CFP: WLN Special Issue: Wellness and Self-Care in Writing Center Work, with Dr. Genie N. Giaimo

June 19, 2018
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In coordination with the 2018 ECWCA conference theme on occupational hazards: writing center labor, self-care and reflection, we welcome submissions that explore the multi-faceted ways in which writing center labor demands, deserves and enacts wellness and self-care practices. To date, research on tutor well-being—a perennial concern for writing center administrators—is relatively under-explored in writing center scholarship. While mindfulness in the writing center has been the topic of a number of presentations at regional and national writing center conferences (and a popular discussion thread on a recent Wcenter listserv email), there is relatively little published material on this topic (Mack and Hupp; Dueck). Similarly, Degner et al.’s 2015 article “Opening Closed Doors: A Rationale For Creating a Safe Space for Tutors Struggling with Mental Health Concerns or Illness” calls for more explicit training on self-care and tutor mental health after uncovering that 65% of survey respondents identified the lack of discussion on these subjects in their writing centers’ trainings.

Wellness and self-care, then, while popular topics both in writing center academic conversations, as well as in popular culture, are poised to become a mainstay of tutor preparation and training. Similarly, this topic is becoming monetized through for-pay productivity workshops and trainings. What, then, does the academic writing center community have to say on these subjects? How do we currently integrate wellness and self-care into our practices? How might we want to incorporate these practices into our centers? And what does our desire to do so say about the labor that we preform? We encourage contributors to consider, as starting points, current and local iterations of wellness and self-care trainings in writing centers, as well as potential best practices for developing these kinds of programming for our tutors, our administrators, and our clients.

Successful proposals will demonstrate awareness of existing scholarship about wellness and self-care, as it pertains to writing center work and explore issues and questions like these:

  • What does “wellness” mean in the writing center or for various writing center constituents?
    • How can wellness be put into practice in the writing center?
  • What role does self-care play in training and center maintenance?
  • What are some specific training models developed for writing center tutors on wellness and self-care?
  • Tutor reflections of the emotional labor of writing center work.
  • Tutor reflections on self-care and wellness.
  • How does center research support or encourage reflection on self-care habits?
  • Models for how mindfulness be practiced, formally and informally, in the writing center.
  • Strategies to promote emergency planning and training among center members.
  • How can self-care be assessed to strengthen training and scholarship?
  • How do WCAs create sustainable wellness and self-care program development?
  • How is diversity in the writing center facilitated and sustained through wellness and self-care?
  • Research or grounded theory on conflict negotiation in the writing center.
  • Research or grounded theory on setting boundaries in writing center sessions.
  • How can we support consultants who experience micro (or macro) aggressions in writing center work?
  • How can we train and encourage a culture of self-care in writing center work?
  • From different perspectives, what are some of the challenges of writing center work (burnout, stress, etc.)?
  • How does wellness and self-care extend into writing practices and therefore client-facing writing center work?
    • Research on incorporation of wellness into writing center programming (e.g. writing retreats for graduates and/or faculty).
  • What do we know about the emotional elements of writing center work and how does what we know factor into self-care support and training?
  • Grounded theory or research on supporting new writing center administrators in their emotional labor.

We also welcome research from other fields, such as the helping professions (such as nursing, medicine, therapy), or from mindfulness research (Kabat-Zinn), that are put into conversation with current concerns around self-care and wellness in writing center work. Mixed-methods research, qualitative, quantitative, and RAD research are welcome, as are reflections on established practices.

Proposal format: Please submit an approximately 300-word proposal to Genie Giaimo (giaimo.13@osu.edu). In proposal, clearly describe your focus, the theoretical and research base from which you will draw, and your plans for structuring a 3000-word article or a 1500-word essay for a Tutor’s Column (Works Cited and Notes included in the word count). If a number of quality proposals are received, a digital monograph may be published. Please note that articles accepted for the special issue may be also included in the monograph and proposals for longer pieces may be considered for publication in the monograph. Please provide full contact information with your submission.

Introduction to Publishing in WLN Resource 

In this first webinar in the WLN workshop series, the Associate Editors provide general information about publishing in WLN and WLN’s submission guidelines, acceptance rates, and author resources housed on the WLN website. Along with this overview of the journal, the editors provide an overview and analysis of two major types of scholarly articles in WLN: research/theory-based articles and practitioner’s narratives. Building on the article genres published in WLN, the editors then explore the more commonly addressed topics of articles in WLN, such as directing a writing center and tutor training. The workshop concludes with a review of manuscript requirements and strategies for authors to focus their work in a larger scholarly conversation. View the workshop here: https://csuci.zoom.us/recording/play/0pSIBQfsIYgXUbyJBi5Ewr8cYMSz1l-RRgMX77Mvs3nyBTouregtWEdn5V45k2HK

Who should submit a piece to this special issue?

Administrators who are doing research in the areas of wellness/self-care, as well as those who have training models that are based in particular kinds of research, such as organizational theory. Also, graduate, undergraduate and staff consultants who want to weigh-in on the topics of wellness and self-care, perhaps by providing narratives or initial research (or both) into these topics. In short, anyone who feels like they have scholarship to contribute is welcome to propose a submission!

Timeline: We welcome proposals for articles (no longer than 3,000 words [fewer if there are figures and/or tables], in MLA format, including Works Cited) and a Tutor’s Column (no longer than 1,500 words, also in MLA format and including Works Cited).

  • Proposals (300 words) due June 15, 2018 to giaimo.13@osu.edu
  • Invitations to submit full articles will be issued by July 15, 2018.
  • Full manuscripts will be due by December 15, 2018.

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Works Cited

Mindfulness in the Writing Centre: How Deepening Your Presence Makes You a Better Tutor. The Dangling Modifier, Issue 1, Fall 2016, n.p. http://sites.psu.edu/thedanglingmodifier/?p=3503  Web.

Degner, Hillary, et. al.  “Opening Closed Doors: A Rationale For Creating A Safe Space For Tutors Struggling With Mental Health Concerns of Illnesses.” Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2015, n.p.

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. “Jon Kabat-Zinn: Defining Mindfulness.” https://www.mindful.org. Web. 13 Sept. 2017.

Mack, Elizabeth and Katie Hupp. “Mindfulness in the Writing Center: A Total Encounter.” Praxis:  A Writing Center Journal (Spring 2017): Web. 08 Sept. 2017.