Rebecca Hallman Martini
We are pleased to introduce our latest general issue of The Peer Review, which includes four article manuscripts and two book reviews that collectively engage in inquiries on how we train writing center consultants and how we work with a wide range of students and learners. We’d like to thank our managing editor, Ashley Cerku, for her coordination, as well as all those who reviewed and copyedited submissions for helping us get this issue ready for publication.
We also would like to take this opportunity to introduce and welcome two new staff members: Dr. Nicole Caswell, who will be transitioning to our professional editor, and Dr. Randall Monty, who is taking over as our web editor. We’d like to sincerely thank Dr. Rebecca Martini for all of her work for The Peer Review, as both our long-standing professional editor and one of the founding editors. We’d also like to once again thank Kelsey Hixson-Bowles, who filled in as our web editor after stepping down as graduate co-editor. TPR would not be what it is today without both of their hard work, dedication, and diligence. We are grateful for their mentorship and leadership.
As we move forward with The Peer Review our core focus remains on mentoring new voices within the field. In the next six months, you’ll see calls for new student and professional reviewers, onboarding experiences for our new reviewers and authors, and a new streamlined timeline for submissions. We are excited to work more closely with the International Writing Center Association Collaborative, the IWCA conference, and NCPTW to cultivate an intentional conference-to-publication pipeline that appeals to graduate and undergraduate presenters. We envision possible conference proceedings which include virtual poster presentations. Our conferences are filled with new voices and exciting research/ideas. We want to be the journal promoting these voices.
We start our issue with “Educating a Large Writing and Communication Center Staff through Online Blackboard Learning Modules: Planning, Implementation, and Assessment” by Michaela Greer, Jacqueline Lytle, Emalee Shrewsbury, and Kevin Dvorak. The authors detail their online modules for training both new and returning consultants at their writing center. Their multimodal composition provides a comprehensive review and discussion of their training process, adding a level of detail that is invaluable to administrators building a training program from the ground up or those seeking to adapt to an online model at their writing center. Dvorak et al.’s attention to data-driven assessment and staff-centered revisions are key contributions into the scholarly discussion of professional development in writing center studies.
Margaret Winton’s piece, “Deaf Culture and Translingualism in the Writing Center,” offers a powerful intervention at the intersections of Deaf studies and writing center scholarship. Winton argues that “Translingualism, a theory that proposes writers and tutors view language as a fluid entity that influence one’s language systems, can be easily applied in the Writing Center to work with d/Deaf writers.” Where past work on disability studies and Deafness have researched and implemented changes in tutor training (Marron 1993; Weaver 1996; Schmidt et al. 2009; Babcock 2009, 2011, 2012), Winton builds a connection between multi-language learning and Deaf studies to address educational inequities for d/Deaf students.
In addition to Dvorak et al. and Winton’s work, Wenqi Cui adds an additionally meaningful perspective to conversations on tutor and tutee identities. In her piece, “Identity Construction of a Multilingual Writing Tutor,” Cui conducts a discourse analysis to examine the identity formation of a multilingual writing tutor. Her case study examines the ways in which a multilingual writer’s identity was co-constructed with the writers he tutored and the writing center community to which he belonged. This study highlights the complexity of identity construction, both in terms of in the academy and in writing centers specifically. For Basheer, his identities were “pluralistic, contingent, and dynamic” in the activity of his tutoring sessions and in the context of his own multiple identities as a writer. His identity was also one that could juxtapose other identities out of the writing center, which is yet another complexity writing center administrators and staff can consider in their training programs and protocols.
Havva Zorluel Özer’s article “Staffing an EFL Writing Center: Issues and Perspectives” broadens out this issue’s scale to consider writing center work globally. Her review of international writing center scholarship is a necessary intervention into our field’s oftentimes US-centric scope, specifically investigating the prevalence of faculty-member tutoring models in English as a Foreign Language contexts. Her descriptive research study contributes an in-depth, qualitative analysis of writing center director perspectives at institutions in Turkey. Her call for greater collaboration between scholars in the US and in international writing centers is one for our entire field to adhere to as we weigh the global contexts of writing center pedagogy.
Together, these four articles help address the ways that writing centers train workers locally as well as the possibilities for cultivating more inclusive and effective tutoring practices across the field. The wide range of these pieces highlight the importance of multimodal scholarship, methods and practitioner-driven analysis, and of cross-disciplinary and international perspectives of writing center work. Dvorak et al. and Cui provide strong interventions into tutor training with shared attention to the ways tutors form their identities and experience professional development in the writing center. Winton also helps intervene into training, showing the ways writing center practice can be made more accessible through an interdisciplinary approach. She, Cui, and Zorluel Özer all work to broaden our field’s perspectives on the disciplinary, cultural, and contextual scope of writing center scholarship. Each piece helps us build our local practices and broaden our scholarship from a variety of focal points.
We are pleased to include Travis Webster’s book review of Steven Corbett’s Beyond Dichotomy: Synergizing Writing Center and Classroom Pedagogies. Webster expertly connect the book’s course-based tutoring theory and research with his own practices as a Writing Center Director and WAC Faculty Administrator. As Beyond Dichotomy shows the permeability of boundaries between writing centers and classrooms, Webster further speaks to their generative grounds for partnership through an administrative and practitioner perspective.
Jiawei Xing’s review of Around the Texts of Writing Center Work: An Inquiry-Based Approach to Tutor Education by R. Mark Hall continues the conversation on professional development and the permeable boundaries of writing centers by reflecting on Hall’s attention to writing center texts through a variety of applied theories and research methods. Aligned with Hall’s attention to writing center administrators and workers, Xing grounds Hall’s text with a focus on practitioner outcomes and tutor education.