Welcome to the online home of the 2020 National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing. We are pleased to bring you a collection of virtual presentations for this fall’s conference. We will be going “live” the week of October 26th. Be sure to bookmark this page, and mark your calendars.

NCPTW presentations will be posted online by Monday, October 26, 2020 (here) and the gathering on Zoom on the 30th will be an opportunity for participants to gather in small breakout rooms to discuss the presentations and exchange ideas. We hope that the online format will enable even wider participation than in a typical NCPTW, and the breakout sessions are designed to facilitate the same kind of intimate conversations that are an important part of NCPTW conferences.

Using this form, please register for the gathering on October 30. Individuals may register, or writing center directors can register for their entire center. It is necessary to register to receive the Zoom link, which will go out early next week to all registrants. 

We will spend a few minutes in plenary at the top of each hour, and from there, we will then disperse each hour into breakout groups for thematic conversation:

2:00-2:10 EDT Welcome to NCPTW 2020 Online 

2:10-2:50 EDT Breakout rooms on Structuring Our Centers: Writing Center Design, Tutor Education, and Campus Outreach (How does the design of our centers, our daily practices, our tutor education, and our means of outreach through social media and other venues impact our work? What will we take from these pandemic times into our future practice?)

2:50-3:00 EDT BREAK

3:00-3:10 EDT Overview of participating writing centers 

3:10-3:50 EDT Breakout rooms on Social Justice and the Writing Center (How can writing centers be sites of active, informed, and forward-looking work that engages with social justice praxis?)

3:50-4:00 EDT BREAK

4:00-4:10 EDT Looking forward to NCPTW 2021 Pittsburgh 

4:10-4:50 EDT Breakout rooms on Listening to and Engaging with Our Writers (What writers come—and don’t come—to the writing center, and how can our work be attentive to the variety of identities and needs writers embody?)

Participants are welcome to join when they can. To preserve the continuity of conversation in the breakout rooms, those who join after the start of breakout sessions each hour can participate in conversation in the main room until the start of the next breakout session. 

Looking forward to seeing you on the 30th on Zoom!

NCPTW 2020 Online Gallery

At our gathering on Oct. 30, 2020 we’ll be sharing images from participating writing centers. You may share some images from your center or your center’s logo on the NCPTW 2020 Online Gathering Photos form.

