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Writing Centre earns kudos at international conference


Writing Centre earns kudos at international conference

VIU Writing Centre Co-ordinator Dale Wik and Dr. Chris Anson, a scholar of literacy and writing who runs a faculty-development program at North Carolina State University.VIU Writing Centre Co-ordinator Dale Wik and Dr. Chris Anson, a scholar of literacy and writing who runs a faculty-development program at North Carolina State University.

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Vancouver Island University’s Writing Centre gained international recognition at the European Writing Centres Association conference held in Paris in May.

Addressing more than 140 delegates from 30 countries, keynote speaker Dr. Chris Anson described VIU’s Centre as “highly innovative” because it engages faculty tutors rather than peer tutors.

VIU’s program “stands as an exemplar for engaging faculty in the work of writing centres and creating the kinds of transformations, in both faculty and students, to which we all aspire,” said Dr. Anson, a scholar of literacy and writing who runs a faculty-development program at North Carolina State University.

At the conference, VIU Writing Centre Co-ordinator Dale Wik presented the results of her research into faculty tutors in the writing centre, “the first study of its kind, as far as I know,” said Wik. In her 2009 research project, Wik interviewed faculty tutors at VIU and found that their tutorials with students led to shifts in their professional practice as instructors and as agents of change on campus.

Aside from the benefits to students, Wik sees the potential for writing centres to act as sites of faculty development capable of influencing the writing culture on campus.

“Any success we’ve experienced is built upon VIU’s strong commitment to student learning. I think of people like our Dean of Arts and Humanities Steve Lane, as well as faculty tutors like John Lepage and others who are dedicated to the cause of helping students to improve their writing,” said Wik.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities funds the Writing Centre with two partners, the faculties of Social Sciences and International Education.

VIU’s Writing Centre has been active since the 1970s but its latest iteration – centrally located in the Library with a Co-ordinator – began in 2005.

The Writing Centre is open year-round. About 10 faculty members are engaged as tutors from various departments including English, Criminology, International Education, and Philosophy. In the past, faculty from Nursing and First Nations Studies have also been involved.

In a busy semester, such as the Fall of 2009, the Writing Centre provides about 1,200 tutorials.

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