WOU: PNWCA Conference 2010

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Pacific Northwest Writing Centers Association Conference: 9-10 April 2010


WOU hosted the annual Pacific Northwest Writing Center Association (PNWCA) Conference 9-10 April 2010 at Western Oregon University. The state of Oregon last hosted PNWCA in 2006, so we were thrilled to have the conference on Oregon soil again.

Katherine Schmidt, WOU Writing Center Director

Heidi Coley, WOU Writing Center English Writing Specialist for Spanish Speakers

Jennifer Morris, WOU Writing Center International Writing Specialist


The Writing Center Effect: Collaboration, Professionalization, & Sustainability

One tiny, seemingly unimportant event has the power to alter the whole of history and direct universal future. This phenomenon, known as the butterfly effect, is Edward Lorenz’s scientifically founded idea that one butterfly’s small turbulence in the sky can determine larger, devastating atmospheric behavior. The butterfly is one of the tiniest creatures on earth, yet its metamorphosis can stymie the genius, and its flight can cause the difference between rain and drought. Like the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can massively reconstruct the atmosphere’s weather, a writing center can direct long-term effects on the behavior of the larger, dynamic system and atmosphere: its institution. The writing center can play a pivotal role, whether large or small, in creating winds of change on its surrounding community.

With the butterfly effect in mind, use the following questions as springboards to consider your writing center’s effect on its larger institution and surrounding community with regards to collaboration, professionalization, and sustainability.

• What kind of partnerships, relationships, and/or infrastructures has your writing center developed with other units on campus or in the surrounding community?
• How has your convergence altered not only your center but the greater institution and community?
• How could these convergences expand and what new convergences could be created to further affect your system’s atmosphere?

• We emphasize to our students that they must know their audience to communicate effectively. Who is your writing center’s audience? What are their priorities, concerns, interests, and their realms of influence?
• What is your writing center’s overarching purpose and pedagogy, and how can this purpose be conveyed to those outside the writing center community in a way that they will understand and accept?
• How can research be practically implemented into the writing center unit and made consistently available as professional development for the writing center staff as well as your institution’s faculty and administration?

• How could your current policies, practices, and partnerships ensure the stability and endurance of your writing center and its larger public sphere?
• How could awareness of change in student statistics as well as university challenges and priorities increase your writing center’s influence?
• What are some creative solutions for sustainability and expansion of services that do not require large spending?

Proposal Guidelines
Prepare a proposal of 750 words maximum that includes the following:

• Name, position, institution, and contact information of all presenters
• Title, description, and 50-word abstract of presentation
• Identification of your audience: (1) peer consultants, (2) professional staff, or (3) combination of both consultants and professional staff
• Format of session (see session format description below)
• Request for necessary audiovisual or technical support

All proposals must address the following:

• A particular question, issue, or problem
• Your contribution or potential solution
• A statement of what participants will learn and be able to contribute
• A clear plan for how you will engage participants

Session Formats:

• Panels [45 – 60 minutes] allow for 3 to 4 individuals to each present their work in 15 – 20 minutes increments.
• Group Presentations [45 – 60 minutes] centralize on a theme or question and include 15 minutes for interactive Q & A.
• Roundtable Discussions [45 – 60 minutes] are designed where the presenters address a specific question or theme and facilitate audience discussion of the issue.
• Workshops [45 – 60 minutes] focus on audience interaction through hands-on practice of a particular learning strategy or central theme.

Process for Submitting Proposals
Deadline for Proposals: 29 January 2010 (US mail must be postmarked by 27 January)

You have two options for submitting proposals: submit electronically to writingcenter@wou.edu or send via US mail to the following address:

Attn: PNWCA Proposal Committee
Writing Center/APSC 301
Western Oregon University
345 N. Monmouth Avenue
Monmouth, OR 97361

Individuals and groups from all disciplines are invited to send proposals; cross-disciplinary teams are especially encouraged to share their strategies in creating and sustaining successful partnerships that serve the larger institution.

*Note: students who live more than 80 miles away are eligible to apply for free housing when they register for the conference by the registration deadline: 12 March 2010.

Oregon Directors' Day Out: 24 June 2009 at Western Oregon University

For those who attended the DDO at WOU on 24 June 2009, please find meeting notes and minutes at DDO 2009 Minutes.


Writing Center 503-838-8286 | or e-mail: writingcenter@wou.edu

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