Title of PresentationPresentersAbstract
“Cuando la tiranía es ley, la revolución es orden”: Social Justice Through Linguistic RevolutionAgustín Toledo,St. Lawrence University (atole19@stlawu.edu)As an ESL student and tutee, I have been discriminated against and underestimated due to my limited command of the English language. Through my personal experience as a tutee and a new tutor, I contend that code meshing and translingualism are essential to achieve social justice in the writing center because they allow all students to express every aspect of their identities.
“Writing in the Disciplines” Resources as Tools for AccessibilityBethany Llewellyn,University of Puget Sound (bllewellyn@pugetsound.edu)Writing centers are uniquely positioned to support diverse student bodies by providing both education about traditional academic writing conventions and criticality of those conventions. However, their emphasis on the “universal” elements of writing neglects the need for resources conveying disciplinary rhetorical expectations. In this presentation I will share my experience working with faculty to develop a “Writing in the Disciplines” resource as part of the University of Puget Sound’s writing handbook, Sound Writing. Viewers will learn strategies for creating meaningful resources for students and engaging faculty across disciplines in conversations about writing conventions.
A Center of EngagementJennifer Peña,Florida International University (jpena121@fiu.edu) ;Xuan Jiang; Carmella Jimenez (xjiang@fiu.edu; cjime088@fiu.edu)This presentation will focus on tutor-led professional development activities, highlighting several workshops that were held by the speakers and other staff members in recent semesters. The panel will include a discussion of past research to connect the speakers’ work to existing theories. The presenters will also provide personal testimonies and examples of how tutor-led workshops have been conducted at their writing center, providing visual artifacts from their own professional development work.
A Writing Center and Community Confluence: Moving the Writing Center into the CommunityJames P. Purdy, Duquesne UniversityThis presentation will discuss an initiative to establish a community embedded location of the Duquesne University Writing Center. After providing a description of the Community Writing Center, the presenter will share lessons learned from the process of and challenges encountered in proposing this Community Writing Center. Viewers will learn tips for pursuing similar community engaged initiatives.
Academic Counterparts: Creative Writing in the Writing CenterNicholas R. Cabezas,Florida International University (ncabe004@fiu.edu) ;Charis E. Pineda (cpine051@fiu.edu)As creative writing is often eclipsed by its academic counterpart, we decided to focus more on its hidden presence upon the academic stage. In this podcast, we go over the presence, reception, and perception of creative writing within Florida International University’s Writing Center. Reviewing our research, we delineate upon the perspectives collected from both tutors and students. From a holistic view, we tackle ideas such as Creative Placemaking (Elizabeth Boquet) and more. On the tutor’s end, we talk about strategies for handling creative work such as utilizing Feedforward (Joe Hirsch). Meanwhile, on the student’s end, we discuss responsiveness and predisposition.
Adapting and Applying Valuable Practices of Historic Writing CommunitiesNicole O’Connell,University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (noconnell@umassd.edu)Writing centers have evolved greatly from their early foundations, but some aspects of late nineteenth century writing communities should not be forgotten in history. This presentation will argue that the spirit of local women’s writing groups as well as the shared diaries of normal school students can hold a valuable place in writing centers today. These practices, whether in-person or online, can help break down boundaries and create a community with emphasis on participation and inclusivity, resulting in a more thoughtful and reflective writing center.
Alumni Tutor Takeaways from Learning and Working at the Writing CenterXuan Jiang,Florida International University (xjiang@fiu.edu) ;Glenn Hutchinson (gchutchi@fiu.edu)We will discuss what tutors learned about themselves from taking the tutor preparation courses and helping students with their writing. After adapting Kail, Gillespie, and Hughes’ (2020) Peer Tutor Alumni project, we surveyed and interviewed former tutors from our Hispanic Serving Institution. Exploring alumni tutors’ perceptions about how their tutoring experiences affect their academic and professional growth and why they perceive so can contribute to the field’s professional development and scholarship.
An Inquiry Based Approach to Writing Tutor Training: A Step Towards Creating a Culture of Inclusivity in the Writing CenterAdam Daut,Arizona State University (Adam.Daut@asu.edu)The presenter will discuss how to equip writing tutors to be more responsive and aware when working with students of various cultural backgrounds, social identities, and literacies. The presenter will discuss activities that can be implemented in training to help writing tutors reflect on and recognize their own identities and literacies as well as understand the diversity of identities and literacies of students to create a culture of inclusivity in the writing center.
Creating Inclusive Remote Tutoring Spaces: Social Media Campaign to Engage a Diverse Student BodyDr. Barbara George,Kent State University (bgeorg15@kent.edu) ;Mariah Lanzer, Kent State University, Salem; Maegan Richards, Kent State University, Salem (mlanzer2@kent.edu; mrichar4@kent.edu)This panel presentation explores the use of social media to expand our tutoring presence to a diverse student body on the Kent Columbiana County campuses. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented and sudden demand for writing centers to move online (Rafoth, 2015; Hewett, 2015). To meet this demand while also ensuring that these spaces are welcoming to all, our writing center has examined research about writing centers and multimodality (Lee & Carpenter, 2013) and institutional discussions of social media use to encourage student engagement with writing center supports. We will discuss our own social media campaign to engage students in our writing center and offer practical take-aways for writing centers to use.
Elective Online Communities: Five Portraits of Writing Center Social Media Use and Non-UseAmanda M. May,New Mexico Highlands University (amandamay@nmhu.edu)This presentation contributes to ongoing conversations about writing center social media usage–and explores social media non-usage–by presenting five case studies of postsecondary writing centers: two that formerly used social media and three that currently use social media. Data in these case studies include interviews and, for the sites using social media, an analysis of social media posts, and the presentation focuses on reasons for non-use, as well as purposes for and approaches to posting social media content.
Empathy in the Writing CenterSally Schutz-Shelton, Texas A&M University (sallyannschutz@tamu.edu)Writing and consulting are part of a system requiring empathy. As an inherently emotional process, even the most analytical work takes a toll on the writer, while at the same time the work of consultants is also emotional labor. Responding appropriately to situations that call for empathy is not always easy or intuitive, and I suggest that we pool together our practical experience as writing center consultants and provide a set of standard answers to scenarios we often encounter—Frequently Encountered Scenarios That require Empathetic Responses.
