Writing Support Theory & Practice

Writers Supporting Writers

16 weeks
4 projects

This course explores several topics crucial to writing center work. For the first few weeks, course content will concentrate mainly on tutoring and consulting practices—strategies and techniques to help you work with a wide range of students and their writing as well as the theories behind them. This will include a brief overview of writing center history and positionality within institutional contexts. It is important for writing centers to understand their origin and the way they exist in relation to the past. We will consider the way writing centers story themselves into being, what that looks like, what that means, and how it affects the way tutors/consultants engage with clients. As the semester progresses, we will consider a variety of topics within writing center praxis including diversity and inclusion, Englishes, “correctness,” and responsive assessment. Throughout the term, the course participants will focus on four very important tenets found in Indigenous methodologies: respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility. How writing centers do the work of supporting writers is as important as the work of supporting writers. Therefore, this course is a mixture of theory and active practice.

A sample syllabus is provided below.

Possible Projects:

– Writing Process Narrative
– Writing Support Research Project and Presentation
– Writing Philosophy Mediation and Statement

Dr. Chelsea Murdock
Thoughts on the course:

This course is often positioned as a training course for writing center consultants before or during their tenure as a member of the writing center staff.

A practical element to any writing support training course is absolutely essential to the success of students. Observing, co-consulting, and reverse observations strengthen student understandings of theoretical concepts and allow students to see the theory in practice.

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