Riding Out the ‘Storm

Contributing Blogger: Katie Logan

Some of my most fascinating consultations during the past few weeks have been brainstorming sessions; with final (and larger) projects coming up, and a little bit of know-how when it comes to center resources, students often use their first visit here to begin their projects. I’ve seen all sorts of cool assignments—political arguments about the end of the Cold War, an introduction to the soundtrack of a student’s life, play analyses and final engineering projects. Despite this variety (or perhaps because of it), I always feel an initial panic when I realize a student won’t be handing me a draft to read. Brainstorming consultations present a unique set of challenges: how do we structure a session to help students walk out of the center with a sense of their project while maintaining the non-directive, non-evaluative approach we champion?

The following strategies have worked for me recently; I hope you’ll share some of yours!

1)  Begin with the prompt. My consultations have taught me that, often, even if the student understands what the prompt asks, he or she doesn’t necessarily know why it’s asking. The prompt is a brainstorming goldmine: what does the student think the instructor hopes will be accomplished? What kinds of skills and knowledge gained from the class should the student demonstrate in the final project? Does the prompt offer a sense of how the student should structure or organize the assignment? By teaching students to read prompts carefully (or, better yet, by sending them to the Center’s prompts workshop!), we help them understand the larger goals of their work.

2)  Write a sentence, but make it the right one.  Many of my consultees dream of world where they come in to the UWC for a brainstorming session and walk out with half a paper written. Obviously, that doesn’t happen. I’ve experienced sessions, though, where students just want to develop their thesis statements with a consultant, and this process often proves really fruitful for thinking about the rest of the paper.  If a student has a tentative thesis statement, I like to ask him or her to break the statement into the smallest pieces possible. How many of these pieces will the student have to prove to convince a reader of the statement as a whole?  Encouraging students to see their thesis as a road map for the paper helps them to develop a cursory outline that follows the logic of their argument.

3)  Focus on process, not product.  Brainstorming consultations have a tendency to turn into therapy sessions; often, students feel stuck and nervous about the inevitable writing process and really just want someone to help them feel more confident before they begin the paper. I find that, in their concerns, students share a lot of information about the problems that have plagued them in past assignments—difficulties getting their ideas onto paper, insecurities about grammar, confusions about research. Even if you don’t tackle the project itself, attempting to address some of these processes might help a student feel better prepared. In a consultation I had this week, the author of the aforementioned Cold War paper explained that writing the introduction had taken him hours, and as he tried to construct his thesis, I noticed he was writing full sentences and deleting them almost immediately. I suggested that he take 10 minutes of the consultation to free write everything he was thinking about his topic with no concern for organization and with absolutely ZERO deleting. By the end of the time, he’d generated a couple of pages of content that he could then begin to revise and edit and he seemed a million times more relaxed.

4)  Remember that a framework leaves lots of space for creativity and adaptation. I’d never asked a student to consider free writing during a consultation before. Given this student’s set of concerns, though, I felt like it might be useful, and I offered it to him as one possibility for his time in the center. Now that I’ve seen its success, free writing is something I’ll suggest to other consultees in the future. Having a few strategies in my pocket gave me a place to begin but still left me the space to restructure my questions and to shake up my consulting routine. That’s where brainstorming sessions get fun (and educational)!

Katie Logan is a consultant at the Undergraduate Writing Center and an Assistant Instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing. She holds an M.A in Comparative Literature from UT-Austin, and she is pursuing her PhD in the same program. Her research interests include contemporary Arab women’s literature, travel narratives and loss and trauma. 

End Of Year Lessons About Friday Afternoon Workshops

Contributing Blogger: Mary Hedengren

Last week we held our last weekly workshop of the semester and of the school year. Bittersweet, of course, but it’s nice to take a moment and think about the lessons from the UWC’s adventures in non-tutoring. At our 2013 Symposium, a couple of people asked me about what’s worked and what hasn’t in our Friday afternoon workshop series. Here are the main logistical points that I’ve learned.

