Our consultants and directors are actively engaged in Writing Center scholarship. Here are some examples of our work in the field.
Northeast Writing Centers Association (NEWCA) 2017
St John’s University Presenters: Alison Perry, Associate Director, Michael Reich, Doctoral Candidate, Tina Iemma, Doctoral Fellow, and Talia Nanton, Writing Consultant, Ceciliana Sturman, Writing Consultant, Hannah Pruzinsky, Writing Consultant, Mikayla Torres, Writing Consultant, Preetica Pooni, Writing Consultant, Anna Cairney, Doctoral Fellow, Miguel Vasquez, Writing Consultant, Marla Katz, Writing Consultant, Sohayla Eltahlawy, Writing Consultant
This year at NEWCA 2017, the St. John’s University team held three roundtable discussions:
Narratives of Invisible Labor: Making Visible What is Otherwise Hidden aimed to render visible narratives of otherwise invisibl(ized) labor by sharing stories from our own experiences as Writing Center administrators and consultants. We unpacked with our audience ways by which our institutions link visibility to value.
Cloaked In Her Words examined the act of writing as an entity that creates safe spaces for women, while specifically looking at how writing centers uniquely provide the opportunity to foster and engage with this safe space for women in college. Focusing specifically on a St. John’s University-wide research collective provided an example of how purposefully facilitated discussions can prompt meaningful awareness, as well as challenge narratives around gender within Writing Centers.
Literally, Writing In the Margins: The Labor of Love or Loathing with Online Tutoring focused on the Writing Center as a place of digitized possibilities. We shared our stories as consultants as we labor not face-to-face, but through online sessions, including synchronized chats, and consulting completely independent of conversation. Further, we raised questions about the digital expanse existent within the Writing Center. During our roundtable discussion, we asked the question of whether our multifaceted identities change the way we approach each online session. Is there a certain narrative into which we fit ourselves?
IWCA (International Writing Centers Association) 2016 Denver, CO
“You’re so well-spoken and articulate (for a…?)”
Popular campus discourse pushes for diversity, acceptance, and inclusivity; yet, beneath that lip-service our consultants are met with prejudice, assumptions, and othering. Skin tone and accents often trump all else to define perception and judgment. Three St. John’s University Writing Center Consultants and one Director (self-labeled “Black,” “African,” “Mixed,” and “Brown,” respectively) will lead a discussion on faculty/client expectations and reactions to appearance, supposed-fluency/expertise, and the subsequent “traces of domination.”
“I Hear You, I See You: Empathy in the Writing Center as an Awareness Raising Practice”
Student Research Day
April 7, 2016
“Yes, And…” The Complexity of Writing Center Work as told by the Everyday Narratives of Writing Consultants
Northeast Writing Centers Association (NEWCA) 2016
Keene State College, NH
In/Visible Maternal Bodies: Narratives of Maternity and Motherhood in Writing Centers
St. John’s University Presenters: Alison M. Perry, Associate Director, University Writing Center; Nancy Alvarez, Doctoral Candidate, English; Andrea Rosso Efthymiou, Assistant Professor, Writing Studies, Co-Director, Writing Center
This panel explores instances where actual, embodied motherhood intrude upon the grand narratives of the Writing Center as Home, and WCPs and female tutors as Mothers. After recounting their own experiences with in/visible maternity in the Writing Center, the panelists will invite attendees to represent and discuss their experiences with parenthood in the WC.
The Complexity of Writing Center Work as told by the Everyday Narratives of Writing Center Administrators, First-Year Writing Instructors, and Writing Center Consultants
St. John’s University Presenters: Anna Sicari, First-Year Writing Instructor; Alison Perry, Associate Director of the Writing Center; Michael Benjamin, Undergraduate Writing Consultant; Samira Korgan, Graduate Writing Consultant; Michael Reich, Doctoral Fellow; Lauryn Weigold, Undergraduate Writing Consultant
Questioning and pushing back at the grand narrative is a call that WCPs and tutors continue to struggle with, as writing center work is still depicted as a collective story of individualized tutoring and “best practices” that often remains unquestioned and unchallenged by people who work in writing centers (Eodice, Jordan, Price). This workshop asks the audience to reflect on how we both participate in and resist the grand narrative of writing center work.
Pop Culture Association 2016
Virtually Generating Writing Consultant Identities in High School Centers
Writing Center Presenters Michael Benjamin, Jenny Chen, Tom Philipose
College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) 2015
Navigating Emotional/Therapeutic Roles, Responsibilities, and Limits in Writing Centers
(WC presenters pictured below)
Writing consultants are often cast into the role of unofficial counselors. We explored several of these types of occurrences from our staff’s perspective and then engaged the audience in discussing the boundaries and possibilities of how writing consultants can and should straddle the line of tutor/mentor/guide/emotional-resource.