Furthering Engagement and Motivation through Graduate Writing Groups at the Writing CenterAdrian R. Salgado,Florida International University (asalg021@fiu.edu)This presentation will focus on graduate writing groups and their effectiveness beyond the regular tutoring sessions at writing centers. The presentation will include a discussion of transitioning from writing circle programs to a more goal-oriented mentorship program for graduate students working on theses/dissertations. The discussion will inform writing centers on how they can include graduate students in an engaging environment where they are motivated to write and keep up with short/long term goals, which are relevant to students’ retention rate, graduate rate, and other matrix factors of higher institutions.
Guess Who’s Back: Identity & Attendance Patterns in the Writing CenterEmily Wolhart,University of Michigan (ewolhart@umich.edu)Understanding who comes to the writing center, and who comes back, is key in determining how to best serve students’ needs. Although research in this field exists, its applicability is limited to each researcher’s institution; this Chi-squared automatic interaction detection analysis aims to deepen our understanding of writers’ backgrounds by adding information for another institution, the Peer Writing Center at the University of Michigan. The study explains attendance trends across demographics at the PWC, hoping to inspire others to explore this data and its impact on their writers.
How Student Demographics Affect the Use of Translingual Approaches at Writing CentersAshley Gonzalez,Florida International University (Agonz971@fiu.edu)I chose a slideshow presentation because I primarily plan to discuss existing research and FIU’s Writing Center’s tutor-led development initiatives. These include some that were led by me. I will connect my work and past research using a slideshow presentation with visual artifacts from my projects.
Menstruating Tutor’s Perceptions of Having Free Menstrual Product Access in a Writing CenterNatalie Casabone,Florida International University (ncasa019@fiu.edu) ;Xuan Jiang (xjiang@fiu.edu)Women have received strong cultural messages that their bodies are sexually objectified and their physical functions, such as menstruation, should be concealed. Acknowledging that a tutor brings in their culturally perceived sense of self into a Writing Center, this mixed methods case study ventured to eliminate this gender inequity and help boost a menstruating tutor’s morale and confidence during a consultation, by implementing a space where menstruators can access menstruation products stress-free.
Problematizing Paradox: Institutionalized Barriers Across, Within, & Outside the CenterElizabeth Geib,Purdue University (geibe@purdu.edu) ;Victoria Ruiz, Purdue University; Curtis Jewell, Purdue University (Victoria Ruiz: boiler.englishteacher@gmail.com; Curtis Jewell: jewell10@purdue.edu)Our panel prioritizes dismantling the paracolonial narratives structuring institutionalized barriers that writing center (WC) advocates confront. Speaker one highlights how WCs cultivate identities and spaces in flux. Speaker two describes innovative opportunities to combat grand-narratives that negatively influence WC perceptions and subsequent client-traffic population. Speaker three discusses contradictory narratives, methods, and methodologies that seep into writing center community engagement efforts. Together, the panel interrogates how to transform praxis while furthering the WC mission across, within, and outside the university.
Re-Thinking Narrative: Carving Space for Secondary School Writing CentersHelen Zoss,Purdue University (hzoss@purdue.edu) This presentation addresses the need for secondary school writing centers to take up a larger space in the writing center scholarship– an area historically dominated by colleges and universities. By tracing Indiana secondary school writing centers, the presenter shares her localized research trajectory for questioning, understanding, and problematizing the role of secondary school writing center on a larger, globalized scale. What might the way secondary school writing centers emerge, on an individual and collective level, say about their positionality in writing center scholarship? How might those historical narratives provide fodder for the growth of future secondary school writing centers?
Research and Restoring Justice: A Letter from the EditorsDenae Dibrell,University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (norma.dibrell01@utrgv.edu) ;Morgan Banville, East Carolina University and Laura Gonzalez, Texas A & M Kingsville (banvillem19@students.ecu.edu and laura.gonzalez@tamuk.edu)This presentation explores perspectives from nontraditional editors of a writing center journal aimed at amplifying the work and profiles of tutors, graduate students, and emergent scholars (and women, people of color, translingual speakers, and those identifying with other groups underrepresented within the writing center/studies discipline, specifically).
Research-Based Strategies for Improving Tutor Training: Insights from Writing Center TutorsJustine Post,Ohio Northern University (j-post.6@onu.edu) ;Carah Porter, Ohio Northern University; Matthew Morgan, Ohio Northern University (c-porter.3@onu.edu, m-morgan.6@onu.edu)In this panel, two writing center tutors share findings from research projects that emerged from a study exploring students’ experiences with support services in a developmental writing course. These presentations offer strategies for increasing tutors’ familiarity with and referrals to library services and for promoting students’ utilization of course-embedded tutors. The panel concludes with the writing center director explaining how these findings can be used at other institutions to improve tutor training and tutoring services.
Supporting Success: A Study of Motivation and First Year Student Usage of the Writing CenterAnna Stephens,The Catholic University of AmericaWhile many scholars discuss the correlation between motivation, writing performance, and Writing Center usage, there is a gap in research regarding how students define “motivation” in the context of writing and how this impacts their writing and likelihood to use the Writing Center. This study presents the findings of four interviews with freshman student writers and proposes a tutor liaison program and increased focus on facilitating student development of personal style blended with academic writing as ways to instill greater confidence in these writers, motivating them to work towards improving their writing and seek the support of the Writing Center.
Sustaining Community Literacy Efforts through a Rhetoric of RespectRachel Rodriguez,University of Louisville (rachel.rodriguez@louisville.edu)This narrated powerpoint presentation will outline the dialogic, reciprocal partnership between the University Writing Center at the University of Louisville and the Western Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. Attendees will leave the presentation with specific, actionable advice on developing and maintaining successful community literacy initiatives, including shared goal setting and decision making, adaptability, attending to questions of agency, and continual reflection and revision.
The Writing Center’s Lack of Focus: Tutoring Students with ADHDElizabeth Hughes, The Catholic University of America (hughesea@cua.edu)

