and Elizabeth H. Boquet
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87421-656-1