The Writing Partners Program: A Case Study of ELL Students and Beginning Coaches


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Conference Abstract

In a 1990 Writing Center Journal piece, Muriel Harris paused over the term "writing center," wondering if we even know what a writing center actually is given that centers have evolved in very different institutions to serve different needs at different time periods in our history. Twenty-five years later, this pan-el asks much the same question: Who Do We Think We Are? That is, what is a writing center to those students and faculty who use it, to administrations that hire personnel and create job descriptions, and even to Writing Studies as that discipline has changed over time. Currently, for example, Writing Studies encompasses fields as varied as Writing in the Disciplines and translingual or global language theories. In addition, though many writing centers continue to be housed in English departments, the field is witnessing a growing trend to place one-on-one writing instruction in academic support centers, discipline-specific centers, and learning commons. The question, then, of who we think we are is wrapped up in its corollary question: Who do others think we are? Or, to recall what is a perennial writing center question: What do they (our students, our faculty, our institutions) think we do? In an effort to address those questions, this panel reports on four different but related studies.