Howe Writing Center Consultants Present Research

Howe Center Consultants presenting writing research
Howe Center Consultants presenting writing research

One of our guiding principles at the Howe Writing Center (HWC) is that “all writers have more to learn”—including ourselves. As a community of writing consultants, we are also a community of literacy researchers, exploring the many ways that reading and writing enact learning, both in our center and across campus.

Our primary work at the HWC is to support Miami writers through in-person and online one-to-one consultations. Each spring we recruit a new set of undergraduate students for English 481, a three-credit course that we offer each fall to train them for their future work as paid HWC consultants.

But these consultants’ professional development is further enhanced by their continuing engagements with writing center research. This October, four of our consultants were accepted to speak at the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW), in South Padre Island, Texas. Undergraduates Anna Jankovsky, Marc Papa, Kyle Smith and Kevin Vestal presented on the uses of video recordings to encourage reflection and improved consulting practices. Their findings show that watching video recordings of one’s own consultations encourages far more subtle self-analyses than retrospection alone. These findings will also inform our new policies on the uses of video recordings for mentor observations and feedback.

As our consultants learn, we as a writing center also evolve. We are excited to see what other changes may be inspired by next year’s class of consultants-in-training.