Writing Center Director and Tutors Attend Regional Writing Centers Association Conference

April 01, 2010

Dr. Rodney F. Dick, director of the Writing Center and assistant professor of English, and seven tutors from the Mount Union College Writing Center recently attended the 29th Annual East Central Writing Centers Association (ECWCA) Conference.

The academic conference, held this year at Bowling Green State University from March 15-17, brought together over 150 teachers, writing center directors and staff as well as graduate and undergraduate peer tutors to present research, share ideas and engage in conversation over writing center theory and practice.

The peer tutors attending the conference included Leah Wetherald, a senior mathematics major; Kevin Burls, a senior environmental biology major; Jennifer Likes, a senior writing major; Hannah Esworthy, a junior writing major; Anna McClaugherty, a junior English major; Kate Schoneman, a junior writing major; and Craig Wilkinson, a junior sociology major.

Wetherald, who is also a lead tutor in the Writing Center this year, stated that attending the ECWCA conference made her feel 'professional.' Wetherald and Dick also presented their original ideas at the conference, leading a roundtable discussion about using Wikispaces in the Writing Center to expand existing sites for collaboration and communication. Additionally, Dick was invited to give the closing conference remarks as a keynote speaker.

The tutors also witnessed and reflected on the process of presenting at an academic conference and the importance of maintaining professional competence and sharing ideas. 'Attending conferences is how people share ideas, come up with new ideas and gain perspective,' said McClaugherty. 'It is important that we don't get caught in a 'bubble' where no experiences outside of Mount Union's campus are meaningful. Unless we actively seek outside experiences, we will not grow or change as a writing center, or as a college.'

'Tutors and administrators can greatly benefit from attending this conference in the future by following their own passions or by gaining a new interest through attending sessions on a variety of topics,' said Burls. 'This experience can only help the Writing Center become a more successful and effective organization.'

Last year's conference, held at Mount Union College, was hosted by Dick and his students. Next year's conference will be held in March at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

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