History of the Jones White Writing Center

  • Kathleen Jones White Writing Center logo

    1932 The first 'writing laboratory' is founded at the University of Minnesota, followed by Dartmouth College in 1939.

    1969 Graduate students in the IUP English Department begin a program to help undergraduate students improve their writing skills.

    1971 IUP Composition Clinic is founded by Dr. Lorrie Bright and Dr. Jack Davis and funded by a grant of $30,000 from the U.S. Department of Education, an enormous grant sum at the time for a composition program. The clinic was housed in a former classroom in Leonard Hall, which was razed in 2016. Others involved in the early years included Dr. Laura Miller, Dr. Malcolm Hayward, Dr. Don McClure, and Dr. Gary Olson.

    1976 Purdue University Writing Lab is founded by Dr. Muriel Harris. Purdue OWL opens in 1993.

    1981 The IUP Composition Clinic is renamed the IUP Writing Center.

    1985 IUP Writing Center moves from Leonard Hall to Eicher Hall and is co-directed by Dr. Michael M. Williamson and Dr. Lea Masiello.

    1987 IUP Writing Center acquires 28 computers that use floppy disk drives and run the 'WordPerfect Jr.' word processing program.

    1988 Dr. Ben Rafoth becomes co-director, with Lea Masiello, of the IUP Writing Center.

    1995 Dr. Rafoth and Dr. Dennis Ausel receive a State System grant to pilot an online writing center using then-new e-mail attachments. Nearly 1,000 students submit papers and receive feedback in the first semester. This online writing center was among the first of its kind in the U.S. Many online writing centers today still use email attachments.

    2000 Jennifer Ritter, then a graduate student in the Rhetoric and Linguistics Program, builds the first website for the IUP Writing Center.

    2002 Dr. Elizabeth Boquet (IUP PhD) publishes Noise from the Writing Center and becomes co-editor of The Writing Center Journal.

    2003 Dr. Rafoth organizes and coordinates the first joint conference for the International Writing Centers Association and National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing, held in Hershey, PA. A record 951 people attend. 

    2006 Dr. Tina Perdue serves as interim director until 2010, while Dr. Rafoth serves as graduate coordinator for the Composition and TESOL Program (now Composition and Applied Linguistics).

    2007 Dr. Michele Eodice (IUP Ph.D. '99) becomes president of the International Writing Centers Association. Dr. Eodice also publishes The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice, and in 2013, Working with Faculty Writers.

    2008 IUP Writing Center tutors receive prestigious Best Article award for "Taking on Turnitin," published in the Writing Center Journal in 2009. The essay has been republished and anthologized many times.           

    2009 A Tutor's Guide (2nd ed.) is published by Dr. Rafoth. ESL Writers (2nd ed.) is published by Shanti Bruce (IUP Ph.D. 2008) and Ben Rafoth

    2010 Dr. Kevin Dvorak (IUP Ph.D. 2006) becomes president of the Southeast Writing Centers Assoc.

    2011 Lindsay Sabatino, then a graduate student, develops a synchronous online tutoring platform for the IUP Online Writing Center.

    2012 The IUP Writing Center-Library Satellite opens in Stapleton Library. Weekly Walk-in Wednesday Workshops have been offered every semester since this time.

    2013 Dr. Kevin Dvorak becomes president of the International Writing Centers Association. Leigh Ann Dunning, Emily Weber, and others launch social media campaign to promote the writing center on and off campus. Emily Weber is the center’s first communications coordinator.

    2015 On October 16, 2015, a generous endowment for the writing center is established by David White, the Kathleen Jones White Writing Center is dedicated to the memory of Kathleen Jones White, and the writing center is renamed. The Jones White Graduate Editing Service is launched, administered by the writing center and funded by the Graduate School. Dr. Rafoth delivers the keynote address at the IWCA annual conference in Pittsburgh and publishes Multilingual Writers and Writing Centers.

    2016 Shanti Bruce and Ben Rafoth publish Tutoring Second Language Writers.

    2017 Rebecca Day Babcock (IUP PhD) publishes Writing Centers and Disability and, in 2018, Researching the Writing Center, rev. ed.

    2019 Dr. Dana Driscoll becomes director of the Jones White Writing Center, in advance of Ben Rafoth’s planned retirement in 2020. Rafoth is invited to deliver plenary lecture at the IV Congreso Internacional de la Red Latinoamericana de Centros y Programas de Escritura (4th International Congress of the Latin American Network of Writing Centers and Programs), held at ITESO, Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara, Mexico.