Advertise, advertise, advertise:
Start early, and find every possible way to advertise. Try to get the word out to everyone. I tried to pitch the workshops when our consultants visited classrooms, and we made sure that there were announcements for our workshops posted around our writing center as well as on bulletin boards around campus. But you probably need fewer physical fliers than you think you do; use newsletters, department websites and electronic announcement boards to get the word out.

Do your homework:
When figuring out what topics to offer for a workshop, survey students or instructors, see what genres or types of writing are most frequent at your writing center, and ask around the staff to see what people are interested in teaching. Appealing topics can be wonderful.

Get support:
I soon realized that I couldn’t lead every Friday workshop, and I couldn’t even necessarily attend every workshop, so I built a Google Doc with some very talented folk who were willing to help out for a week here and there. Some of them were experienced counselors who loved talking about resumes and cover letters. Some were passionate about grammar. Using the strengths of our writing center staff created better workshops and let the staff really shine.

Branch out:
Along with getting support within your center, you can make connections with other student services. We started partnering with the library’s workshops to talk about how to find evidence and then move from evidence towards an argument. We both have the same goals, and we can refer students to each other.

Don’t sweat the numbers:
Sometimes you’ll have 30 people show up for a workshop and sometimes there will be no one at all. While these numbers can help guide your decisions about what workshops are most useful, don’t read too much into them. Sometimes it’s just a busy week for students. Sometimes there’s a football game. There are a lot of reasons why a session might be less well attended, so thinking broadly.

But do keep track of them:
We started letting students “pre-register” for workshops online, which gave us a rough sense of how many people to expect. Also, we kept track of how many people actually showed up. This let us see which workshops were most popular and it gives us another metric to share in our annual report to the college. Next year, we want to integrate our workshops into our standard tutoring intake system so we can know what sorts of students we’re serving.

One year doesn’t make me an expert, but I do feel as though I’ve learned a lot this past year. Has your writing center produced in-house workshops? What’s been most effective for you? I’d love to know so that next fall, when our workshops start again, I’ll be prepared to learn even more this year.

Mary Hedengren is getting her rhetoric PhD at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research has focused on multicultural writing practices, writing in the disciplines, and writing as an indication of national identity. In addition to blogging, she’s an associate editor at Praxis and is currently the assistant director at UT’s Undergraduate Writing Center.

The Road Map to a Personal Statement

Contributing Blogger: Malia Hamilton

I know this may sound strange for everyone who has to write one, but I love personal statements.

I hated them before I started working at the UWC. Everything about them was so vague. How am I supposed to just state who I am personally? I would wonder. I could just say, “Hello, my name is Malia Hamilton and I am an undergraduate at the University of Tex…” but you’ve already fallen asleep by now, haven’t you?  I hated them because no one gave me a guideline to write them. Personal statements don’t have rubrics or detailed requirements; you’re lucky if you are given a one sentence prompt. But ever since I’ve started working at the UWC, I’ve compiled a strategy to help students write personal statements: a strategy I’m going to share with you.

Whenever I read a personal statement, I look to see if the writer has told me three things: 1) who they were, 2) who they are, and 3) who they want to be. If the writer has effectively incorporated these three stages of themselves into their personal statement, it’s almost always an effective one. I’ve found this to be one of the best ways to organize personal statements, as well as one of the best ways to incorporate all aspects of those occasional prompts that applications send out.

Most prompts look something like this: Tell us your personal and professional goals. What are the experiences you have had that led you to these goals? Why do you want to be a part of/why are you deserving of this program? What sort of obstacles have you overcome to reach this point?

Now, don’t panic, and don’t start to nod off either. Let’s take a moment to filter these into my three categories and elaborate on them.