Though the writing center is uniquely situated to help students with disabilities because it is able to provide individualized attention, little research has been done on how the writing center can best serve students with specific disabilities like ADHD. Because of this lack of research, it remains unclear as to whether traditional writing center pedagogy is effective for students with ADHD. My research, conducted at Catholic University’s Writing Center, in conjunction with the Office of Disability Support Services, makes recommendations to improve tutoring effectiveness not only for students with ADHD but for all students.
Time and Tradition: Nonnative English Speakers in the Writing CenterBrittany Torres Rivera,Florida International University (brittanytorres017@gmail.com)Do tutors spend too much time on grammar skills during sessions? How directive is too directive? Do your answers change if the tutee doesn’t speak English as a first language? These are the questions Brittany wanted to answer with her research, and after reading, surveying, and speaking to tutors, she did just that. Challenge traditional writing center pedagogy and consider the differences between native and nonnative English speaker tutees. Hear about how tutors and writing center administrators alike can welcome nonnative English speakers into the writing center. Native and nonnative English speakers may be more alike than you think.
Transfer in the Writing Center: Theory and Practice for Peer Writing TutorsMadeline Crozier,University of Tennessee Knoxville (mcrozie2@vols.utk.edu)This infographic poster will describe specific models, strategies, and approaches that peer tutors can use to facilitate the transfer of writing-related knowledge for student writers. After synthesizing relevant transfer research from the disciplines of writing center theory, rhetoric and composition, and educational psychology, the poster will outline practical methods for facilitating transfer in writing center tutorials. These methods will focus on strategies including transfer talk, modeling, and reflective question sets. The poster will equip peer tutors with strategies they can use to engage writing transfer and will prepare administrators to consider the value of transfer in their own institutional contexts.
Tutors as Writers: The Impact of Creative Writing in the Writing CenterJana Jedrych,The Catholic University of AmericaCreative writing exercises are used in the writing center to improve tutors’ approach. But what impact does creative writing have on writing tutors’ own writing abilities? This study asks the tutors at the Catholic University of America what their relationships are to creative writing, and explores the impact of creative writing on tutors as writers. These conclusions can then be used to assist the student population at large in improving their own writing. The prevalence of creative writing amongst the tutors at the writing center has implications for how to achieve the ultimate goal of the writing center—to help all students become stronger and more confident writers.
Why We Still Ain’t Out; Identifying the Impact of Heteronormativity within the Writing CenterHannah Guenthoer,Nevada State College (hguenthoer@nsc.edu) ;Brittany Cox (Nevada State College) (bcox@nsc.edu)Research within the Writing Center field has shown us that there is a lack of discourse regarding training that includes the queer community. We noticed this gap regarding no training around sexual identities within Nevada State’s Writing Center. In order to continue the conversation and foster a more inclusive environment, we want to gather your feedback to strengthen our survey for our center’s tutors. Your perspectives will help clarify heteronormative assumptions in our research.
Writing Tutors, Take a Deep Breath: Mindfulness in Support of Tutoring as a PerformanceGrace Brouillette,St. Lawrence University (gcbrou19@stlawu.edu)Writing center tutors are ambitious students with stressful lives – excluding the anxieties of tutorials. Given transitions related to the current global pandemic and mental health problems, I argue that mindfulness is essential for tutors because, as I will contend, tutoring is a performance. In this presentation, we will apply the direct application of mindfulness in its simplest form: breathing. In a pandemic, performance is especially difficult. Through discussion of tutoring as a performance, and by extension, the need for mindfulness in these times, I will demonstrate the necessity of mindfulness in tutors’ personal lives and professional lives.
Writing, Peer Tutoring, and Reimagining: A Trauma-Informed Praxis for Social JusticeBrenna Swift,University of Wisconsin-Madison (blswift@wisc.edu)While students who experience trauma have always deserved access to our spaces, the imperative for trauma-informed practices has never been more urgent. Students of color and LGBTQIA+ students face ongoing violence; many of our students and tutors are coping with trauma related to COVID-19. In this presentation, I will propose a trauma-informed praxis for writing centers by synthesizing insights from the disability justice movement, feminist disability studies, antiracist pedagogies, and trauma-informed practices in composition. Viewers will come away with practical knowledge for providing access for students and peer tutors as well as ideas for advancing a broader disability justice agenda.