It's for Everyone: The Inclusive Writing Center

This conference explores the question of how we can more effectively serve all students, particularly those who may be otherwise marginalized by the academy. Peer tutors are more than just smart students who want to "help" those who are less gifted. Recent scholarship has become increasingly concerned with what scholar Nancy Grimm calls the "new racism" in writing centers: that is, the conception of "help"-seeking by "needy" students working with "expert" students. This observation extends beyond race to include issues of language, disability, school preparation, and other markers of difference the academy seeks to mainstream. Paternalistic perceptions of our work compromise our ability to create a safe social space for all students in the writing center. The inclusive writing center considers the subconscious messages we send, both individually and as institutions, about who belongs in the Center: whether it's by whom we employ, how we organize the physical space, or how we think and talk about ourselves to the rest of our various campuses. The keynote speaker for this conference will be Dr. Stephanie L. Kerschbaum, Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware and author of Toward a New Rhetoric of Difference.