RMWCA Newsletter#2 Fall 2013

President's Welcome

As we release our second Rocky Mountain Writing Centers Association newsletter, I am mindful of several recent experiences that illustrate how writing centers can extend collaboration beyond the individual tutorial to the work that we do with each other and with the wider community. The recent Rocky Mountain Peer Tutoring Conference (RMPTC), ably organized by Leigh Ann Copas at Utah Valley University, brought together administrators and tutors from throughout the Intermountain West to share their work and witness the larger community that we form. My own consultants commented how much they valued meeting their colleagues from other institutions. As much as we talk to writers about joining larger conversations, it refreshes and energizes our day-to-day work when we can participate in our own.

Of course, it doesn’t take a regional conference to bring people from different writing centers together. Much smaller and less formal events can connect us with our neighbors in writing, literacy, and learning centers. On my own campus, for example, faculty and staff from a variety of tutoring and mentoring programs gather in a monthly learning community to discuss collaborative learning and peer tutoring and plan ways to enhance tutor training.

Collaboration can also extend outside our disciplinary or campus communities to the community at large. This semester our center has embarked on a partnership with the city of South Salt Lake by opening a writing center on the grounds of a revitalized arts and community center. I heard of several similar partnerships at the RMPTC, many inspired by the well-established example of the Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center. While we often think of collaboration as an opportunity for two parties to share their existing strengths and abilities, this community partnership has already offered opportunities for us to grow beyond the status quo by working with increasingly diverse writers and writing. I was reminded of this last week after a shift in which I had consulted with a community member crafting his own theory of mental health, a Somali refugee preparing for the GED, a retiree writing a memoir on raising her severely disabled daughter, and the director of a neighboring arts program for veterans.

The Austin-based company Despair, Inc., produces a line of satirical “demotivators” that poke fun at those slick motivational posters one often sees in the workplace. One demotivational poster bears the legend “MEETINGS” beneath a glossy photo of hands clasped in a basketball huddle. The slogan beneath reads, “None of Us is as Dumb as All of Us.” While I have been on enough committees to at times share the cynicism of this pronouncement, I think our collaborations inside, among, and beyond writing centers prove the opposite.  We are better together than we are alone.

Best wishes,

Chris LeCluyse
President, RMWCA
clecluyse@westminstercollege.edu

 

President-Elect's Welcome

My name is Bill Macauley, current president-elect of RMWCA.I am the director of the University WritingCenter at the University of Nevada, Reno. I will step into the RMWCApresident’s role in the spring. I don’t know that I will be able to measure up to what Chris LeCluyse has done as president of RMWCA, but I do want to set my sights that high. We should all be thanking him for his leadership and attention to our organization. Thank you, Chris.

For my part, I have some ideas and would like to hear yours, as well. One idea is that, because our region is so big, I would like us to think about bringing our organization to our members as well as inviting them to our conferences. There are a number of ways to do this: sub-regional conferences, directors’ day out, video-linked meetings, and the like. I know how hard it is to get ourselves and our staff to conferences, and I want to make RMWCA as accessible and present through our region as possible. Another idea I have been thinking about is a cooperative conference with other area wc regionals, NCPTW, WPA regionals, and maybe even IWCA and/or CWPA. It might be really helpful to build these relationships and, thus, make our regional and other area organizations more available to our members. I would also like to see our biennial conference move around the region a bit.

These are some of the ideas I am thinking about. How about you? What would you like to see/experience with RMWCA? Please do contact me directly if you have ideas or questions—I am happy to hear from you.

Thanks,

Bill Macauley
President-Elect, RMWCA
wmacauleyjr@unr.edu