Who I Was – Set the stage for who you are. Have you wanted to do this since you were young? If not, what did you want to do then? Describe the path that led you to this decision. This is also an opportunity to explain obstacles you have overcome, such as financial struggles or the loss of someone close to you, or other things that you think are important that do not appear in your resume.

Who I Am – I like to think of this as elaborating on the most important things in your resume. Explain what you’re passionate about by talking about the experiences you have had, especially the ones that relate to the program you are applying to. Be specific! Don’t just say, “Working at an animal shelter made me more dependable.”  Tell your reader that you are responsible for making sure the animals are locked up securely for the night; they will understand that that means that you are dependable. Show, don’t tell. The way to make your statement stand out is by telling a story about something you went through that shows something about your character – that way they’ll remember you. You’ll be the girl who rescued the cat that ran into the dog pens at the shelter, not just another “reliable” applicant.

Who I Want to Be – Think goals! What do you want to do with your life? Your reader wants to see if their program will help you achieve your goals, so be specific about what you want to be and how you think their program will help you get there. Also, show your reader that you want to be a part of their program, not just any old program. This is going to require a little bit of research, but you’ve already been doing that to decide where you want to apply, right?  Talk specifically about the aspects (i.e. faculty, renown, etc.) that you are most excited about. This will show your reader that you do want to be a part of their program, which is what they want.

See? It’s not so bad, is it?  Just explain who you were, who you are, and who you want to be, and remember to always be specific, and you will craft a masterful personal statement. Also, stopping by your local writing center couldn’t hurt.

Go check out Jacob Pietsch’s entry on personal statements. He offers some excellent advice about approaching your first draft. Good luck on your applications!

IMG_0052Malia Hamilton is currently in her third year as an undergraduate at UT Austin, majoring in Plan II, International Relations and Global Studies, and Government. She has been working as a consultant at the Undergraduate Writing Center for one year.  She is working on her honors thesis: a collection of short stories set in an alternate America.

When a Facetious Prank Leads to a Sad Truth

Contributing Blogger: Mary Hedengren

I came early to the writing center Monday morning. Very early. I had to be there before anyone else so that I could slip back to my office and drag out an Ikea bag— the big, blue Ikea bag—full of books. Under a single panel of lights, I went about my clandestine work in front of our writing center’s large double bookshelves.

To start out, I took books down. I didn’t want to take any books that anyone would miss for a consultation, so I removed the 2nd edition of ACS but not the third, and I left an assortment of handbooks in case someone had a preference for Penguin or Peason or Hacker. But though I left most of the books on the shelf, I had opened up significant gaps, and into those gaps I unloaded the contents of my Ikea bag.

Very first I put up the complete “Books Written by Shatner” section, right next to the dictionaries and thesauri. Then I added the not-inconsequential 1970s fantasy series of Gor, from Tarnsmen of Gor to Blood Brothers of Gor, all of them boasting covers of impossibly fit and improbably clothed heroes . Finally, I added the last category, “Pastel Paperbacks,” which involved mostly, but not entirely, romance novels. It was almost time for opening. I surveyed my work and added, as a last consideration, carefully handwritten labels for my sections, mirroring the labeling of our typical sections.

Then I went back to my office and waited for someone to say something. And waited. And waited.

I hung out in the break room and I asked consultants if they had seen any good April Fool’s jokes. Nothing. I left the books up Tuesday, and sent out an email to the staff alerting them to the new resources on the bookshelf and reminding them to make sure everyone gets access to the new books. Nothing. Thursday I finally took the books down.

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 2.11.23 PM

 

“What’s with the big bag?” someone asked me.

“I’m taking down the books I put up for April Fool’s.”

“Oh, what books?”

“Okay—we’ll start with global issues before talking about punctuation.”

