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Writing Center Assists Visiting Scholar with First Writing Center in Saudi Arabia

Posted on 4/5/2012 9:39:54 AM
Zied Eldakan, Ben Rafoth, and Nathalie Singh-Corcoran

The IUP Writing Center hosted a Saudi Arabian scholar preparing to develop his country’s first writing center at King Abdulaziz University. Zied Eldakan visited the Writing Center to meet with Ben Rafoth, Writing Center director; Michele Petrucci, Office of International Education; and tutors and faculty on April 3, 2012.

Eldakan (photo, left) is working with Khalid Abalhassan, a 2002 graduate of IUP’s Composition and TESOL program (formerly Rhetoric and Linguistics) and the general directorate of research and information in the Ministry of Higher Education in Saudi Arabia.

They have been working on plans for Saudi Arabia’s first university writing center since 2010. The largest university in Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz University enrolls approximately 50,000 students on campus and another 70,000 students online.

Writing Center peer tutors presented writing instruction technology and strategies for tutoring multilingual student writers.

“He was very enthusiastic,” Writing Center tutor Tori Loch said. “He wanted to hear from us.”

The president of the International Writing Centers Association and director of the West Virginia University Writing Center, Nathalie Singh-Corcoran, was also in attendance (photo, right).

She discussed the mission and purposes of the IWCA, including the 11 regional writing center associations that make up the association. This includes the Middle East North Africa Writing Centers Association and the European Writing Centers Association.

Rafoth (photo, center) said these scholars are on the cutting edge of higher education and progressive reform in their country.

“Dr. Eldakan’s visit was the first step in an exchange of ideas and talent between IUP and King Abdulaziz University. There is an opportunity for them to learn more about tutoring writing in English and the potential of writing centers to influence curricular and instructional reforms,” Rafoth said.

Rafoth was the keynote speaker at the Mid-Atlantic Writing Centers Association conference in Shippensburg on March 31. Eldakan attended this conference with Rafoth to learn more about peer tutoring practices.

Two Writing Center tutors presented the newly developed Online Writing Center at the conference: Melissa Lutz, of Homer City; and Emily Weber, of Souderton.