OCU Writing Center Presents at Writing Center Conference at the University of Notre Dame

The OCU Writing Center has been busy this year. In addition to the over 400 drop-in visits they received from students, the twelve writing workshops they hosted, and their work with students in the Basic Writing Lab, they also presented at a professional writing conference this past spring.April 10-11, Dr. Krista Stonerock and Christine Zimmerman, co-directors of OCU Writing Center, accompanied a group of tutors to the annual East Central Writing Center Association (ECWCA) Conference held at the University of Notre Dame. Tutors Ethan Allen, Tim Allen, Brent Palmer, and Kelsey Blackman, along with Stonerock and Zimmerman, shared their research on tutoring strategies in the Basic Writing Lab in a presentation titled “Working with Basic Writers: Negotiating the Line of Minimalist versus Directive Tutoring.”The directors and tutors of the OCU Writing Center value their role in working with students on their writing and are committed to the continuing improvement of their tutoring practice. Attending professional conferences reinforces the concepts presented in training. According to tutor Tim Allen, “The ability to present the knowledge we gained, share our successes and failures, and receive ideas from tutors of different levels of expertise and experience makes the conference more comprehensive than any course or training program.”  Brent Palmer added, “It’s always nice to be reassured what you’re doing is important and making an impact.”   Participation in professional conferences, such as the ones hosted by ECWCA, also inspires our tutors to raise the bar professionally.  Writing Center tutors and administrators at other universities are interested in hearing about our unique strategies for tutoring, remediation, and workshops at OCU; this interest has given our tutors a renewed sense of pride in their work. Tutor Ethan Allen explained, “It [the conference] made me see tutoring as not just something I do, but it is a profession, one that I can grow in and become an expert.” Tutors consistently return from professional conferences refreshed, refocused, and ready to finish the semester strongly. Echoing Ethan, tutor Kelsey Blackman said that she walked away from the conference feeling “like what I do is important.” Tim Allen believes that involvement of tutors in professional conferences serves to “challenge us as a department and as individuals to serve our peers, department, and university more effectively.”The ECWCA conference at Notre Dame was just one of many that the OCU Writing Center has participated in through the years, and, considering the value it has had in the professional development of our staff, it certainly will not be the last.

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