Wednesday, July 13, 2005

KU Writing Center

Hi I'm Verlinda Washburn from Dickinson State University (DSU) in Dickinson, North Dakota. I'm attending the IWCA summer writing institute and having both a fun and edifying time.

DSU has never had a writing center, but I will be creating one that is due to open August 23, by presidential command. Thus, I'm here in Lawrence absorbing all the information I can. I really appreciate our esteemed education staff headed by Michele. I think they are not only well versed in the knowledge of Writing Center theory and practice, but they are congenial, inclusive, and very lively presenters and facilitators. I have gained a wealth of knowledge in a very short timeframe.

Today we had a great discussion facilitated by Clint and Harry on the hierarchy in institutions as related to Writing Center Directors.
The question: If we see WC Director as an in-depth, academic career, where do the hierarchies of degrees, of faculty/staff, and of respect come in? Masters or Ph.D.?

- Realize that they exist, and deal with them from that perspective
- Frankie - Ph.D.'s don't necessarily know more than MA's. There are a number of ways to acquire knowledge.
- Nevertheless within an institution, it can make a difference according to the environment on campus.
- Investing in a Ph.D. may not be cost effective for some.
- There is no Ph.D. in Writing Center Academics.
- There are other pressures on directors to have a Ph.D. besides peer pressure within the institution and within the WC community. Accreditation and university prestige are two.
- Must not only be critical of self (choices, position, degrees, etc.) but also be critical of the institutional/cultural/social forces that are requiring you to exhibit certain defenses/behaviors/responses.
- One must always push him/herself to grow in whatever way; we can never be static. Getting a Ph.D. is only one way to grow.
- What about the logistics of the future of the WC Director? Will a time come when one must have a Ph.D. to get the job? Is that a good thing?
- Jeanne: Some of the frustrations that we feel are imbedded in the contradictions, and they are not going to go away. Experience vs. degree; tenure and degree vs. effectiveness of ones work and contribution to the student and university
- Writing centers serves all disciplines not just comp/rhet

In closing:

A Michelism for the day: We can all be the CVO, the Chief Visionary Officer, for our campus!




At 4:25 AM, Blogger Tamara Miles said...

Excellent observations on life with and without a PhD. I'm still planning to work on mine eventually. Congrats on the new writing center. We've been in business here since January, and I've loved the grand opening experience and the directorship. The PhD thing isn't as terribly important at the technical college level, so I didn't have to worry about it so much. Still, a PhD in Writing Center Academics sounds awesome. How about a PhD in Writing Center Creation and Evolution? :>)

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