Date of Award

8-7-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Lynée Lewis Gaillet

Second Advisor

Mary Hocks

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Lopez

Abstract

A structured process to capture, sort, digitize, and curate a researchable history of a

writing center has the potential to improve writing center administration with greater recall at both the local and global level. Maintaining a standard of practice from year to year with effective training, stable institutional partnerships, and evidence-based practice is already challenging. This is compounded by the continual erosion of accumulated memory and context for numerous administrative choices through the regular departure of tutors and administrators, posing further challenge to consistent practice, pedagogy, and policy. To preserve the programmatic memory informing countless decisions, relationships, and administrative expediencies, writing center administrators must establish a regular process to curate a researchable archive of the history produced by a center’s operation. Failure to do so risks the atrophy of critical memory every time a staff member leaves the writing center.

Adoption of the proposed Reifying Center Archive Process, or ReCAP, provides a robust archive for programmatic recall. Creating an archive will enable writing center administrators to delve into the history of how a center has operated in the past; as a result, the center is better insulated against operational missteps or retreading in the future. Beyond the clear benefit to individual centers, the eventual standardization of such an archive process has long-term potential to improve historically challenging efforts to collect and synthesize the work done in centers across multiple institutions at the regional, national, and global levels.

To promote the necessity of the ReCAP, this dissertation: reviews the scholarship that establishes the necessity of an archive-supported writing center; presents a case study of a large public university writing center; prescribes the literature-based archivist practices that will best sustain a writing center’s materials for future research; outlines the ReCAP as a tool to digitally present the physical holdings of the writing center’s archive; establishes a new standard for the organization of writing center materials within the ReCAP; and finally, tests these proposed practices by creating a prototype ReCAP archive for the case study center, the Georgia State University Writing Studio.

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