Writing Center Sends Tutors to Present Research

March 20, 2015

This month the College of Western Idaho (CWI) Writing Center sent two tutors to present at the Northwest Tutoring Center (NTC) Conference at Green River College in Auburn, Washington Amber Shoopman led a discussion on adaptive change in conversation during a tutoring session. Maria Howard presented research on how Writing Center tutors play an essential role in student retention and persistence towards graduation and future success beyond college. Shoopman and Howard said their experience was beneficial to their current work and expect it to impact their future careers as teachers.

“Having the opportunity to present my research and techniques, and talk about our writing center, not only improved my skills and confidence for my own teaching career path, but garnered an improved image of CWI and brokered an increased level of respect for our consultants,” said Shoopman. “In addition, the NTC conference introduced me to several new programs and theories that will benefit and strengthen the Writing Center and, by extension, CWI students.”

Howard shared during her presentation, “Students in particular see how the Writing Center helped them through gaining more confidence and skills—both academically and socially—has helped to ensure retention towards graduation.”

This marks the fourth time CWI Writing Center tutors have been accepted to present original research at regional, national, and international conferences. CWI Writing Center Coordinator, Rick Coonrod, says he is not surprised by the continued success of CWI tutors.

“The tutors are treated like grad students,” says Coonrod. “They come to us already talented as writers and scholars, and I simply expect them to act that way.”

Writing tutors are given plenty of encouragement to research their ideas. Part of their training includes researching tutoring topics and presenting their findings to the group. Often, tutors then take their research further, revising and expanding their research for conference presentations.

The conference presentations identify the CWI Writing Center as a professional enterprise comparable to any other long-established writing center in the country. Nevertheless, the opportunity to enter the professional conversation at a conference has a positive impact on the individual tutors and students.

Howard adds, “Attending the conference helped me immeasurably, because it reinforced that the work I am doing in the Writing Center is instrumental in the success of myself and students.”