Strategic partnership offers writing centers a framework for responding to disruptive innovations in higher education. Through partnership, writing centers can simultaneously secure resources and support the practice of tutoring writing in ways that enable moments of resistance, where writing consultants and students can tactically challenge the corporate university through their methods of practice. Disrupting the Center explicates, analyzes, and critiques one particular writing center’s partnership approach to collaboration with disciplinary faculty and upper administrators across the curriculum.
Using on-site research and critical ethnographic study from one university writing center, Rebecca Hallman Martini establishes an innovative, cross-disciplinary partnership approach to writing instruction in which peer tutoring plays an integral curricular role. Case studies detail three partnerships that respond directly to existing or potential disruptive innovations in higher education and showcase important concepts: mapping mutual benefit and stakeholder engagement in an online studio/hybrid first-year writing program partnership in response to online education, creating negotiated space to work through ethical issues involved when working with a public-private partnership to develop a required extracurricular portfolio project in a business school, and building transformational partnerships through establishing a writing-in-the-professions curriculum in the College of Engineering in response to career readiness initiatives.
Disrupting the Center uses interviews, observations, focus groups, analysis of consultations, meetings, and shared documents such as annual reports, budgets, assessment data, assignments, and syllabi to generate a wide view of how systems work. Writing centers are flexible university-wide service spaces where students go for one-on-one and group writing support that can become dynamic spaces for writing pedagogy by disrupting, revitalizing, and reinventing the epistemic foundations of current rhetoric and composition landscapes and traditional approaches to writing.