Tag: workshops

STAF 2014 Applications Now Being Accepted

The flyers have been sent out and the application is online – STAF 2014 applications have officially opened!

STAF, for those of you who may not know, is short for Strategies and Tools Across Fields: Teaching With Writing. STAF is a faculty workshop series held May 5-9 and August 18 & 19, 2014, and will be facilitated this year by Dr. Terri Trupiano Barry, Dr. Dianna Baldwin, Dr. Catherine Ryu, Dr. Rocio Quispe-Agnoli, Dr. Trixie Smith, and Shari Wolke.

This interactive, faculty-led set of workshops will address issues that emerge when teaching with writing, including:

  • Designing effective writing assignments
  • Scaffolding writing assignments
  • Connections between writing and critical thinking
  • Using peer response effectively
  • Responding to and (re)developing student writing
  • Developing assessment rubrics
  • Teaching discipline-specific genres

The STAF Application can be found at writing.msu.edu/staf.

If you have any questions about STAF or the application process, feel free to contact Shari Wolke at wolkesha@msu.edu.

We look forward to seeing you this summer!

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.As a graduating senior, I’m approaching the end of my time at The Writing Center.  I honestly can’t believe it’s already been a year, but time flies when you’re eating candy and playing with toys… I mean, working and consulting.  But let’s face it, I’ve been eating candy and playing with toys while consulting, it’s a pretty good deal.

What I didn’t realize when I first signed up for Writing Center Theory, WRA 395, two years ago was the amount of experience I would gain in just one year as a consultant.  And I don’t just mean another job to add to my resume.  Through working one-on-one with clients I have gained more listening and critical thinking skills.  I mean, I cannot zone out when someone is counting on me to help them with their personal statement that may or may not get them into graduate school.  I’ve also gained a broader understanding of the variety of cultures at MSU.  Before working at The Writing Center, I knew that MSU had students from all over the world, but by working with them, I have been able to meet some of them and hear their stories.  That’s, honestly, one of my favorite aspects of working here, just constantly meeting new students and hearing about their experiences.

What I also didn’t realize, even at my interview with Trixie and Dianna, was how many other professional development opportunities I would have.  After giving about five workshops this semester, I can now get up in a room full of students and give a workshop without having a mini panic attack.  I can also honestly say I’ve been to a conference, I don’t think it’s necessary to add that I only talked for about five minutes.  But I now know how a conference works and am better prepared for any future ones that I may attend in graduate school.

Overall, it has been a good year.  I’ve gained valuable experience while enjoying a relaxed, easy going environment.  And I’ve had the opportunity to spill my guts about it every couple of weeks while writing this blog.  So if you enjoy writing, candy, and toys and want to gain some awesome experience work at The Writing Center or even just come visit.

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.So I just recently gave a Digital Video workshop and failed miserably with correctly displaying the videos on our Smartboard.  This only goes to show that consultants are not good at everything.  But hey, we try!  And working with the class instructor, we were able to come up with an effective solution to share everyone’s videos on the small screens.

I feel like a constant part of the consulting job is to find alternate solutions to problems.  Even when a client comes in with a paper that has already been reviewed by their instructor, we work to try and find alternate ways to improve a sentence or the content.  If an appointment is going well, we must alter our strategies to best fit the client.  Every person that comes into The Writing Center is different.  They have different work, needs, wants, plans, etc., so when working with different clients we have to constantly alter consulting strategies to best fit the situations.  Similar to having to alter a workshop to make sure people are able to share their videos with their classmates.

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.As a consultant we are sometimes required to give workshops.  I made it through my first semester, the fall semester, without having to give any workshops, and only a month into this new semester I have already given two and am scheduled to give another one in a couple weeks.  I guess we never know what to expect as consultants. Continue reading “The Consultant Diaries”

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.

Photo Friday: Navigating the PhD

Navigating the PhD: A Writing Workshop
Navigating the PhD: A Writing Workshop

The Navigating the PhD workshop is going down in the center today. This is an all-day workshop (9-3) divided into two sections. In the morning, discussions are based around managing time and academic relationships; and in the afternoon, writing processes and strategies.

Our next NtP workshops this Fall are Saturday, Sept. 8th and Friday, Nov. 2nd. For more information see writing.msu.edu/ntp.

Trendspotting: Grandparents University

By: Katie Manthey

Trendspotting with Katie Manthey logoLooks like green was the color to wear in the Writing Center last week–especially if you were participating in all the fun of Grandparents University. Tuesday and Wednesday, the Writing Center was full of nontraditional students: both older and younger than average. The fun included events such as memoir writing and making videos and it looked like everyone had a really great time.

I think it’s safe to say that the biggest trend of last week was Grandparents University–any votes on what it might be for this week?

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!