The IUP Writing
Center was one of the best-represented universities at this year’s Mid-Atlantic
Writing Center Association (MAWCA) conference, held at Salisbury University April 4 and 5, 2014. Eleven tutors delivered six
presentations at the conference.
Presentation topics ranged from tutoring strategies
and identity construction to writing center publicity and creative writing,
reflecting the wide range of topics studied in the field of writing
centers. Encouraged by Writing Center Director Ben Rafoth, all of the tutors were able to secure funding to cover travel and lodging expenses.
Tarah Dunn (photo, far left), a master’s student in the Teaching English to
Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program, presented in the same panel as the
Writing Center’s assistant director, Leigh Ann Dunning (photo, second from left), a doctoral student in
the Composition/TESOL program. Dunn presented “Undergraduate International
Student Identity Constructions in the Writing Center,” and Dunning presented her
pilot study, “Co-Constructed Peer Tutorial Identities: Graduate Peer-Tutors and
Multilingual Graduate Tutees in the Writing Center.”
“MAWCA was an extraordinary experience for me,” Dunn
said. “I am glad that I was able to attend the conference, present my research,
and support my fellow tutors in our professional and academic journey as a
unified writing center.”
Dunning said it was “really great” to have IUP’s Writing
Center so well represented at the conference. “It’s a great regional conference
where tutors get to practice presenting their research and sharing all the
great experiences they get from tutoring.”
Taylor Snyder (photo, at left), a master’s student in the TESOL program,
presented with volunteer tutor Becky Driscoll (photo, at right) on the topic “Establishing Ethos:
A Ninja Approach to Détente.”
Their talk explored the value of establishing
credibility early in a tutorial session.
Spanish Education major Hannah Church and English major
Savannah Thorpe presented “Setting The Stage,” which focused on the application
of conscious tutoring and how tutors can use body language to influence the
outcomes of a session.
“I couldn’t imagine a better atmosphere for my first
professional presentation on how we present ourselves as tutors,” Church said.
“I’ve been inspired to explore my professional development opportunities within
the writing center community, specifically at an international conference in
Journalism and English major Emily Weber presented
“Advertising or Engaging? Using Twitter to Build Relationships with Student
Writers.” Her talk explored how writing center publicists can use social media to
engage the university community rather than just promote services and announce
open appointments. Weber is the IUP Writing Center’s communications manager.
English major Nick Marsellas presented “Not Just Academics:
The Importance of Creative-Writing Tutoring Skills.” Marsellas addressed
difficulties tutors sometimes experience with creative writing and the
importance of creative writing skills for many different kinds of writing. He’s also developed a workshop for tutors to help them
better work with student writers’ creative writing.
Katie Hynes, Nadia Zamin, and Emmett Ryan, doctoral students
in the Composition/TESOL program, conducted a fishbowl presentation, “The
Things They Carry: Non-Writing Concerns in the Tutorial and How/When to
Redirect the Conversation.” They explored the issues that students bring into
the writing center, and how tutors must be prepared to handle them.
Hynes, Dunning, Driscoll, Marsellas, and Church
will represent the IUP Writing Center next semester at the joint conference of the International Writing Centers Association/National Conference of Peer Tutoring in Writing. Writing Center Director Ben Rafoth and tutor Tori Loch will also join them.
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