Tag: Dianna Baldwin

Associate Director Dianna Baldwin’s New Book!

Book cover with the authors' avatars on the top and bottom. Our very own Associate Director, Dianna Baldwin, has recently published, with Julie Achterberg, an edited collection titled Women and Second Life: Essays on Virtual Identity, Work and Play. Fourteen writers are included in this collection, spanning topics from gender crossing to quilting. 

Great work, Dianna! We’re proud you call The Writing Center @ MSU home!

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.I’m a new consultant with a brand new job in my senior year of college. I had no idea what to expect when I walked into my first day of staff orientation at The Writing Center.  I had been receiving mass emails, some were full of jargon that made absolutely no sense at the time, and I had taken WRA 395, the writing center theory class, but I had no idea what other work I would be doing besides consulting.

During my interview with Trixie and Dianna, The Writing Center directors, I was told that consultants were expected to help out with workshops and take part in committees, but what were the workshops and committees?  Was this a requirement of every consultant?  Did I get to pick what I took part in?  It turns out there is a committee for almost everything, and if there isn’t a committee for what you want to do with The Writing Center, you can probably just start one.  And I got to choose which committee I wanted to join, and I joined the Website Content Committee, which was a serious sigh of relief for me, at least I could pick something I somewhat understood.

Basically my first few weeks working at The Writing Center gave me insight to how much more the staff does besides consult.  In the past, I had only ever visited The Writing Center for help with my writing; I hadn’t imagined all the other work that went on behind the scenes.  I never imagined committees, conferences, workshops, creating videos, and even writing articles or columns like this very one.  And furthermore, all the extra work the consultants take part in seems to provide a learning opportunity, an experience, and something to add to a resume.

In short, my first few weeks gave me a lot more insight to what The Writing Center does.

Introducing Our Podcast Archive

In the transition to our new website we’ve also been harvesting content from the old website, which means we’ve found some awesome Writing Center gems. Like an assortment of informative podcasts! Rather than let these podcasts vanish into the ether, we’ve decided to archive them on our new site. You can find the entire collection in our Podcast Archive. But first let me tell you a bit about what we have to offer.

The archive is broken down into three collections: Writing Center produced podcasts, Writing Center workshops and presentations, and guest lectures and workshops.

The Writing Center produced podcasts include topics like citations, primary sources, resumes, and thesis statements, as well as a three-part series on writing with poetry. Each of these podcasts is about 5 minutes long, and is scripted to cover the basics of each topic. For example, the Citations podcast explains why giving credit with citations is important, introduces MLA, APA, and Chicago styles, and discusses the use of in-text citations and works cited pages. These quickly delivered podcasts would be great support material for writing instructors.

The Podcast Archive also features a robust collection of Writing Center workshops and presentations given by Writing Center staff and faculty. This includes workshops on personal statements, Comic Life, and poster displays using CRAP principles (contrast, repetition, arrangement, and proximity), as well as presentations on the use of podcasts in writing centers, grammar as a higher order concern, professional development, and a presentation given by our very own associate director, Dianna Baldwin, on the use of Second Life, an online virtual world, in writing centers. Dianna speaks a bit about the history of SL and argues that SL brings personal connection back to online consulting through the use of the voice feature, as well as gestures controlled by the user. *

And finally, our last collection of podcasts in the archive is guest lectures and workshops featuring three scholars in the field of rhetoric and composition: Dr. Paul Matsuda, Director of Second Language Writing at Arizona State University; Dr. Tony Silva, Director of ESL Graduate and Writing Programs at Purdue University; and Dr. Kirk St. Amant, Associate Professor of Technical and Professional Communication at East Carolina University specializing in global education in online environments. Each of these scholars were guests at Michigan State, and we are fortunate to have podcasts of these events for folks to listen to and learn from.

We hope this rich and varied collection of knowledge and expertise available in our Podcast Archive will make it to your playlists, and perhaps even your writing courses.


*The Writing Center at MSU has a satellite location in Second Life, with appointments from 9am – 10pm Monday – Thursday, and 9am – 2pm Friday. Schedule a Second Life consultation!