 

In telling this story, it’s easy for me to blame the consultants. It’s not just that I wasted a fine prank, but I was disheartened to see that our bookshelves are not being regularly used. I’ve thought a lot about the books on these bookshelves, which include not only handbooks and dictionaries, but also resources for ELL students, peer-tutoring texts, and first-rate guides to writing in all sorts of disciplines. When I go to conferences, I scan the publishers’ tables looking for texts that I think the staff would enjoy, and when I come home with new works, I bring them to the break room first so that the consultants can have a first look at them before the books go on the shelf. Where, it appears, they are never used again.

Why should the books be used? Our consultants are competent. They’re well trained and experienced in peer tutoring. They often make use of our excellent “quick tips” handouts. Getting out a book with which they may or may not be familiar, to look for some bit of information or advice that may or may not be there is not necessarily the best use of time during a consultation. So what purpose do our big bookshelves serve for them in the course of a regular week of consultations?

There are two potential administrative answers to this problem, as far as I can see from my post-prank perspective.

  1. Not every book needs to be used every day. Some resources are just resources. If someone wants to learn about the history of writing center research, or if they’re working on a special project on peer tutoring, or if they’re really, really motivated to learn more about ESL consultations, they can read some of our specialty books, but these books can be available without being a daily necessity.
  2. One book is a resource, three dozen books are decoration. One reason why no one noticed the extra books on our shelves may be that we have many duplicates, old editions, and free desk copies on our bookshelves. There are books that were required in our freshman English courses years and years ago, as well as handbooks of style from yesteryear. By having so many books on our shelves, we have made it harder to find and access the most useful texts. One thing that might ameliorate the tendency for consultants’ eyes to glaze over the shelf would be to clear out some of the less-useful books or create a shelf for the “all stars” of our writing center resources: one or two handbooks, a good dictionary and thesaurus, one or two texts about peer review, a couple of essential WID books. Ask consultants what sort of sources they use most or would like to use, and isolate these somehow.

Whenever I have a joke fall flat, I remember my old sketch comedy days, and remember that, as I tell consultees, audience is everything.  I feel like I learned a lot about my audience’s use of sources and why this particular prank can highlight something about how the consultants and I view our writing center resources.

Mary Hedengren is getting her rhetoric PhD at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research has focused on multicultural writing practices, writing in the disciplines, and writing as an indication of national identity. In addition to blogging, she’s an associate editor at Praxis and is currently the assistant director at UT’s Undergraduate Writing Center.

Ending with a Bang: Writing Thought-Provoking Conclusions

Contributing Blogger: Regina Mills

I don’t know about you, but conclusions have been one of the most difficult parts of the writing process for me. Sometimes my conclusion doesn’t seem to match my claims in the body or even the thesis I offered in the introduction. I want to end on something amazing so badly that I write the introduction to a new paper that I have not really discussed. While bold, it’s not a very strong way to end a paper. In order to avoid this issue, I have really focused on the last couple sentences of my paper.

If it is essential to hook your audience in at the beginning of your introduction, then it is equally crucial to a close with both
1) a sense of further need for exploration and
2) a feeling that things have ‘come full-circle.’

There are several good websites that offer advice about the conclusion as a whole (such as here and a video here), but for the purpose of this post, I will only talk about the very last sentences of this elusive paragraph. I like to think of these as ‘exit-hooks’ since they keep the reader’s attention on the topic, even as you signal the end of your own discussion about it.

Here are a few exit-hook suggestions you might try in your next paper:

Coming full circle: This strategy requires you to connect back to the hook you used in your introduction. So if you started with an anecdote about why your professor bans technology in her classroom (as a student of mine did very successfully), you could come full circle by returning to that anecdote and connecting to what you discussed and why it matters.

Possible pitfalls: Your hook may not have the possibility of returning full circle, so attempting to may make it sound forced; or perhaps the connection you try to make doesn’t make sense and thus leaves the reader on a negative note of confusion.

Provocative Question/Statement: End with a question or statement that takes what you have argued and asks the reader to think beyond it. This is especially helpful in answering the “so what?” question, and it gives us a reason to find out more about the topic or to explore different aspects that you did not have space to explore sufficiently.

