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My Dream Project to Document Writing Resources

posted: 4.18.13 by Traci Gardner

Several weeks ago, a colleague asked for photos of other writing centers on the Writing Center Mailing List. His goal was to share information about the size and resources in similar writing centers as part of his argument for a redesign and more space.

His request reminded me of a research project I dreamed up a few years ago. As I imagined it, I would travel from college to college, videotaping the people and resources devoted to teaching writing. I hoped to get photos and videos of writing centers, typical classrooms, computer labs, and writing program offices. I wanted to document what the typical office was like for everyone from a full professor to a graduate assistant. I would interview faculty, staff, and students about their programs, their favorite writing projects, and special events.

The collection of videos, photos, and related documents would capture not just what the programs looked like but, if I succeeded, the energy of the programs, the things that made them work, and the direction they were headed as they worked toward new goals. The photo at the top of this post would be the kind of image I wanted to capture: a student’s feelings about the local writing center. It’s an image that tells you quite a bit about that writing center. Not only did Kmo appreciate their help, but she felt welcome and comfortable enough to leave a little graffiti on the whiteboard. The photo captures the atmosphere of the space well.

My ultimate plan was to visit colleges, collect these profiles, and then post them weekly online. It seemed like a grand way to learn more about the discipline and the teaching of writing. Of course, I quickly realized that such a plan would require a lot more money than I had. Maybe one day I’ll win the lottery and make it happen. A girl’s gotta dream, right?

What’s your dream project? What would you do if you had the time and resources to do whatever you wanted to learn more about writers and the teaching of writing? Share your dream project by leaving comment below or by dropping by my page on Facebook or Google+.

[Photo: IMG_1161 by Kmo139, on Flickr]

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