Towards an Evidence-Based Practice
3. The Contexts of Tutoring
c h a p t e r t h r e e The Contexts of Tutoring To understand writing centers is to understand the dynamic, inter- active relationship that exists between a speciﬁc center and the envi- ronment in which it exists. (Kinkead & Harris, 1993, p. xvi) What should a writing center look like? Where should it be located administra- tively, and to whom should its administrator(s) report? Where should funds come from to support staff salaries, tutor wages, and outreach efforts? What are the im- pacts of funding source(s), departmental structure, service modes, and expecta- tions of faculty, students, and staff, both cultural and cross-cultural? How do these impact writing center tutors? How many tutors should a writing center employ, and how should they be trained? In this chapter, we explore the institutional con- texts of academic writing centers as investigated in the empirical research litera- ture. The sources cited in this chapter display the development of writing center RAD research: individual writing center assessments expanded to regional or even nationwide surveys, descriptions of writing center organization yielding questions for research studies, and recommendations for practice reframed as re- search results. The major issue we discuss is that much that has been written about the con- texts of tutoring has described individual writing centers, without recourse to com- parison with other writing centers or, better still, a set of standards for writing B&T Final_B&T fin 6/19/12 3:21 PM Page 58 centers. For...
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