Possible pitfalls: it’s very easy to have this sound like a 3rd-grader asked it (ex. “What do you think Shakespeare meant to say?”); try not to direct your question directly to the reader. The question may also be leading and thus not provoke multiple answers to be explored

Statistic/Quotation: One way that you can provoke additional thought about your paper is to offer another quotation or statistic (maybe one you already discussed but maybe one you haven’t) that presents an answer to the “so what?” question. This quotation might be a question that a scholar or author has asked, thus giving it more perceived authority

Possible pitfalls: may seem like you are offering new information (a big no-no in a conclusion); you may forget or lack an explanation of the statistic or quotation.

These are just a few ways that you can clinch your argument and leave your audience wanting to learn more about your topic. Exit-hooks can be difficult because they must connect back to the rest of your paper very well. Since they are the last words in the paper (and can’t be explained by another paragraph), it may be a good idea to try out a couple of kinds, as papers in different disciplines may need to end radically differently in order to succeed. But once you find that successful line(s), your audience will be blown away.

Regina Mills is a PhD student in English (Ethnic and Third World Literature) at UT-Austin who works at the Undergraduate Writing Center and is an Assistant Instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing. She has a Master’s of Education in Secondary English Education from Arizona State University. Her current research interests are in Latin@ literature, Central American memoirs, immigrant literature, feminist theory, and auto/biography studies.

Writing Centers Beyond the Consultation

Contributing Blogger: Mary Hedengren

The very first presenter at our “The Future of Writing Centers” symposium was Rebecca Jackson, who asked writing centers across the country the question, “What non-consulting services does your writing center offer?” She reported that she was surprised at some of the responses she received: some writing center directors were confused—“what do you mean non-consulting?”—while others were almost offended—“consultations are our priority and nothing distracts us!”

Jackson’s presentation made me think hard. This semester I’ve had fewer hours “on the floor” than I have in the past; I’ve been promoting workshops, coordinating with other on-campus programs & helping to plan the “Future of Writing Centers” symposium where I heard Jackson speak.  I’ve been convinced that these projects are worthwhile, but the progress we see tends to be less immediate than when you meet with someone who didn’t have a thesis statement in her paper and then, 45 minutes later, she does. I love one-on-one consulting with students and am convinced that it is a unique service for potentially alienated students on a large campus like ours.

But there have been thrills in my non-consulting work, too. Last Friday, half of the people at our workshop on writing for timed exams had never been to the writing center before. I watched as one woman stood in front of our wall of handouts, pulling out one after another for a growing stack in her hands. “I never knew this place was here,” she said. “I had no idea you had all this.” And when the email and meetings with the branch of our university that deals with underprepared and disadvantaged students finally culminated in a special meeting about sentence structure and a tour of the writing center, both we and our visitors were enriched. And the symposium was a simply an indescribably good experience, leading me to compose this very blog post.

The work we do outside of the one-on-one consultation is important work. We can do things that we never could have in a consultation and reach people who don’t ordinarily walk in our doors. We can change the ways that we think and work. Jackson’s question fascinated me and I think as writing centers continue to spread and mature nationwide, it will be a question of increasing relevance to those of us who work in the writing center.

Mary Hedengren is getting her rhetoric PhD at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research has focused on multicultural writing practices, writing in the disciplines, and writing as an indication of national identity. In addition to blogging, she’s an associate editor at Praxis and is currently the assistant director at UT’s Undergraduate Writing Center.

Do talk to strangers: Drafting a personal statement

Contributing Blogger: Jacob Pietsch

Personal statements are really weird, right?

