The purpose of the PNWCA is to further the theoretical, practical, and political interests of writing center professionals, and to encourage dialogue about writing and learning among students, faculty and staff. Membership includes writing center staff from Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington and the Yukon.
Founded and affiliated with the International Writing Centers Association in 2004, the PNWCA and its officers truly wish to represent the needs unique to writing centers in our North American geographical region.
If you're a writing center professional from the region--and, yes, that includes writing tutors, consultants, assistants, and graduate teaching assistants--then we invite you to create an account, explore this site's resources, ask questions, and join conversations.
Below you will find links to the most recent announcements, posts, and news items below.
Resist/Persist: Teaching and Tutoring College Writers for Justice, Safety, and Progress
2017 TYCA-PNW/PNWCA Joint Conference
University of Washington-Tacoma
October 13-14, 2017
In light of the 2016 United States Presidential election, we return to “Higher Education for Democracy,” a key Executive report written 70 years ago under President Harry S. Truman. In it, The President’s Commission on Higher Education argued that “[e]ducation that liberates and ennobles must be made equally available to all. Justice to the individual demands this; the safety and progress of the Nation depend on it” (Sullivan and Toth 8). More directly, and more recently, Nell Ann Pickett, in her 1997 address to the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), described community colleges as “democracy in action” (Pickett 11). Considering the current sociopolitical climate, and a renewal of bootstrap sentiments and policies such as those championed in Angela Lee Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (2016), the Two-Year College English Association of the Pacific Northwest (TYCA-PNW) and the Pacific Northwest Writing Centers Association (PNWCA) ask college writing instructors, writing center directors, and writing tutors to revisit the essential concepts of justice, safety, and progress in a moment requiring academic resistance and persistence.
Discussions about racism, sexism, transphobia and xenophobia have come to center stage on many campuses in recent months. These tensions play out in classrooms, in students' lives, and on various media, leading many instructors to ask how they can empower students individually while also helping them challenge inequitable systems and ideologies. As educators, we understand that, as Paulo Freire argued in his landmark work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, teaching is an inherently political activity. Nevertheless, many of us feel as though we are navigating unchartered, turbulent waters with increasingly high stakes.
At the 2017 TYCA-PNW/PNWCA joint conference, we invite you to share strategies, challenges, and questions about the ways our teaching and tutoring resist and persist in a threatening political climate. How do we best work toward the justice, safety, and progress that has been emphasized within education circles for decades?
Proposals may consider the following questions:
● How might we encourage or develop resistance and persistence when creating writing assignments for the composition classroom?
● What are the potential effects—pedagogically, psychologically, or structurally—of embracing a grit narrative when teaching composition in the two-year college? What is the impact on students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse interests?
● How is the act of teaching writing a political act? Is the writing teacher or tutor neutral?
● How do instructors navigate conversations about race, class and gender in the classroom?
● How do recent political trends play out on our campuses and in our classrooms? How should we as academics, mentors and teachers respond to these trends? What tools can we give students to make sense of these trends?
● What do student acts of resistance look like? How can students and instructors encourage students to resist instructor, institutional, or cultural norms of authority in constructive ways?
● What pressures may the political landscape put on various campus communities? What resources are available for diverse student populations? What is the role of the tutor or the writing instructor in facilitating a multicultural learning environment?
● How do implied institutional stances in support of “standardized English” conflict with stated values of equity, diversity, and inclusion?
● What role may research in writing centers or writing programs play in expanding notions of what leads to student success?
● What kind of co-curricular programming are writing centers and writing programs developing to support students as they face rising racism, transphobia, and xenophobia?
● How do writing centers continue to perform as safe spaces for students and faculty as political rhetoric and policy become increasingly divisive?
● What actions can writing programs and writing centers take--from training and hiring practices to position statements and campus outreach--that promote inclusivity?
Proposals must contain the following:
● Presenter contact info (name, institution, institutional email, and phone number)
● Proposal abstract (150 words or less per individual presenter)
● Proposal -- one 150-word abstract per person, plus a one-paragraph introduction for panels or workshops, as necessary (file emailed by July 1, 2017 to TYCA.PNWCA2017conf@gmail.com in .docx, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, or .odf format)
● Session type (50 min. individual presentation; 15 min. individual presentation to be combined with related presentations; 50 min. panel of multiple (2-3) individual presentations; 50 min. workshop; poster session; other 50 min. type?)
● Session track (TYCA-PNW; PNWCA; both TYCA-PNW/PNWCA; writing program administration; writing tutoring; writing center administration)
● Requested technology
Conference Co-Chair, Jake Frye, Green River Community College, firstname.lastname@example.org
TYCA-PNW Chair, Travis Margoni, Yakima Valley College, email@example.com
PNWCA President, Amanda Hill, Cornish College of the Arts, firstname.lastname@example.org
Announcing the PNWCA Writing Center Administrator Conference Scholarship
The PNWCA is happy to announce the Writing Center Administrator Conference Scholarship (Links to Google Doc). Recipients will receive a scholarship in the form of funds for conference registration fees and one night’s stay at the conference hotel.
Applicants must meet the following criteria:
1) Be a new writing center administrator or new to our region
2) Demonstrate financial need
Applications will be reviewed by the PNWCA board members. Recipients will be notified via email.
Email PNWCA President, Amanda Hill at email@example.com with any questions.
Outstanding Proposals by Undergraduate Student Scholarships
The PNWCA is committed to supporting the research and scholarship of undergraduate peer writing tutors. To further this goal, PNWCA will award a total of $500 in scholarships for use toward conference expenses. Five awards of $100 each (per proposal) will be made. Recipients will be notified via email and honored in person at the conference. To be considered for this scholarship, please check the undergraduate presenter box on the submission form. If you have questions, please contact PNWCA President, Amanda Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much Hill Taylor, Jenny Halpin, and Amy Whitcomb for your response, questions, suggestions, and interest to advance graduate research writing support in the PNW. Your collaboration and sharing are crucial to identify the real needs of graduate research writers across the PNW and develop different writing support approaches for better research communication and innovation.
Happy New Year 2015!
Green River Community College
February 28, 2015 in Auburn, WA
With increased national attention on degree completion rates at universities and colleges, tutoring programs and academic resource centers routinely demonstrate their value on campuses across the US. Many working in higher education understand how tutoring and academic resource centers help students in traditional ways, but oftentimes these programs serve functions that are not recognized. Students have to navigate difficult terrain in college, and they face many obstacles in their efforts to be successful. Tutors, peer navigators, mentors, Supplemental Instruction leaders, advisors, and others act as guides who make the pathways to academic success more visible for students. This conference challenges the faculty, administrators, staff, and students of these kinds of programs to share and critically examine the strategies and practices they use to help students achieve their goals and reach the summit of success.
Dr. Joyce Hammer, Director of Transfer Education for the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges