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ERIC Number: EJ1014361
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0889-6143
Of Ladybugs, Low Status, and Loving the Job: Writing Center Professionals Navigating Their Careers
Geller, Anne Ellen; Denny, Harry
Writing Center Journal, v33 n1 p96-129 2013
Upon arriving on their first day of work, new writing center professionals (WCPs) may be pleased to find they have inherited well-furnished tutorial spaces or established peer-tutoring courses. be welcomed by supportive, cross-disciplinary writing committees or invested deans. Those who start in their positions as their institutions' first full-time writing center directors or first "faculty" writing center directors find other signs they read as auspicious--budgets in place, job descriptions with course releases for "teaching" tutors within the center, and English departments with composition faculty who they believe are welcoming them as equal colleagues. This optimism leads to the development of graduate courses on writing center administration, writing center dissertations, and applause for each new tenure-track writing center position created. During the course of this study, the authors listened as participants described the paths they followed to what they believed would be economic, cultural, social, and intellectual "promised lands," the positions of privilege in the academy they had long coveted. But for many, the process of developing a career, growing a professional unit, becoming a teacher/scholar/administrator, and building an intellectual agenda also presented challenges. After the study's impetus and methods are described, the authors present themes and insights that emerged from their interviews. Then, they consider what they have learned from this study: the very aspects of WCPs' positions that turn out to be the most important to their success and satisfaction are at tension with the academic cultural actions that feed disciplinary growth and could position WCPs as central agents in the discipline of English. For them, this finding is troubling and foreboding, for it documents the tensions seen in struggles over intellectual labor and disciplinary identity at the nexus of writing centers, writing program administration, composition scholarship, and English studies. They believe the insights of their study of WCPs foreshadow both great promise and great peril for graduate students, junior faculty, and all those who mentor them and otherwise guide the profession. (Contains 7 notes.)
Writing Center Journal. 011 Memorial Hall University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19718. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kansas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A