I mean, how often do we use the writing process to reflect on our development, goals, and motivations while self-advocating for something that we want (a scholarship; a spot in a graduate program; an opportunity to study abroad; etc.)? This unique situation is further complicated by the lack of structure and vague expectations in most personal statement prompts (if you even get a prompt; sometimes your are just asked to “submit a personal statement”). And perhaps the most stressful thing about personal statements is that they are aptly named: it’s personal. You’re opening up, taking a chance, and putting yourself out there. Then some stranger is going to read about the details of your life and make a decision. I reiterate: this is weird, and it’s normal to feel confused (or even paralyzed) by this particular type of writing.

So let’s start with a deep breath and draw on strategies from more familiar types of writing.

We’re often tempted to think of a personal statement as a type of “essay,” but I would argue that they should be much more, um, personal than that.
So let’s consider who you’re writing to: a stranger.
Yikes, right? But before we get anxious, let’s take advantage of this information. Say to yourself, “I may not know a lot about how to write a personal statement “essay,” but I have an idea of how to tell my story to new people in my life.”

Now pick someone in your life who doesn’t know you very well: someone you’ve met in class, a friend of a friend, the barista at the coffee shop you frequent, the person you keep bumping into at the bus stop. Visualize them, and get ready to write them a letter. A legit*, “Dear Barista Joe, I’m applying to this graduate program in hydrogeological processes because…” letter.

This may sound hokey at first, but I find that treating the personal statement like a letter really helps writers naturally accomplish several goals:

1. The idea of writing a letter to someone in the periphery of your life who has no influence on the outcome of your application is less intimidating than sending an “essay” off to some unknown, faceless decision-making body. Adopting this perspective can help you dial back your stress level and derail the perfectionistic tendencies that often interfere with the writing process.

2. Letter writing also makes you consider how you want to pace and order your information. You’ll organically want to present information in a way that will be digestible for a real person (which is convenient, because a real person will eventually read your personal statement).

3. Writing a letter can help you strike a relaxed, even tone. When you’re in “essay-writing-mode,” it’s easy to lose the personal touch that letter writing can naturally invoke. Be informal, curse, tell the absolute truth, get it all out of your system. Barista Joe is a groovy guy, and this draft letter is just a way to help sublimate the concepts from your head onto a page; you can work with this draft and polish it later *(for example, dropping words like “legit” for the more formal “legitimate”).

Once you have a letter drafted, you’ve taken a huge first step! Now you have something to review and improve upon; to share with friends for feedback; to take to experts at writing and career centers to develop greater strength and focus.

My favorite thing about the letter writing strategy is that it isn’t limited to personal statements. It’s a trusted process I turn to whenever I feel stuck on any writing project, and I hope that practicing this simple technique will make you a stronger and more adaptive writer.

 

398862_10102939874230350_1302027882_n

Jacob Pietsch is a Master in Public Affairs student at UT Austin’s LBJ School and works as a consultant at the Undergraduate Writing Center. He has a BA in Rhetoric and Writing from UT Austin, and he served as a high school college adviser for two years with the Advise TX program. His current policy interest is higher education access and retention for traditionally underserved communities.

Piquing Our Interest: Writing an Engaging Introduction

Contributing Blogger: Regina Mills

Introductions are one of the most important ways that readers begin their experience with your work. When I evaluate papers, it is often (though not always) the case that a well-written introduction precedes a well-written paper. It is easy to see writers who did not follow the writing process of revisiting and revision, as their paper often gets better as they write it. This development is good, but it only leaves the reader with maybe 1-2 pages of high-quality writing. On the other hand, the clear, well-constructed introduction demonstrates that the writer clearly understands what they want to convey and how they want to present it.

Writing a good introduction can be difficult. You may feel a lot of pressure to make it great or maybe you’re not sure what kind of introduction your instructor wants.  Nevertheless, one thing that most instructors want is an engaging start that makes us want to read your paper. Here I offer three strategies for hooking your reader in:

Anecdote: One way to show the reader that you are invested in your topic is to offer a personal story or experience that gives the individual experience of a broader topic. For example, if you are writing about the evolving role of technology in higher education, you could start with an anecdote about the technology that your parents used versus your own experience using Blackboard or Animoto.

