Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Would all the WPAs in the room please raise their hands?

Yesterday I mentioned a few reasons for blogging, including Clancy Ratcliffe’s discussion of blogging as “management of sources” and Scribbingwoman’s notion that blogging is somewhere prior to drafting in the writing process. Both of these sounded good to me, but I don’t have enough experience in this genre to know if “sounds good” equals “works for me” in this situation. So, in the name of science (and by “science” I mean trying to get my paper started), today, I’m going to try this notion of blogging as part of the writing process out for myself on my IWCA paper.

What I’m think/reading/writing about is the definition of the writing center director as writing program administrator. That is, are all directors WPAs? If so, why don’t there seem to be more cross conversation between all sorts of writing program directors? I know I’ve learned an awful lot from the director of technical writing at my last institution (some of the technical writing stuff can really come in handy when you’re writing an annual report or strategic plan) and of course the administrator of the Comp program was a partner in crime and is still a fast friend. It would be nice if there could be more cross-disciplinary conversation than currently exists, I think.

-- More to the point, though, I’m wondering if writing center director is a subset of the category WPA? Or two distinct categories with overlap.

I have a sneaking suspicion that many of my friends and admirers in writing center studies would choose option “B” to preserves the distinctness of what we do, but that sort of begs the definitional questions

  • When is a writing center director a WPA?
  • Are all directors WPA sometimes?
  • When we perform certain roles?
  • Is it a matter of self-definition?
  • Is it structured into our jobs – are we a WPA if we have duties that can be identified with a writing program as it is traditionally defined?

Those are the questions that currently concern my and I’d love it if y’all would help me write my paper – er – I mean – share your insights . . .. Next entry, I’ll look at some of the scholarship on writing centers and writing programs to see if *those* scholars can write my paper – er – I mean enrich my thinking . . . .

Today’s link:
Assessment got you down? Looking for a message statement that will tie into the corporate university? Let the Dilbert Mission Statement Generator lend a hand:

The (Dilbert) Mission for the University of Delaware Writing Center

We exist to assertively simplify diverse meta-services.


At 10:02 AM, Blogger Clint Gardner said...

I too find the blog interesting, but I don't have church decoration hints.

As for being a WPA, I guess I see my role as a cooperative. I am current the chair of our writing program council which makes me officially a WPA, I suppose, but when I'm not chairing that council, I still feel I work collaboratively with the other folks on that council, but I'm not sure I consider myself and "administrator." I am not particularly sure why I perceive administrators as simply decision makers and not in the midst of the action, as it were. A WCA seems much more actively involved in her program/center.

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Clint Gardner said...

Note: WCA=Writing Center Administrator. (in other words it is not a typo.)

At 10:27 AM, Blogger /WCJ/ said...


I'm wondering if it would be fair to say that an WCA teaches writing while a WPA administers those who teach writing? If that's what you're saying, I find it illuminating of my own situation (heck, I find it illuminating even if that's *not* what you're saying) --In this job I "feel" like more of an administrator here than I did in my last gig, and I haven't been entirely sure why. . . maybe, in part, because I'm at a greater remove from both the center and the classroom b/c I run WAC, the center and the writing programs. On the other hand, I do see my administrative work as teacher-scholar activity -- as I've always seen writing center work.

Oy, now I'm getting a headache.


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