The Undergraduate as Administrator: Recollections and Lessons of a Graduating Senior

Andrea Theresa Gannon

Abstract


I discuss the ways in which the writing center at a small liberal arts college, Southwestern University, has changed over the past five years under different directing styles of undergraduate administrators. Through interviews with past directors, I discern how our Debby Ellis Writing Center’s methodology has adjusted to accommodate the writers who have emerged from a major curriculum change. Last year, a shift in the university’s writing program of study occurred when Southwestern University elected to eliminate its traditional first year “college writing” course in favor of a widened multi-discipline approach. This led to an increase in the number of clients who visited the writing center and affected what they were looking for in a consultant. Based on the interviews I conducted with previous staff members as well as my own observations as during four years of study at Southwestern University, I illustrate the new steps that the Debby Ellis Writing Center has undergone in order to address shifting student expectations. I also explore how staff members have adapted to this new methodology. I have been a client, an intern, a consultant, a director, and an undergraduate during the period in which these modifications to the curriculum and staff occurred in the Debby Ellis Writing Center, which gives me a unique perspective from which I can describe my experiences in the role of both undergraduate and administrator.


Keywords


Writing-Center Consulting; Writing-Center Administration; Writing-Center Experience; Writing-Center Undergraduate

References


“IWCA Graduate Student Position Statement.” Writing Center Journal 23.1 (2002): 59-61.

Lunsford, Andrea. “Collaboration, Control, and the Idea of a Writing Center.” The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors. 2nd ed. Ed. Christina Murphy and Steve Sherwood. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003: 47-53.

Mattison, Michael. Centered: A Year in the Life of a Writing Center Director. Raleigh: Lulu, 2008. Print.

Nicolas, Melissa. (E)Merging Identities: Graduate Students in the Writing Center. New York: Fountainhead Press, 2008. Print.

North, Stephen M. “The Idea of a Writing Center.” The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors. 2nd ed. Ed. Christina Murphy and Steve Sherwood. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003:31-45.


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