Possible issues with this strategy: being too personal, being too vague, or describing an experience that isn’t really that special or doesn’t connect to your thesis.

Quotation: Use a block quote or concise, pithy line that sets the tone for your paper. You may place this before the actual introduction and use your first few lines of the introduction to explain how it embodies the message of your paper. This shows that your opinion or topic has been thought about deeply by other important historical or scholarly figures.

Possible issues with this strategy: forgetting to include the author of the quotation. The quotation may not seem to have a clear connection to the reader, or you take too much time explaining the quote, which makes it seem tangential.

Statistics: Some people are more likely to think something is worthwhile or true if there are numbers involved. Using shocking or intriguing statistics can really engage your reader. For example, if you are discussing issues of credit card debt, it may help to show the scale of the issue by presenting the average credit card debt of an American.

Possible issues with this strategy: be very careful about using an accurate, credible source; sometimes people misuse statistics to garner undeserved support. Also, pick only 1 or 2 major statistics; you lose the impact if you list tons of numbers and then don’t explain their connection to your message.

These three methods of engagement in your introduction are far from the only ones, but they are proven to be effective (when used correctly). Watch for my next post to discuss methods of conclusion that close out your paper with a bang.

Regina Mills is a PhD student in English (Ethnic and Third World Literature) at UT-Austin who works at the Undergraduate Writing Center and is an Assistant Instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing. She has a Master’s of Education in Secondary English Education from Arizona State University. Her current research interests are in Latin@ literature, Central American memoirs, immigrant literature, feminist theory, and auto/biography studies.

CALL FOR PAPERS: SPECIAL ISSUE ON THE FUTURE OF WRITING CENTERS

Praxis1

In honor of the 20-year anniversary of the Undergraduate Writing Center at The University of Texas at Austin and in conjunction with the UWC’s celebration and symposium on the future of writing centers, Praxis: A Writing Center Journal invites you to submit papers that reflect creatively on the challenges writing centers face, the questions writing center professionals should be asking, and the directions we might pursue as a field.

Some topics you might productively explore include: What aspects of our current practice should we pass on to the next generation of writing center practitioners? What would you like re-examine, re-define, or re-imagine?

How will the digital revolution continue to shape writing center pedagogy and practice? What challenges will arise as education becomes an increasingly digitized activity? How does growing up in a digitized world affect the way students experience the act of writing? What will best enable us to continue to meet their needs and expectations?

For the past forty years, writing centers have been engaged in legitimizing themselves as professional services. What arguments for legitimacy best serve us in the current landscape of university education? What issues deserve our attention now?

For information about submitting an article, the journal’s blind review process, or to suggest themes for future issues, please visit praxis.uwc.utexas.edu.

Guidelines

Recommended length is 3000 to 4000 words for articles and 1000-1500 words for column essays and reviews.

Please include Works Cited and footnotes as you do a word count (and use endnotes rather than footnotes). Articles should conform to current MLA style (7th edition). Please use double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12pt. font and one-inch margins. Please only use one space after a period. Do not format your paper in any other way.

Images and tables should be formatted as both a jpeg and word doc/excel file and uploaded as supplemental files. When submitting your document, please indicate if your article is to be considered for our “Focus Article”, “Column”, or “Book Review” section.

Please include an abstract (under 250 words) along with your submission. Please include a brief author bio to be included if your article/column/review is accepted for publication.

Deadlines: Please submit your essay before June 15 to be considered for this Fall 2013 issue.

Call for Blog Posts

Praxis1

The UWC Praxis Blog is now open for Spring 2013 submissions!

Writing a blog post is a great way for writing center employees and administrators to share their skills, strategies, interests, and insights.

If your are interested in writing a blog post, please e-mail praxisuwc@gmail.com with your proposed topic to receive additional information.