NEWCA: Northeast Writing Centers Association
Centenary College, NJ
April 18-19, 2015
Several writing consultants of the St. John’s University Writing Center collaborated with Pace University to participate in the 2015 NEWCA Conference:
Introspective Identity Politics: Negotiating the Self in Writing Center Practice
Writing centers work as agents of social change, challenging the institution to imagine these spaces as sites for political action and not an opportunity to remediate writers. The theoretics behind such thinking seems logical; however, for consultants, their work is ambiguous, as many of their academic experiences are traditional.
Our writing consultants discussed at this conference the times they negotiated their “public” identity and writerly persona, attending to the sociocultural/economic markers/divides that are realized through writing.
(WC presenters pictured below)
“Attending NEWCA 2015 was an enriching experience that allowed me to speak freely about my experiences as a writing consultant and feel intellectually challenged in a welcoming environment…” -Sami Korgan
IWCA: International Writing Center Association
Roundtable: Navigating Emotional/Therapeutic Roles, Responsibilities, and Limits in Writing Centers
WC presenters included: Miguel Vasquez, Lynnae Freeman, and Lexi Bennett.
Writing Consultants are not therapists. Or so we hear. Consultants are often cast into the role of unofficial counselors, and consultants themselves can just as often be triggered and/or re-traumatized by sessions. We plan to explore several of these types of occurrences from our staff’s perspective and then engage the audience in discussing the boundaries and possibilities of how writing consultants can and should straddle the line of tutor/mentor/guide/ emotional-resource.
Pop/American Cultural Association (PCA/ACA) Conference 2015
New Orleans, LA
Writing Center presenters Tom Philipose, Jenny Chen, and Michael Benjamin discussed Virtual Identities in the Classroom and Beyond: The Invisible Writing Center: Craving Identity within the Confines of CyberSpace.
American Society of Criminology (ASC) Conference 2014
San Francisco, CA
Writing to Right Injustice
With Writing Center presenters Tom Philipose and Noshee Mahmood.
NEWCA, March 2014
Difference and Inclusion: Writing Centers as Sites for Change
Consultants with Gendered Bodies: An Inquiry into Gender Performance in Sessions and Interactions at The Writing Center
With Writing Center presenters Donya Nasser, Bailey Robertson, Cara Messina, Alison Perry, and Anne Geller:
Although the Writing Center is supposed to be a safe place, gender roles and gender performance can affect the relationships formed between clients and consultants, as well as between other consultants. Conversations revolved around gender performance, personal narrative, consultant-to-consultant relationships and the affect of gender in sessions. Discussion was guided through lenses of body language, clothing, and theoretical practices.
Of Glass Doors and Ceilings: The Material and Ideological Consequences of Writing Centers as Regulatory Spaces
With Writing Center presenters Harry Denny, Katelyn Deluca, Logan Gomez, Princess Ikatekit, Corynna Lafrese, Jyoti Thomas, and Anna Sicari.
Writing Centers are often too implicit in policing students within the university, indoctrinating them into the standard “academic code.” This is due to the subservient nature of writing centers, often seen as “aids” and “labs” to the classroom. This roundtable served to take on Vershawn Young’s call for code switching and the possibilities of writing centers as spaces for social justice and critical citizenship. The participants briefly spoke into their own moments of code switching/meshing and then turned these moments to the audience, asking the audience about their own experiences, allowing for ample time to reflect, write, and speak about ways in which writing centers can become transformative spaces in the academy and the beyond.
Colorizing The Writing Center: One Writing Center Journey to Integrate Diversity and Discourse
With Writing Center presenters Nancy Alvarez and Princess Ikatekit
When Writing Centers pledge to “diversify” their staff, what are the implications of tacit monolingual languages policies in Writing Centers that also serve a culturally and linguistically diverse student body? What role does Standard English play in a Writing Center with several consultants who are multilingual of color, or both multilingual and of color? Who is in charge of this language standardization? This panel presented the research process and results of a recent study conducted to integrate language use-both among writing center consultants and between writing consultants and their clients-in one such writing center.
October 30, 2014
Creating a Freshman Writing Journal: A Collaboration Between First Year Writing Program and a Writing Center
Writing Center participants Derek Owens, Tom Philipose, Cara Messina, and Bailey Roberston. FYW faculty participants Tara Roeder and Anna Sicari.
Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) 2013
Las Vegas, NV
Scribbling, Inscribing, Describing: Problem-Posing an Organic Tutor Development Program
Writing Center Consultants Jonaki Singh, Noshee Mahmood, Josephine Marescot, Pedro Alfonso.
International Writing Centers Association (IWCA) Conference 2012
San Diego, CA
Writing ’bout a Revolution: How Our Writing Center Dealt with a Staff Mutiny
Writing Center presenters Tom Philipose, Devon Niccoli, and Mike Morrettoni.
IWCA: Mike Morrettoni and Devon Niccoli enjoying the San Diego waves.
The St. John’s University Writing Center proudly hosted NEWCA 2012: “Building from 9/11: Writing Centers ReImagine, ReInvent”.